Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For Colored Girls: Official Press Release!!

We told you it was coming, and here it is! We are sooooo proud of our friend Keryl, who is a partner in DreamTeam Entertainment Group. And we can't wait for the poster so we can frame it--maybe one autographed by the cast. That would be way cool. We've heard that poet/playwright Ntozake Shange has added new material that reflects the changes in life since the play debuted in 1975. And we hear that India.Arie has written songs that will knock you out. The 'T''s and 'I''s are being crossed and dotted for the other cast members. More to come. But it's time to start checking your fall calendar and ordering your tickets. We know where we'll be on September 8th! But we'll be hitting the previews hard too.

For Immediate Release, Please ~ June 25, 2008














Whoopi Goldberg and DreamTeam Entertainment Group are pleased to announce that two-time Grammy Award winner India.Arie will make her Broadway stage debut this fall in a new, re-envisioned production of Ntozake Shange's acclaimed play, FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF.

Directed by Shirley Jo Finney and choreographed by three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle, FOR COLORED GIRLS... begins preview performances on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre (1633 Broadway at 50th Street). Opening Night is Monday, September 8 at 6:45 p.m.

Performed by a cast of seven, FOR COLORED GIRLS... is a stunning and explosive series of prose poems and stories illuminating the identity of black women in America, as they reveal themselves, their lives, triumphs, hardships and ultimately their discovery of inner strength and love.

This re-envisioned production of FOR COLORED GIRLS... will feature new and updated material from Ms. Shange. Complete casting will be announced soon.

FOR COLORED GIRLS... originally began Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in May 1976, before transferring to Broadway on September 10, 1976. That production played the Booth Theatre for 876 performances and became the top-grossing dramatic play on Broadway that season.

Praised by The New York Times as "a play that should be seen, savored and treasured," the original Off-Broadway production and Broadway transfer was honored with an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award, as well Tony and Grammy Award nominations. Following the success of that production, FOR COLORED GIRLS... went on to tour throughout the U.S. for two years.

* * *

Ntozake Shange (en-toe-ZAH-kee SHANG-gay) is an acclaimed poet, playwright, novelist and performer who first garnered national attention with FOR COLORED GIRLS... . Since then, she has written a number of celebrated works, including three novels, four volumes of poetry, several screenplays, essays and numerous stage plays. Among her many awards and citations, Ms. Shange has been honored with the Columbia Medal of Excellence, The Los Angeles Times Award for Poetry and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

India.Arie, the highly acclaimed singer songwriter who impacted music in the new millennium with her unique acoustic soul sound and profound lyrics, has won numerous awards including two Grammy Awards, 16 Grammy nominations and three NAACP Image Awards among others. She is currently working on her fourth studio album, Testimony: Vol. II, Love & Politics.

Shirley Jo Finney has directed in theatres throughout the country including the McCarter Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Goodman Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse and The Mark Taper Forum, among others. She has been honored with an NAACP Image Award and an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for her West Coast production of Yellow Man at the Fountain Theatre. FOR COLORED GIRLS... marks Ms. Finney's Broadway directorial debut.

Celebrated choreographer and Broadway veteran Hinton Battle is a three-time Tony winner for his performances in Sophisticated Ladies, Miss Saigon and The Tap Dance Kid. A recipient of the NAACP Image Award and The Fred Astaire Award, his choreography can be seen in the recent films Idlewild, Bolden and The Great Observer, and on ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars."

With musical direction by seven-time Tony-nominated orchestrator Harold Wheeler (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hairspray, The Full Monty), the new Broadway production of FOR COLORED GIRLS... features set design by Tony Award nominee Scott Bradley (Seven Guitars), costume design by Tony Award nominee Paul Tazewell (In the Heights, The Color Purple), lighting design by Victor Tan (As You Like It, Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet on Broadway) and sound design by Mitch Greenhill.

Visit for more information and updates.
FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF will play on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre (1633 Broadway at 50th St.).

