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Press Contact: Sheri Bailey For Immediate Release
Portsmouth, VA (www.juneteenthva.org) – The Portsmouth Theatre Academy will hold auditions and interviews 12noon – 4pm on Friday, April 30th, Saturday, May 1st, and Sunday, May 2nd in the Parish Hall of Trinity Episcopalian Church located 407 King Street, Olde Towne, Portsmouth, VA 23704. Cast, crew, performers, producers, podcasters, and vendors for the following 2021-2022 events:
Headshots and resumes are accepted. Sides will be available for those auditioning for a role or you may perform an original piece. Temperatures will be taken. Bring your mask. You may email your intentions to Juneteenth Virginia.
Under the JuneteenthVA umbrella, the Portsmouth Theatre Academy brings together arts and conversation to examine America’s history and heal the wounds of slavery without shame or blame. With the leadership of great teachers like Karen Underwood and Sharon Cook, the Theatre Academy trains students to be historical re-enactors as well as actors on a Broadway stage.
As ambassadors who use the theatre arts to share understanding of our nation’s beginnings, JuneteenthVA recognizes the Nat Turner Insurrection as the first battle in the War Against Slavery (WAS) started with his August 21,1831 insurrection. The second WAS major battle came with the 1857 U.S. Supreme Court Dred Scott Decision. The third major battle was John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry followed by the Civil War (April 1861 – April 1865) and finally WAS symbolically and literally ended in 1877 with the recall of Federal troops from the South which immediately gave way to the rise of the KKK and Jim Crow.
Help Juneteenth become a national holiday at www.Juneteenth.us To tell the story of America’s beginnings with only Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg does not reflect the complete history of this nation’s beginnings. Additionally, this Tidewater-Hampton Roads 757 region was a major stop on the Underground Railroad but like the Civil War Trails the Underground Railroad Routes need to also be mapped out. JuneteenthVA is advocating for resources to be dedicated to a community at Fort Monroe that will focus on discussions about race and the development of anti-racist policies and tools to combat systemic racism. This vision for a Fort Monroe Village is supported by some of our most respected citizens, and the list includes, but is not limited to the following: Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Dean of History, Norfolk State University; Edward L. Ayers, President Emeritus, University of Richmond; Enola Dance, National Park Service Superintendent; Cathy Lewis, local NPR talk show host; Steven Corneliussen, Fort Monroe citizen advocate; Phyliss Terrel, Fort Monroe staff; Bev Sell, community activist; Linda Bunch, Suffolk Museum curator; Susan Fincke, Friends of the Portsmouth Juvenile Court and the late, great Hugh Harrell.
On the national level Sheri Bailey is reaching out to her University of Pennsylvania alumni, staff, and faculty connections which includes former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter; former mayor of New Orleans and current president of the National Urban League, Marc Morial; Broadway and film producer, Marc Platt; and many other artists, academics, journalists, historic figures and activists like Benjamin Franklin, Nancy Watterson, John Legend, Candance Bergen, Elizabeth Banks, Melissa Rivers, Andrea Mitchell, Phillip Roth, Carlos Fuentes, Kristin Hunter Lattany, Harold “Hask” Haskins, Sonia Sanchez, Valarie Russ, Amy Salit, Janet Weinrib, Susie Lewis and many, many more.
“Dannie ‘n Laurence” stars Anne-Marie Johnson and Martin Grey who met during the auditions for this show, fell in love, got married, and are still happily together 35 years later. But it has been a bittersweet result for Sheri Bailey’s semi-autographical take on her experience as a recently divorced, Black, Methodist-raised, Southern woman thrown into a housing situation with a white, Jewish Lothario. Meet the fictional and real-life folks who inhabit the “Dannie ‘n Laurence” universe. There is me, Sheri Bailey, playwright; Louis Bailey, my ex-husband portrayed in the play as Dannie’s ex-husband Abu; and, finally, Charles Barnston, who was my actual roommate when I housesat for my professor Kristin Hunter Lattany in a house located in Camden, NJ. Charles was the basis for Laurence. Another Dannie ’n Laurence alum from a different production is Jonathan Silverman who was a graduating Beverly Hills High School senior when he co-starred as a precocious teenager in the play’s original 1986 world premiere at the Company of Angels. Soon after its premiere the screenplay adaptation won a Willard Rodgers Writing Workshop “Best Comedy Screenplay” award and was subsequently optioned by Halle Berry. Fortunately, a 45-minute pilot episode was filmed with director Jean-Claude Dercle. It’s been over 30 years and miraculously a VHS tape still exists, and the Portsmouth Theatre Academy is thrilled to announce plans to screen this romantic-comedy with Anne-Marie, Marty, Louis, Charles and myself in-person or virtually, adding our commentary about the play, our lives and life itself. (Coming February 2022).
All are welcome to participate in the Portsmouth Theatre Academy’s auditions and interviews, 12noon – 4pm on Friday, April 30th, Saturday, May 1st, and Sunday, May 2nd. Find us in the Parish Hall of Trinity Episcopalian Church located 407 King Street, Olde Towne, Portsmouth, VA 23704. Cast, crew, performers, producers, podcasters, and vendors for the following 2021-2022 events: 2021 JuneteenthVA Festival; WJVA-106.5 lpfm; and upcoming productions of “Summers in Suffolk” and “Abolitionists’ Museum”.