Nicole Ari Parker to play Blanche DeBois on Broadway
New York: Front Row Productions (Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones) is proud to announce that the role of Blanche DuBois, in their upcoming Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire will be played by seven-time NAACP Image award nominee, Nicole Ari Parker. This production is slated to hit the boards, Spring, 2012. Theatre TBA.
Tennessee Williams’ sultry drama, A Streetcar Named Desire is set against the sexy backdrop of New Orleans’ gritty French Quarter A Streetcar Named Desire tells the tale of former school teacher and socialite Blanche DuBois
(Nicole Ari Parker), as she’s forced to move in with her sister Stella and her animalistic husband Stanley (Blair Underwood) . But the fragile, Blanche quickly gets a gritty life lesson in the seamy, steamy underbelly of 1940’s New Orleans. The legendary Terence Blanchard has signed on to provide an original soundscape for the production.
Streetcar was last seen on Broadway in 2005 starring Natasha Richardson, Amy Ryan and John C. Reilly. Front Row Production’s multi-racial production of A Streetcar Named Desire, is a follow-up to their highly successful Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which starred Terrence Howard, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose and James Earl Jones, and was directed by Debbie Allen. The production subsequently moved to London’s West End (with Jones and Rashad joined by Sanaa Lathan as Maggie and Adrian Lester as Brick) where it was honored with the “What’s Onstage” and the prestigious “Olivier” awards for Best Revival
NICOLE ARI PARKER (Blanche DeBois) is best known for her outstanding performance as ‘Teri Joseph’ of Showtime’s award winning original series “Soul Food”. She starred in the ABC drama series “The Deep End”. She has been featured in Remember the Titans, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, Boogie Nights, and the indie film Sebastian Cole, a winner at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. She has performed in For Colored Girls directed by Jasmine Guy, and The Vagina Monologues. Nicole is a graduate of NYU’s famed Tisch School of the Arts, Circle in the Square Studio. She has received a special award at the Urban World Film Festival, for Outstanding Body of Work as an Actress. Nicole also starred alongside former “Soul Food” co-star and real life spouse, Boris Kodjoe in the Paramount/UPN sitcom “Second Time Around.” Nicole established Sophie’s Voice Foundation (www.sophiesvoicefoundation.org), a charitable organization she started with husband Boris to raise awareness about children and adults living with spina bifida which has been featured in People Magazine and CNN.
EMILY MANN (Director) Multi-award winning Director and Playwright Emily Mann is in her 21st season as Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre. Under Ms. Mann’s leadership, McCarter was honored with the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Directing credits include this season’s world premiere of Sarah Treem’s The How and the Why with Mercedes Ruehl and Bess Rous; Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics with Jimmy Smits (also on Broadway); the world premiere of Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon with Kristine Nielsen (also at Playwrights Horizons off-Broadway); Uncle Vanya with Amanda Plummer (also adapted); All Over with Rosemary Harris and Michael Learned (also off-Broadway at The Roundabout; 2003 Obie Award for Directing); The Cherry Orchard with Jane Alexander, John Glover, and Avery Brooks (also adapted); Three Sisters with Frances McDormand, Linda Hunt, and Mary Stuart Masterson; A Doll House with Cynthia Nixon; and The Glass Menagerie with Shirley Knight. Her plays include Execution of Justice (supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship; winner of Helen Hayes and Joseph Jefferson awards; nominated for Drama Desk, Pulitzer and Outer Circle awards); Still Life (six Obie Awards); Greensboro (A Requiem); and Annulla, An Autobiography. Ms. Mann wrote and directed Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations; winner of NAACP and Joseph Jefferson awards ). For the Having Our Say screenplay Ms. Mann won Peabody and Christopher Awards) A winner of the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award and the Edward Albee Last Frontier Directing Award, she is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on its Council. A collection of her plays, Testimonies: Four Plays, has been published by Theatre Communications Group, Inc. Her latest play, Mrs. Packard, was the recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award and was published by TCG in spring 2009. Most recently, Ms. Mann directed her latest adaptation, A Seagull in the Hamptons, a free adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull, with Brian Murray and Maria Tucci; Mrs. Warren’s Profession, with Suzanne Bertish; and the world premiere of Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I (with Tyne Daly and Brian Murray at McCarter Theatre and with Elizabeth Ashley at Playwrights Horizons in New York). She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Princeton University.
STEPHEN BYRD (Front Row Productions, Producer) has pursued his interest in producing high quality entertainment vehicles for many years. As President/ CEO of the American Cinema Group, Inc., he has raised capital for, and invested in several TV & Film projects. Mr. Byrd formed Front Row Productions, Inc. which is dedicated solely to producing quality theatrical productions, and has a slate of major theatrical projects in the works. As the Producer of the first African American Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, which was the highest grossing play on Broadway in 2008, Mr. Byrd also won the Laurence Olivier Award, for Best Revival of A Play for his production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof on London’s West End. Mr. Byrd is realizing a 15 year vision and is currently the only African American Producer on Broadway today. Front Row’s next production scheduled for early 2012 is Tennessee Williams A Street Car Named Desire. The native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has over 27 years of experience as an Investment Banker. Mr. Byrd was an investment banker in M&A with Goldman, Sachs & Co., in the London office. He then became Managing Director of the Kuwait Investment Office and worked on various world-wide corporate finance activities, strategic and joint-venture alliances and new business development projects in the London and Paris offices. As a Principal, he was instrumental in the formation of a Private Equity LLC, Thurn & Taxis, for Prince Karl Von Taxis of Austria. Mr. Byrd is currently a Principal and Co-Founder of StoneHedge Capital, Inc., a Private Equity firm. Mr. Byrd has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Temple University and MBA in Finance at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. He has also attended the Alliance Francais in Paris. He supports several community and non-profit organizations including Safe Horizon and The National Urban Technology Center. Mr. Byrd was recently named as one of the most important African Americans in the theatre by The New York Daily News.
ALIA M. JONES (Front Row Productions, Producer) joined Front Row Productions in 2006 to pursue her passion for the arts and bring classic works featuring actors of color to the stage. Jones co-produced the first African-American revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway in 2008. She has over 15 years experience in developing strategy and leading marketing campaigns for consumer brands, financial products, web-based educational curriculum and arts organizations. Originally from the Washington DC area, Ms. Jones spent five years with Procter & Gamble in Finance/Accounting and Interactive Marketing prior to coming to New York. Her responsibilities included implementation of web-based marketing solutions for P&G brands. Jones joined StoneHedge Partners as Vice President of Marketing, Client Service and Operations to market hedge funds. She has consulted telecommunications and entertainment companies on early stage and mezzanine financing deals. Jones earned a Bachelor of Mathematics from Spelman College and Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech. She completed her MBA in Finance and Marketing at New York University Stern School of Business. With a commitment to education and the arts, Ms. Jones serves on the board of The National Urban Technology Center, a non-profit organization established to teach youth life skills, health education, and career development through edutainment software. She is a member of The League of American Theatre Owners and Producers (The Broadway League).