Getty And The Classical Theatre Of Harlem Present “Memnon,” The Tale Of An Ethiopian King

June 27, 2024

This fall, the Getty Villa Museum and the Classical Theatre of Harlem will present the world premiere of Memnon for the 18th annual Villa Outdoor Classical Theater production.

With bold, vivid language and gripping dramatic conflict, Memnon tells the tale of an Ethiopian king who journeys to the city of Troy to fight alongside the Trojans in their darkest hour. This epic story, from the ancient Greek legend of the fall of Troy, has been overlooked for over a millennium, until now.

Memnon is directed by Carl Cofield, associate artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem, and is written by Will Power.

In 2022, the Classical Theatre of Harlem performed a virtual rendition of Memnon as part of the Getty Villa Museum’s Theater Lab program.

“We are thrilled to welcome the esteemed Classical Theatre of Harlem to the Getty Villa for their first major West Coast theatrical production as part of our annual outdoor theater program,” says Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the Getty Museum. “The Villa’s theater program bridges the past and the present, showcasing the continuing relevance of classical dramas to modern day audiences. The world premiere of Memnon this September is a must-see for all.”

The Memnon cast includes Eric Berryman in the title role of Memnon, Jennifer Mogbock as Helen, and Daniel Molina as Polydamas/Antilochus. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem looks forward to its West Coast debut with the illustrious Getty Villa Museum,” says Ty Jones, producing artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem. “It’s an ambitious opportunity for CTH to share its mission nationally, and reuniting Carl Cofield, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, and Will Power for this endeavor sets us up for success.”


“For far too long, the story of Memnon has gone unnoticed,” says Carl Cofield, associate artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem. “I’m delighted to partner again with Will Power to bring this remarkable story to the forefront of our mythology. This is exactly the type of work that inspires me. Stories that force us to ask big questions and interrogate inherited folklore.”

The play will feature choreography by Tiffany Rea-Fisher, executive artistic director of EMERGE125, set design by Riw Rakkulchon, costumes by Celeste Jennings, lighting design by Brandon Baruch, original composition and sound design by David R. Molina, and projection design by Yee Eun Nam.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem and the Getty Villa are two organizations that are both producing exciting work that presents classically themed theater in highly innovative ways for engaged audiences,” says Will Power, playwright. “I am honored to bring this world premiere of Memnon to the city of Los Angeles. I so look forward to the conversation that this old/new tale might spark!”

Performances of Memnon will be held Thursdays through Saturdays, September 5–28, at 8 pm, with previews on August 29–31, at 8 pm. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performances will take place on September 19 and 26, 2024.

Tickets go on sale on Monday, July 1. Thursday night performances are $45. ($40 for students and seniors), Friday night performances are $50, and Saturday night performances are $55. Student and senior discounts are available for Thursday night performances only. Ticket prices for the previews are $30.

Tickets will be available online or by calling (310) 440-7300.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH)

The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) is an American theatre company that tells stories through the lens of the African diaspora. CTH combines original adaptations, music, and dance to present great classics of world literature and contemporary works that will stand the test of time. Since its founding in 1999, CTH has presented works ranging from traditional classical playwrights (Anton Chekhov, Euripides and William Shakespeare) to established 20th-century playwrights (August Wilson, Langston Hughes and Jean Genet) to new plays by emerging playwrights. CTH also proudly provides theater-based training and live theater experiences to Harlem youth and their families through its arts education program, Project Classics. The organization incorporates other theater-related programming including Future Classics, Playwrights’ Playground, and Revisited Classics to engage new audiences, invest in artistic development and give exposure to emerging creators.   

The company serves over 20,000 live audience members per year. Its online offerings have drawn over 500,000 viewers.

To learn more, visit https://www.cthnyc.org/.

Carl Cofield

Carl Cofield has directed several plays for CTH, including critically acclaimed productions of Twelfth Night, The Bacchae, Antigone, Macbeth, The Tempest, and Dutchman. He joined CTH as a staff member in 2018 and holds an MFA from Columbia University. Mr. Cofield is also on faculty at NYU and Columbia University.

Getty is a leading global arts organization committed to the exhibition, conservation, and understanding of the world’s artistic and cultural heritage. Based in Los Angeles, Getty’s Foundation, Conservation Institute, Museum, and Research Institute work collaboratively with partners around the world. Getty shares art, knowledge, and resources online at Getty.edu and welcomes the public for free at its Getty Center and the Getty Villa.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.

Visiting the Getty Villa

The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10am to 5pm. It is closed Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, December 25 (Christmas Day), and January 1. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free, but a reservation is required for admission. Make reservations online or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $25, and $15 after 3pm. The Getty Villa is at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California. 


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