201120_MCC_SchoolGirls-Header_v01

by JOCELYN BIOH
directed by KAMILAH FORBES

An MCC VIRTUAL EVENT: a benefit reading of the award-winning hit comedy!

 

FEATURING:

CYNTHIA ERIVO, SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH, ASHLEIGH MURRAY, DA’VINE JOY RANDOLPH, STORM REID, LYRIC ROSS, GABOUREY SIDIBE, LOVIE SIMONE

ONLINE SALES ARE NOW CLOSED- TO PURCHASE TICKETS, PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE AT 646-506-9393

The CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, SOLD OUT hit comedy,  SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY by Burnt-Umber Playwright in Residence JOCELYN BIOH is back in session for a one-night only virtual event.

Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant. But the arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. This 2018 Lortel Award winner for BEST PLAY and NEW YORK TIMES CRITIC’S PICK explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe.

Having Trouble? For the quickest trouble shooting response please email boxoffice@mcctheater.org. We will have a staff member standing by until 3:30pm ET to assist. Please note that they will not be able to assist on IT issues, but they can help make sure you’re in the right place! You can test your connection to the stream starting at 2:45pm ET. If you see the title of the show – you’ve arrived!

SUN, DEC 13
3:00PM ET
PRESENTED VIRTUALLY

RUN TIME: 80 MINUTES, PLUS A 20 MINUTE LIVE TALKBACK*

ONLINE SALES ARE NOW CLOSED- TO PURCHASE TICKETS, PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE AT 646-506-9393

All ticket buyers will be sent a link to access the event two hours prior to the start time on DEC 13. If you purchase a ticket that includes the talkback, you will receive 2 separate links.

Proceeds from this virtual benefit reading help MCC continue to bring thought-provoking theater to life in the digital realm and prepare for our return to 52nd Street.

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PLEASE NOTE
*Only tickets purchased at the $50 level include access to the live talkback with the cast and creative team.
Subscribers have access to $5 tix that include the live talkback. Make sure you’re signed-in to access your discount.

Patrons receive complimentary tickets to the reading and talkback. To book your Patron tickets, please contact patrons@mcctheater.org.

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CAST

CYNTHIA ERIVO

Eloise Amponsah

CYNTHIA ERIVO

Eloise Amponsah

Cynthia Erivo is a Tony®, Emmy® and Grammy Award-winning actress as well as a SAG, double Golden Globe®, and double Academy Award®-nominee. Erivo burst onto West End and Broadway stages in “The Color Purple” and has since taken the big screen by storm. This year Erivo has been honored with the “Breakthrough Performance” award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, received a “Virtuoso” award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and received the “Rising Star” award from the American Black Film Festival.

Erivo recently starred in Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet,” where she brought the legacy of Harriet Tubman to the big screen. She told the story of how Tubman helped free hundreds of slaves from the South after escaping slavery herself in 1849. Focus Features premiered the film at the Toronto International Film Festival and released the film on November 1, 2019. In addition to leading the cast, Erivo lent her voice to the movie’s title song, “Stand Up,” for which she also co-wrote. “Stand Up” won “Best Original Song” at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Both Cynthia and “Stand Up” were nominated for two Academy Awards as well as two Golden Globe Awards in the categories of “Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” and “Best Original Song” respectively. The film also garnered ten NAACP nominations as well as AAFCA and Society of Composers & Lyricists Award wins.

Erivo can soon be seen as Aretha Franklin in the next installment of National Geographic’s Emmy- winning global anthology series “Genius: Aretha.” This upcoming season will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul. It will premiere on National Geographic channels which are shown in 172 countries and 43 languages.
Erivo currently stars on the HBO series “The Outsider,” which premiered on January 12, 2020. The series is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Erivo stars alongside Ben Mendelsohn in the series, which follows an unorthodox investigator and a seasoned cop investigating a gruesome murder of a local boy.

In August, Erivo launched her production company, Edith’s Daughter, and announced her first-look deal with MRC Television & Civic Center Media. Edith’s Daughter will focus on projects that express the beauty in the stories and people who are often overlooked and underrepresented. Erivo named former BRON Studios Director of Development, Solome Williams, as Vice President of the company.