Beginning Tuesday, August 19, the regular performance schedule is as follows:
Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m.
Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.
Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.
Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $98.50 (all ticket prices include a $1.50 facility fee) and are available by calling at 212-239-6200 beginning Saturday, July 19.
Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Circle in the Square Theatre Box Office beginning Monday, August 4. Regular Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
INDIA.ARIE (Performer). The world renowned award winning singer/ songwriter India.Arie makes her Broadway debut with this production of For Colored Girls... . Coming onto the national music scene in 2001 with her Universal Records debut Acoustic Soul, she followed up in 2002 with her sophomore CD Voyage to India and in 2006 released her third album, the more personally expressive Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship. All three releases have received critical acclaim nationwide and made her a respectable and noted artist in a very short amount of time. She has sold over eight million copies worldwide and has received numerous awards and nominations including 16 Grammy nominations, two Grammy Awards and three NAACP Image Awards, along with awards from BET, Billboard Music, Radio Music, MTV, VH1, Vogue Fashion, Essence Magazine and others. She has received critical acclaim from USA Today to VIBE Magazine, and has graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly, Jet and Ebony to name a few. A voice initially heard by women around the world with her song "Video" has developed into a voice heard by people around the world with her song "There's Hope." The New York Times says "Ms. Arie's music only further enhances her reputation as an artist of substance; centering on her acoustic guitar and confident but restrained vocals, it recalls such soul masters as Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack." In between touring and writing music, India.Arie finds the time to help promote things close to her heart. As a U.S. Ambassador for UNICEF she has traveled to Africa several times addressing the AIDS crisis there. She has met with Nelson Mandela and was featured in the VH1 documentary "Tracking The Monster: Ashley Judd & India.Arie Confront AIDS in Africa." She has played alongside Stevie Wonder, Sting, Elton John, Bette Midler, Michael McDonald and others. She has written with Stevie Wonder ("A Time for Love," the title track of his last album) and has been featured on various songs including John Mellencamp's Grammy winning "Peaceful World." She has performed on such prestigious TV specials as "The Kennedy Center Honors," "The NAACP Awards" and "The Grammy Awards." An animated India.Arie has even appeared on "Blues Clues' BluesStock" and she has danced with Elmo on "Sesame Street's" home DVD Healthy Happy Monsters. She has had several songs featured in motion pictures, including "Good Man" in A Soldier's Story, "Get it Together" in A Shark's Tale, "Eyes of The Heart (Radio's Song)" from the motion picture Radio, "Purify Me" from Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and most recently "Heart of the Matter" on the Sex and the City soundtrack and trailer. Just this year she started her own music imprint called Soulbird Music and between appearances has been working on her fourth album, Testimony: Vol. II, Love & Politics scheduled for release in early 2009 on Universal Republic Records.

NTOZAKE SHANGE (Playwright). For her acclaimed play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Ntozake Shange received an Obie Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award, as well as Tony and Grammy Award nominations. The subsequent PBS teleplay adaptation was nominated for an Emmy Award. Since then, Ms. Shange has gone on to write a number of celebrated works: three novels, four volumes of poetry, screenplays, essays, and numerous plays including Spell #7, A Photograph; Lovers in Motion, Boogie Woogie Landscapes and The Love Space Demands: A Continuing Saga. Ms. Shange's novels include Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo (for which she was nominated for a Pen-Faulkner First Novel Award), Betsy Brown and Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter all received with critical acclaim. Her other stage works include A Daughter's Geography and an adaptation of Mother Courage & Her Children, for which she received an Obie Award. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, including the Columbia Medal of Excellence, The Los Angeles Times Award for Poetry and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A "performing poet," Ms. Shange gives public readings of her work and directs performances of her choreopoems. Other published works include an anthology she edited, titled The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Woman and Men of All Colors, and an essay in the collection The Playwright's Voice. Ms. Shange has also published If I Can Cook/You Know God Can (Beacon), I Live in Music (Stewart, Tobori & Chang), Float Like A Butterfly: The Muhammed Ali Story (Hyperion Books) and Daddy Says (Simon & Schuster). She is currently working on stage adaptations of the film Sparkle for Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, her novel Liliane for Rites & Reasons Theatre in Providence Rhode Island, and The Lulu Plays for the Public Theatre in New York. With photographer Kris Kristofferson, Ms. Shange is completing Midnight Cowboy: Black Rodeo Now as well as collaborating with the Karnoinge collective of photographers on The Sweet Embrace. She is working on a novel with Ifa Bayeza titled Some Sing, Some Cry, an intergenerational history of black music. Ms. Shange is a professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

