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Pictured: Niegel Smith, Director
Goodman Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the Chicago premiere of ”Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)” by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by Niegel Smith.
Centered around a Texas enslaved man named Hero (Kamal Angelo Bolden), who must either join his master in the Confederate army to win his freedom or remain enslaved at the plantation, the production features original music composed by Grammy Award winner Justin Ellington and performed on stage nightly by Chicago native blues musician Melody Angel, who will serve as a modern narrator.
“The Goodman has brought together a stellar cast to interpret Suzan-Lori Parks’ masterwork,” said Director Niegel Smith. “I’m excited to create, with these actors, a panoply of enslaved folks—joyful, fearful, nurturing, overwhelmed and yet resilient. This is a necessary work, one of black love, black joy and black pain. We need plays like this that look deeply at our history, and how we continue to perpetuate it. I am thrilled by artists like Suzan-Lori who make it part of their work to give us these stories in which we investigate truthfully.”
Smith’s cast features William Dick as Colonel; Aimé Donna Kelly as Penny; Jaime Lincoln Smith as Homer, Sydney Charles (Second), Ronald L. Conner (Third), James Bernard Gilbert II (Runaway), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Runaway), Ernest Perry Jr. (The Oldest Old Man), Tyrone Phillips (Runaway), Michael Aaron Pogue (Fourth), BrittneyLove Smith (Odyssey Dog), Demetrios Troy (Smith) and Jacqueline Williams (Leader). The creative team includes Courtney O’Neill (set), Linda Cho (costumes) and Keith Parham (lighting).
“I consider Suzan-Lori Parks a super hero, and to have my theatrical debut in one of her plays at one the best theaters in the world is an honor,” said Angel, who kicks off the Chicago Blues Festival performing the national anthem on Friday, June 8. “Father Comes Home From the Wars is a story about choices and how one decision can either lead you or change you completely. In my own music, I live by a quote from Nina Simone, ‘it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.’ This is what this role has given me through the music Suzan-Lori created—an opportunity to reflect the times.”
“Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)” plays May 25 – June 24. More info at GoodmanTheatre.org/father.