HW Pick: Chukwudi Iwuji Premieres IRA, First African-American Actor On London Stage

May 22, 2015

Ira_AldridgebyNorthcoteShrunken Shakespeare Company (Yvonne Cone and Jennifer Martina, Co-Producing Artistic Directors) and Creative Producer Adam Shulman (Dukes of Hazard: The Beginning, Song One starring Anne Hathaway) to host SSC’s Annual Benefit Gala and Staged Reading of Chukwudi Iwuji’s masterpiece screenplay Ira.

The event will take place on June 8th, 2015 at The Loft at West 83rd Street (150 West 83rd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus).

Iwuji (Olivier Award Winning Henry VI Trilogy at the Royal Shakespeare Company, TFANA’s Tamburlaine, NYSF’s King Lear) will star as Ira Aldridge. In addition to new cast members Josh Helman and Jay O. Sanders, the company has confirmed Tony Award Nominee Condola Rashad (Trip to Bountiful, Stick Fly, Romeo and Juliet), Lorraine Toussaint (Academy Award Nominated Film Selma, Orange is the New Black), James Waterston (Dead Poet’s Society), Michael Rudko (The Audience with Helen Mirren), Abby Wilde (Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101, iCarly), Sean Patrick Reilly (As The World Turns, Blue Bloods), Tyler Hollinger (The Public Theatre, The Mint), Ryan Duncan (Broadway’s Shrek), Tom O’Keefe (Bedlam, TFANA’s Tamburlaine), Yvonne Cone (Paul Sorvino’s King Lear), Jennifer Martina (Paul Sorvino’s King Lear), Danielle Davenport (TFANA’’s An Octoroon).  Danya Taymor (Theatre for a New Audience, The Public, The Flea) directs.

What would you sacrifice for a dream? For love? – Ira is an intimate portrait of the life and career of Ira Aldridge, one of the first African-Americans to grace the London stage. In his quest for opportunities in the West End, Ira falls in love with Margaret, an English abolitionist. In the face of racial and social adversity, their bond will be stretched to its limits in this story of love, social strife, and the journey to becoming a legend.

Ticket holders will be welcomed by a step-and-repeat beginning at 6:45pm before enjoying the exclusive staged reading presentation followed by a talkback and cocktail party with the cast. VIP ticket holders can enjoy a coffee hour preceding the reading at 6:00 pm and reserved seating.   

Tickets for SSC’s 2015 Fundraiser Gala are $100 each for general seating, and $125 for VIP, and can be purchased through SSC’s website at www.shrunkenshakespeare.com or by emailing info@shrunkenshakespeare.com. All proceeds will go towards SSC’s 2015-2016 season, including the development of their education program.

Shrunken Shakespeare Company is known for its inventive take on classical plays, including its recent Lear, adapted by, directed by, and starring Paul Sorvino; SSC’s contemporary adaptation and translation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters aptly titled What We Know; The Two Gentlemen of Verona set in a dive bar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Hipster Circus.

VIP Tickets: $125.

General Admission: $100 – Tickets at www.shrunkenshakespeare.com

The Loft at W83, 150 W. 83rd Street, New York, NY 10024.

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