SHIRLEY JO FINNEY (Director). An award-winning director and actress, Shirley Jo Finney has directed in theatres throughout the country including the McCarter Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Goodman Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Crossroads Theater Company, Actors' Theater of Louisville Humana Festival, The Mark Taper Forum, The American College Theatre Festival and The Sundance Theatre Workshop. In 2005, Ms. Finney premiered a new play based on Whoopi Goldberg's hit children's book "Alice" at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., which subsequently toured the country. She received a Los Angeles Theater Ovation Award nomination, the NAACP Image Award, L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, Backstage West Award and L.A. Weekly Award for Best Director, all for her production of Yellow Man. Other directing awards include three Drama-Logue Awards and Chicago's Jefferson Award. Ms. Finney has directed several episodes of the UPN series "Moesha" and has received the International Black Filmmakers Award for the short film Remember Me. She has also directed for the Naked TV Project for Fox Television. Ms. Finney was featured in Infiniti in Black, a national ad campaign for Infiniti. She is an alumna of the American Film Institute's Director Workshop for Women and holds an MFA from UCLA. She is also a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, The Director's Guild and the Screen Actors Guild. She has been an Artist in Residence at Columbia College in Chicago, and a guest director and lecturer at USC and UCLA.

HINTON BATTLE (Choreographer). At 16, Hinton Battle starred as The Scarecrow in The Wiz, which launched a very successful career on Broadway starring in Dancin', Dreamgirls and Chicago. Hinton received Tony Awards for his performances in Sophisticated Ladies, Miss Saigon and The Tap Dance Kid. He is also the proud recipient of the NAACP Image Award, The Fred Astaire Award and the Ira Aldridge Award. His film and television credits include These Old Broads, Dreamgirls and the ABC biopic "Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." His director/choreographer credits include Associate Choreographer of the Academy Awards and commissioned works for Baltimore School of the Arts, Washington Reflections Dance Company and Philadanco. His choreography has also been featured in the film Idlewild and on "Dancing with the Stars." On stage, Battle has had three hit productions running simultaneously: the musical adaptation of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead at the Diesel Theater in Toronto and at New York's New World Stages, and Respect - A Musical Journey of Women at the Gem Theatre in Detroit. He just completed choreographing two feature films, Bolden and The Great Observer with original music by Wynton Marsalis. He is the author of That's My Man, a stage comedy with music starring Grammy winner Stephanie Mills, which is slated to tour the African-American theatre market this fall.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG (Producer) is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy (Whoopi Goldberg, 1985), the Academy Award (Ghost, 1991), the Golden Globe (The Color Purple, 1985; Ghost, 1991), the Emmy (AMC's "Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel," 2002) and a Tony (Thoroughly Modern Millie, 2002). Whoopi has appeared in such films as Jumpin' Jack Flash; Clara's Heart; The Long Walk Home; Soapdish; The Player; Sarafina!; Sister Act; Made in America; Corrina, Corrina; Boys on the Side; Eddie; The Associate; Ghosts of Mississippi; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Girl, Interrupted; Kingdom Come and Rat Race. Her myriad of television credits include "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (five seasons), "Bagdad Café" "In the Gloaming" (HBO), "The Wonderful World of Disney's Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," "A Knight in Camelot," "Alice in Wonderland" (miniseries), "Whoopi" (also Exec. Producer), "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie," "Good Fences" (also Co-Producer), "Whoopi's Littleburg" (Nick Jr., also Producer) and currently appears as moderator on ABC's long-running talk show "The View." Her other producing credits include the acclaimed Lifetime series "Strong Medicine," the Emmy-winning "Hollywood Squares" (1999-2002), the Lifetime movie "What Makes a Family," Showtime's "Ruby's Bucket of Blood" the TNT Original Movie "Call Me Claus" and the Showtime original "Good Fences." Whoopi's Broadway and Off-Broadway producing credits include the hit musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, George C. Wolfe's Harlem Song, her own Whoopi...The 20th Anniversary and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (in which she also starred). In 1997, she garnered rave reviews on Broadway in the revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Whoopi received Emmy Award nominations for hosting the 66th, 68th and 71st Academy Awards telecasts and returned to host the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. She is the author of three books: Alice, Book and Whoopi's Big Book of Manners. Her fourth book, Sugar Plum Ballerinas, will be out this October. This year, Whoopi hosted the Tony Awards for the first time.

