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The 11th Annual Juneteenth Jamboree of New Plays


June 3-19.

For the first time the summer festival features four full productions, rather than staged readings,  for four performances each, Thursday-Saturday, at Actors Theatre.  A company of 10 Louisville artists join the three guest artists –Sue Lawless, Thyais Walsh and Bryan Webster- to present our final festival in Louisville.  Confirmed local actors include DuAnne Hawkins-Cooper-, Mary Audrey Holt, Pierre Priest; music director, Gordon Thomas and director, Jeff Rodgers.

This summer’s Jamboree is a ‘Festival of Who in Black America’ because of the iconic characters covered. These include blues singers, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Lena Horne, Juneteenth Blues Cabaret; Civil Rights activists Mamie Till and her son, Emmett, Till; Harlem Renaissance legend, Bruce Nugent and gay rights activist, Essex Hemphill, Passing Ceremonies; and Everyman/woman, How Long Have I Been Dead Anyway?

Each work is a milestone in JLT’s own legacy. Juneteeenth Blues Cabaret is our most widely seen work.  Through the BOLD JOURNEYS Tour, thousands of Kentucky audiences at last year’s State Fair, in Hopkinsville, Elizabethtown and Campbellsville, as well as hundreds of people at Purdue University in Indiana, and at senior centers in New York City and small theaters in Manhattan have enjoyed the show. Hawkins-Cooper-, Holt, and Thomas join Walsh, June 3-5; staging by Lawless.

Passing Ceremonies, first presented at the 2006 Jamboree, was among the most controversial works due to its theme of black homosexuality and community rejection of AIDS victims. The subject matter was so hot, Co-Founders, Lorna Littleway and Kristi Papailler, performed in drag as Essex Hemphill and Bruce Nugent’s nurse Rafael. (Guest artist A.C. Smith played Nugent.)  JLT introduced PC to New York City audiences at the 7th Annual Fresh Fruit Festival, in July 2009, for a limited four-performance run; and later that year, at Nuyorican Poets Café, for a nine-show run. Keith McGill joins guest artist, Bryan Webster, in the leads as Hemphill and Nugent; Lawless directs.

Till, a 2005 Jam entry, has enjoyed the most extended life of transfers to other theater companies. Presented originally as a one-act, playwright Ifa Bayeza extended the work to a full-length script, The Ballad of Emmett Till, which has been produced in Providence, Rhode Island, Chicago and Los Angeles, California. Holt and Priest play mother and son, Mamie and Emmett Till. Lawless directs.

Starting in 2001, JLT made a commitment to produce Kentucky writers in the Jamboree. Among the four Bluegrass dramatists presented that year was Carridder Jones, whose one-act comedy, How Long Have I Been Dead Anyway?, was a huge hit!  JLT is excited to revive the story about the travails of an elderly couple trying to convince their local social security office that they are very much alive!  Jeff Rodgers directs; JLT Co-Founder Kristi Papailler and George Bailey play the devoted couple; Jeff Rodgers directs.

 Filling out the 11th Jam company are ATL staffers Nick Dent, lights, and Ben Marcum, sound; designers Jordan Bivens, costumes and Morgan Younge, hair and make-up. Assisting Littleway as interns are Louisville’s Brittany Thurman, a theatre graduate from Kingston University in London, U.K., Brady Carnahan, from Tompkinsville, KY, a UofL theatre major, and Daisha Webster, a Presentation Academy student.

Performances are in ATL’s Victor Jory Theater.  Tickets can be ordered through Actor’s box office (502) 584-1205 or online at . Individual tickets for performances are $10/Thursday and $15/Friday and Saturday; a festival pass is $25 for Thursday performances and $39 for Friday and Saturday performances. (Landmark/phone fees apply.)  Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm with an additional show Saturday at 5pm.

The Jamboree is funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, Metro Louisville Council members Judith Green, Mary Woolridge, David Tandy, George Unseld, and Jim King, the Kentucky Humanities Council, Kentucky Foundation for Women, and Individual donors.  



The 11thAnnual Juneteenth Jamboree “Best” New Plays is funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, Metro Louisville Council members Judith Green, Mary Woolridge, David Tandy, George Unseld, and Jim King, Kentucky Humanities Council, and Kentucky Foundation for Women.