Additionally, Erivo has many upcoming projects. She will star alongside Daisy Ridley and David Oyelowo in Doug Liman’s highly anticipated sci-fi thriller, “Chaos Walking” and will join Orlando Bloom, Freida Pinto, and Leslie Odom Jr as the star of John Ridley’s “Needle in a Timestack.” She will executive produce and start in Warner Brothers’ musical take on the American folk tale of “Rip Van Winkle.” Erivo is also set to produce and star in the film adaptation of the QCode scripted thriller podcast, “Carrier.” Erivo will lead the cast as a long-haul truck driver who, during her all-night trip across rural America, discovers she’s transporting a trailer with disturbing, mysterious contents. Erivo both voiced and produced the podcast which premiered on July 1, 2019.

It was recently announced that Erivo will star in Universal’s “Talent Show”, directed by Gandja Monteiro and written by Lena Waithe. “Talent Show” is the story of a failed songwriter (to be played by Erivo) who returns home to Chicago to lead a group of at-risk youth in their annual talent show.

Continuing to push the boundaries of her versatile career, Erivo stars in John Cameron Mitchell’s music- driven podcast anthology, “Anthem: Homunculus,” which combines music, drama and theater to create a dense and masterful musical journey, in the style of a radio play, produced by Topic.

In 2018, Erivo made her film debut in Drew Goddard’s “Bad Times at the El Royale,” which is set in the 1960s in a dilapidated hotel in the Lake Tahoe region of California. 20th Century Fox released the film on October 12, which also stars Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, and Jon Hamm, among others. Erivo also starred as ‘Belle’ in Steve McQueen’s drama, “Widows,” opposite Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki. Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, the film follows four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, who take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. 20th Century Fox released the film on November 16 following a successful premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Erivo rounded out the year with a 2019 BAFTA EE Rising Star Award nomination for her exceptional work in film and on stage.

Erivo made her Broadway debut reprising her starring role as ‘Celie’ in the critically acclaimed revival of “The Color Purple.” She first played the role in 2013 at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, earning rave reviews and an Evening Standard Theatre Award® nomination for Best Musical Performance and a WhatsOnStage Award® nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Her performance on Broadway earned her several awards, including the Tony Award® for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, a Grammy award® as a principal soloist on original cast recording of “The Color Purple” (Best Musical Theater Album), a Daytime Emmy Award® for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, the Drama Desk Award®, Theatre World®, and Outer Critics Circle Awards®.

In spring 2015, Erivo appeared as ‘Puck’ in the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Nick Bagnall. In fall 2014, she returned to her classical roots in the Donmar Warehouse’s acclaimed all-female production of “Henry IV,” opposite Dame Harriet Walter, directed by Phyllida Lloyd. In summer 2014, she played the lead in the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, “Dessa Rose,” at Trafalgar Studios.

Erivo’s additional theatre credits include the Perfect Pitch musical, “Lift,” directed by Steven Paling; Kneehigh Theatre’s production of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” at the Gielgud Theatre; the starring role of ‘Deloris Van Cartier’ in the UK tour of Jerry Zaks’ production of “Sister Act;” Harry Hill and Simon Cowell’s critically acclaimed musical, “I Can’t Sing,” at the London Palladium in the West End; Simon Stephens’ “Marine Parade,” which premiered at the 2010 Brighton Festival, John Adams’ experimental song play, “I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky,” at Theatre Royal Stratford East; and Dominic Hill’s “The Three Musketeers and The Princess of Spain” at Traverse, Belgrade and English Touring theatres.

In addition to her stage career, Cynthia is an accomplished songwriter, having written the song, “Fly Before You Fall,” for the 2014 feature film “Beyond the Lights.” In March 2015, she made her solo concert debut with the show entitled “Hear My Soul” at Kings Place in London. In September 2016, Erivo starred as ‘Cathy’ alongside Joshua Henry in a one-night benefit concert performance of Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years,” with proceeds going to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Erivo has performed with symphonies and music spaces including the Kennedy Center Honors, the 2020 Academy Awards, the 2017 Governor’s Ball (the official post- Oscars celebration) and the 2017 Grammy Awards.