DREAMTEAM ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (Producer) is comprised of principal partners Dr. Victor Leo Walker II, Harold Wheeler, Keryl McCord, Ned S. Goldstein, Fredric D. Rosen and Peter B. Knepper. The company was established and incorporated in 2003 to engage in the business of producing live theatrical events, audio and video entertainment productions (including film, television, CD, DVD and webcast) and the creation, manufacture, marketing and selling of products including video games, action figures, digital entertainment devices and other commercial products. By drawing upon the very best technological, artistic and human resources, DreamTeam Entertainment Group is quickly becoming a global force in the entertainment industry. It is achieving this by developing and producing innovative, entertaining, cutting edge properties with the entertainment industry's top national and international artists and producers in film, theatre, television, music, animation and video game technology.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:30 AM 1 comments

Monday, June 23, 2008

And the survey says...

When we asked you to break down the five ‘must have’ scenes for Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made—the Movie, we knew it was a hard assignment. Even David Letterman does a top ten list. Some of you flat out told us it was impossible and gave us more. Some combined events to make a kind of flow of scenes. Hey, we can work with it. Thanks for taking on the challenge. Here are the results:

5—TIE—Pat and Gayle’s reunion at A Hand Up, the shelter.
Ramsey finds Gayle at the cemetery, asks for the picture frame. Then Gayle finds there is money hidden in it.

4—Gayle meets Ramsey and falls for him. They elope.

3—Pat and Marcus kiss in the basement.

2—TIE—The hotel room. Pat has confronted her father, storms back to her room, but doesn’t realize that Gayle is the maid.
Pat goes with Marcus for a trip on his boat. They admit they are in love. They elope.

And the number one ‘gotta have it’ scene—this one was on pretty much everybody’s list:

Pat, Gayle and Marcus walk home from school. Freddy is accidentally shot.

There were several scenes that just missed the list:
--Gayle loosing her house.
--Gayle and Pat fall out after Gayle does not accompany Pat for the abortion.
--Pat on the ferry for her Martha’s Vineyard summer

The good news is we get to bring you more than five scenes, but it’s still hard to make choices! Thanks for your input. We’ll have other questions to ask you along the way.

And congratulations to our winner of the galley of our next book, MELISSA WELLS of Florida!!! Her galley of What Doesn’t Kill You –coming in January of 2009—is on the way.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 10:07 AM 0 comments

Monday, June 16, 2008

Broadway Dreamin' --- Yes we can...

Last night, in our separate homes, we watched the Tony Awards with particular glee. Yes, we were happy for all of the award recipients, particularly for winners In the Heights and Stew from Passing Strange who bring a different flavor to the Great White Way.

But our excitement really comes from visions of next year’s Tonys dancing in our heads. Now, at this point you already know we’re prone to hallucination—we do it professionally. It’s called writing fiction. But we were transporting ourselves to Radio City, 2009, and imagining the new revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, being a multi-nominated play. In this daydream we are in the theater, applauding ourselves silly and so proud we can barely stand it.

We’ve mentioned that our friend Keryl (along with last night’s Tony host Whoopi Goldberg among others)is on the team that is producing Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem, which we like to think of as spokenword from back in the day of Gil Scott-Heron, and The Last Poets among others—back when rap was a lame line delivered (with appropriate swagger) by a brother who thought he was bad. India.aire will star (there’s more casting news, but we have to keep our lips sealed a little while longer). And now they have a theater so it’s really on! The production will be mounted at Circle in the Square Theater on Broadway—rehearsals to begin mid July, previews in August and opening in early September. WE CAN’T WAIT!!!

Donna is particularly delirious because the play has always held special meaning:
I was 19 when I first saw it. My friend and sister Arlene and I were in college and we heard about this play and had to see it. So we took ourselves down to the Public Theater—not our usual stomping ground. We we’re catching more stuff at Henry Street Settlement, the Negro Ensemble Company, Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theater, Black Spectrum Theater (where I used to perform, but that’s a whole ‘nother story) . . . Anyway, it never occurred to us that the performance would be sold out, but it was. This was not possible. We HAD to see it—that day. So somehow we found an usher and pled our case. We were either persuasive or pitiful, but after the house lights went down, he led us to two spots in the aisle, and we watched, sitting on the stairs. By the end we were so excited we could not speak in whole sentences, but we didn’t have to. The Ladies in Brown, Purple, Red, Green, Blue and Orange had spoken to us, touched us, were us. And for me, I realized very personally, that writing could be about telling the truth of what you know. It was a major moment. My copy of For Colored Girls is yellowed and well loved—I read it every few years and it is still as fresh to me as ever.

