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Pictured (top, l to r): Matt Fletcher, Ayah Sol Masai Hall and David Lawrence Hamilton with (bottom, l to r) Nicole Michelle Haskins, Ann James, Carolyn Nelson, and Deanna Reed-Foster.
Sideshow Theatre Company, in partnership with the Greenhouse Theater Center, has announced the cast and design team for the world premiere of J. Nicole Brooks’ “HeLa,” directed by Sideshow’s artistic director Jonathan L. Green.
The production features ensemble members Matt Fletcher and Ann James, artistic associate David Lawrence Hamilton, with Ayah Sol Masai Hall, Nicole Michelle Haskins, Carolyn Nelson, and Deanna Reed-Foster.
The production team includes Yu Shibagaki (scenic design), Noël Huntzinger (costume design), Sim Carpenter (lighting design), Michael Huey (sound design/composer), Justin J. Sacramone (dramaturg), Catherine Allen (production manager), and Emily Ioppolo (stage manager).
1951: A mother of five visits the “colored” gynecology ward of Johns Hopkins, knowing something unusual is happening in her body. 1981: A child watches Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on a basement television in Chicago as her auntie plays bid whist upstairs with the neighbors. The Distant Future: A gold-plated flying saucer hovers over the Earth, its pilot watching and waiting patiently as stars gently twinkle in her hair. All three stories connect, collide and expand, blending Afrofuturism with the true story of Henrietta Lacks and one little girl’s love of science.
“J. Nicole Brooks and Sideshow have been fans of each other for over a decade now, and we’ve spent years finding the right project for a collaboration,” comment Green. “I feel lucky to be able to work with Nicky on this fascinating new play, commissioned and developed through Sideshow’s Freshness Initiative, about race, science, time and the effects they have on each other.”
“HeLa” will play November 18 – December 23. For more information visit sideshowtheatre.org.