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Asolo Rep presents Chicken & Biscuits

Posted: January 19 / 2023

By Douglas Lyons
Directed by Bianca LaVerne Jones 

Feb. 15 – April 13

 

(SARASOTA, FLA) — Asolo Repertory Theatre proudly presents Douglas Lyons’ CHICKEN & BISCUITS as the third play in its 2023 repertory season. Bianca LaVerne Jones, who served as associate director of the 2021 Broadway production, will direct. CHICKEN & BISCUITS begins previews on Feb. 15, opens on Feb. 17, and runs through April 13, in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

 

“When I saw this play on Broadway, I knew that our community would be dying to see it,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “Douglas Lyons' CHICKEN & BISCUITS is a hilarious, heart-warming, joyful story about a tight-knit Black family that will delight our audiences from start to finish.”

 

CHICKEN & BISCUITS introduces us to the Jenkins family, as they gather to celebrate the life of their beloved and recently deceased father and grandfather, the Revered Bernard Jenkins. When an unexpected guest reveals a secret, they all discover that nothing brings a family together like a big side of drama. This side-splitting new Broadway comedy explores the tenderness of family, the joy of reconciliation and the nourishing power of love. 

 

Jones returns to Asolo Rep after performing in Disgraced in 2016 and directing Eureka Day last season. In 2021, she made her Broadway debut as associate director for Chicken & Biscuits. She has directed productions for Syracuse Stages, Baltimore Center Stage, NJPAC, Pittsburgh Public, Classical Theater of Harlem and Teatro Latea, among others, as well as episodes 108 and 109 of the Emmy®-nominated The Gaze: No Homo web series. Jones is the first African American woman to graduate with a master’s degree in directing from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

 

“I am delighted to direct CHICKEN & BISCUITS so we can LAUGH and heal together!” Jones said. “My approach as I uncover the play is to expose the legacy of the characters in CHICKEN & BISCUITS; what each character embraces about themselves and who they are hoisting themselves into becoming, when it really matters.”

 

The design team for CHICKEN & BISCUITS includes Antonio Troy Ferron (Scenic Design); Dede Ayite (Costume Design); Jared Gooding (Lighting Design); UptownWorks: Bailey Trierweiler, Daniela Hart, Noel Nichols (Sound Design); Rasean Davonté Johnson (Projection Design); and Michelle Hart (Hair/Wig & Make-Up Design).

 

The cast features La Shawn Banks as Reginald Mabry, Dreaa Kay Baudy as La’Trice Franklin, Rasell Holt as Kenny Mabry, Tracey Conyer Lee as Baneatta Mabry, Dean Linnard as Logan Leibowitz, Candice McKoy as Brianna Jenkins, Jasmine Rush as Beverly Jenkins and Imani Lee Williams as Simone Mabry.

 

The understudies are Jasmyn Ackah, Joe Ayers, Kathy-Ann Hart, Ashley McCauley Moore and Ibukun J. Omotowa.

 

“I am looking forward to our hilarious journey in rehearsal,” said Jones. “Asolo Rep has been a home base for my career, and I know Sarasota will LOVE THIS!”

 

CHICKEN & BISCUITS contains mature content and language.

 

CHICKEN & BISCUITS runs Feb. 15 – April 13. Previews are Feb. 15 – 16. Visit asolorep.org for a full performance schedule. Orchestra and Mezzanine seats start at $65 and Balcony seats start at $33. Tickets are available now in person at Asolo Rep's Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, by phone at 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, or online at asolorep.org.

 

 

CAST

(in alphabetical order)

 

La Shawn Banks*..........................................................Reginald Mabry

Dreaa Kay Baudy.........................................................La’Trice Franklin

Rasell Holt*........................................................................Kenny Mabry

Tracey Conyer Lee*.......................................................Baneatta Mabry

Dean Linnard*...............................................................Logan Leibowitz

Candice McKoy*............................................................Brianna Jenkins

Jasmine Rush*...............................................................Beverly Jenkins

Imani Lee Williams...........................................................Simone Mabry

 

*****

Jasmyn Ackah, Joe Ayers, Kathy-Ann Hart,

Ashley McCauley Moore, Ibukun J. Omotowa……..Understudies

 

*****

Jacqueline Singleton*………..……..………….….. Stage Manager

Alexa Burn*…….................................…Assistant Stage Manager

 

*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

 

 

DESIGN TEAM

 

Scenic Designer…………...…………………..............................................…….. Antonio Troy Ferron

Costume Designer…………………..……….…………….……………………………...……. Dede Ayite

Lighting Designer……...………..…………………………………………………....…….. Jared Gooding

Sound Design……………….…………. UptownWorks: Bailey Trierweiler, Daniela Hart, Noel Nichols

Projection Designer…………………………………………….……………… Rasean Davonté Johnson

Hair/Wig & Make-Up Designer……….……….………………………………………………Michelle Hart

 

 

ENHANCED EXPERIENCES

 

Inside Asolo Rep

Thursday, Feb. 16, at 10:30 a.m.

Cook Theatre

$5; free for donors and Asolo Rep Guilded Angels

 

Attendees get a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain in this special series featuring the directors, designers and other creative artists from Asolo Rep’s dazzling productions.

 

Inside Asolo Rep is sponsored by Observer Media Group.

 

Tuesday Talkbacks (FREE)
Feb. 21

Attendees can enhance their experience with this post-show discussion.

 

IllumiNation

Wednesday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.

Pre-show reception and post-show community conversation

For series package information and single performance tickets, contact the box office.

 

IllumiNation explores the social, political and cultural themes threaded throughout the show, while examining issues of race, gender, identity and cultural intersection.

 

The IllumiNation series is made possible, in part, with support from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Koski Family Foundation and Morton’s Gourmet Market & Catering.

 

OUT@AsoloRep

Thursday, March 30

Pre-show reception

For subscription and ticket information, contact the box office.

 

OUT@AsoloRep is Sarasota’s premier cultural event connecting local LGBTQIA+ communities with fantastic theatre.

 

OUT@AsoloRep is sponsored by Empath Tidewell Foundation, CAN Community Health, Morton’s Gourmet Market & Catering and Project Pride.

 

PlayDate

Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m.

These show-based workshops for young people offer a childcare option for adults attending a mainstage performance.

*All activities are subject to change or modification based on CDC recommendations.

 

SPONSORS

 

Asolo Rep is able to present CHICKEN & BISCUITS because of the generosity of its sponsors. The corporate sponsors for CHICKEN & BISCUITS are Herald-Tribune, Gold Coast Eagle and Morton’s Gourmet Market & Catering.

 

Asolo Rep’s 2022-23 Major Season Sponsors are Florida State University, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Huisking Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, the Koski Family Foundation, Designing Women Boutique/Groundworks and The Exchange. Asolo Rep is also sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts. Asolo Rep’s artistic programs are paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues.

 

ABOUT ASOLO REP

Now in its 64th season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season, including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. Visit asolorep.org to learn more.