We’ll share more news as soon as we can. But all y’all who plan a getaway weekend or arrange busloads from your hometown to come to NY to see a “black” play (and you know who you are)—get your email lists and phone trees ready--- there’s another great show on the way!! Autumn in NY is so wonderful...and the Holidays are amazing!!!

Onward to opening night!

Sometimes we really have to pinch ourselves—our 4 Colored Girls Productions team is producing a movie, our friend’s Dream Team is producing the much acclaimed For Colored Girls... on Broadway and an African American man is the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States. “Umph--- umph—umph!” is what we know our grandparents would say.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 2:15 PM 2 comments

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tryin' Movie suggestions--THANK YOU!!

We want to thank all of you for your responses to Regina's question. Your suggestions for scenes not to be left out of Tryin' the Movie have come pouring in. Many of them are universal--like Gayle finding the money near the end and others represent a fairly good range of what you all think is important. Again--this is important to us. We want this to be your movie. We want you involved. Because it is thanks to you and your support over the years that we are at this juncture in the first place.

And when you don't hear from us, don't think there's nothing going on. Making a movie is a LONG and involved process--when you see actors on morning or late night TV talking about their "new" movie--most of them have something to say about how long they've been working on that particular project. The average is 4.5 years from idea to theater. We are just about midway on our journey and making progress one step at a time! So hang in there. Be patient with us and this process and we'll keep you in the loop. Because when the time comes, we want to have an opening weekend just like Sex and the City did last week and we'll definitely need your help to make that happen.

But right now we have to go through your 5 Must See Scene suggestions and do some kind of tabulation and average. We won't have the fancy accounting firm like the Oscars or the Grammys but we're perfectly capable of adding! And we'll get back to you in a couple of weeks with the results, the name of the winner of a galley of What Doesn't Kill You and a sneak peek at cover--which we LOVE by the way!
posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:09 PM 0 comments

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hot! Hot! Hot!

It’s 10 o’clock in the morning, early in June and it’s already 92 degrees outside. And THEY’re (and we all know who THEY are) promising us 100 by this afternoon—aren’t we lucky? We went from a May when we needed to turn the heat on for several days, to a June that is ‘August at the Equator’ hot.

But what are you gonna do? It’s weather. We bitch about winter, rain, wind and the heat. And folks have probably been cursing cold fronts and barometric pressure since long before we knew what they were. We know our tirade doesn’t change anything. At the end of our rant, do we get an endorphin rush? A feeling of contentment? That “So there!” third grade finality that’s feels like having the last word? But for all its ineffectiveness, it seems like complaining just makes you feel better—or does it?

THEY’re also promising that this mini-heat wave will end by midweek and temps will settle into the 80’s.

But right now--it’s still hot.
The bad news: Donna does not have A/C
The good news: Virginia does.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:38 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Calling all you Tryin' Lovers! We Need Your Help!!!

We had a great time last week in LA for Book Expo America. It was a chance to catch up with fellow authors and friends like Donna Hill, Terry McMillan, Victoria Christopher Murray (we’ll get to see each other again in Cincinnati this July where we’ll both be signing at the NAACP Convention), Kimberla Lawson Roby, Terrie Williams, Sandra Kitt, Gwynne Forster, ReShunda Tate Billingsley. . . We met author Carleen Brice, whose novel, Orange Mint and Honey was published in February—we read it last year in galleys. Niki Turner, Zane, Omar Tyree, TJ Butler, and many more were in attendance. Actors Diahann Carroll and Tim Reid also have books coming, as does Dionne Warwick.

Being on the left coast also gave us the opportunity to meet with our movie folks including the producers of Far From the Tree and the star of Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made, Regina King. . It’s amazing to us that there are two of our books, heading toward “Action!” We’re excited about screenwriter Desha Dauchan’s work on adapting Tryin’ (we got to meet her Mom, Shirley, too). And all of you Tryin’ lovers—we (and Regina) have a question for you. What are the FIVE moments from the book you HAVE to see in the movie?

You know we can’t bring every scene, word for word from the book—that would be a mini-series. But we also want to try to bring your favorite moments to the screen. So please let us know by Wednesday, June 11th. From your responses, we’ll select one randomly chosen reader (we’ll be fair!) to receive a galley of our newest new book, What Doesn’t Kill You, which will be out in January ’09.

AND be on the lookout – next time we’ll be asking for your input on Far From the Tree!!!

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 3:10 PM 1 comments
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