A UK native, Erivo graduated from the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 2010.

SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH

Mercy

SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH

Mercy

At just fifteen years old, star on the rise Shahadi Wright Joseph has quickly become known in the entertainment industry for the diverse and dynamic characters she has brought to life on screen and stage, having starred in some of the most buzzed about films in theaters in 2019.

Shahadi will lead Amazon Studios’ highly anticipated horror/thriller anthology “Them: Covenant,” opposite Deborah Ayorinde and Ashley Thomas. Shahadi most recently starred as Young Nala in Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Lion King,” a CGI re-imagining of the 1994 Disney classic directed by Jon Favreau. Shahadi lent her voice to the character alongside talents such as Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Keegan-Michael Key, Donald Glover, and more. This marks the second time Shahadi has appeared as Nala– at just nine years old she made history as the youngest actress to play the character in Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway.

Another breakout project for Shahadi was her starring role in the Universal Pictures horror/thriller film “Us” opposite Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss, and Winston Duke. Written and directed by Academy Award winner Jordan Peele, the film follows a family who takes a seemingly harmless vacation to Santa Cruz, California, only to find themselves fending for their lives against their psychotic doppelgängers. Shahadi shines as Zora Wilson, the daughter to Gabe (Duke) and Adelaide (Nyong’o) and sister to Jason (Evan Alex). The film made it’s official premiere at the esteemed 2019 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in March 2019, followed by a national theatrical release that broke box office records, pulling in over $70M during its opening weekend in North America alone.

In fall 2015, Shahadi joined the original Broadway cast of “School of Rock,” playing the role of Madison, with performances recognized by the AUDELCO Theatre Committee and earning her the 2016 AUDELCO Rising Star Award. Shahadi’s pride in being a part of a Tony Award nominated musical and working with legendary composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber grew even more, when she joined the star-studded cast of NBC’s three-time Emmy Award winning “Hairspray Live!” (2016), performing alongside Jennifer Hudson, Harvey Fierstein and Ariana Grande. Shahadi was nominated for a Young Artist Award, for her work in the special.

As a vocalist, Shahadi released her debut holiday EP entitled “Love for the Holidays” in 2018, and has since released “The Remixes” album, available now on iTunes and across all major digital distributors. Shahadi has also lent her voice to artistic and fundraising events for Radio Disney, The Broadway Star Project, City Harvest, The United Negro College Fund, The Young Entertainers Awards, White Plains Youth Bureau and Harlem School of the Arts.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY

Ama

ASHLEIGH MURRAY

Ama

Ashleigh Murray is an American actress and singer. Ashleigh can currently be seen as Josie McCoy in the RIVERDALE spin-off, KATY KEENE; the role of Josie began as a series regular on RIVERDALE for the CW. Ashleigh can also currently be seen in MGM’s VALLEY GIRL remake, which premiered on VOD in May 2020,  as Loryn – a high energy, spacey, and boy-crazy popular girl. Other credits include: the lead role of Deidra in Netflix’s Original Movie, “DEIDRA & LANEY ROB A TRAIN,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017; THE FOLLOWING; YOUNGER; and ALEX INC. Murray was born in Kansas City, MO and studied at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. She plays piano, sings and is a jazz and hip-hop dancer.

DA'VINE JOY RANDOLPH

Headmistress Francis

DA'VINE JOY RANDOLPH

Headmistress Francis

Tony Nominee DA’VINE JOY RANDOLPH  is currently recording a role opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Ethan Hawke in Antoine Fuqua’s Netflix thriller THE GUILTY.  Up next, Da’Vine is recurring opposite Martin Short, Steven Martin, and Selena Gomez in the Hulu series ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING.  Da’Vine co-stars opposite Richard Jenkins and Ed O’Neill in the Sony film THE LAST SHIFT for producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa and opposite Evan Rachel Wood in the Plan B/Annapurna for Focus Features film KAJILLIONAIRE from acclaimed director Miranda July. Both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and are currently in theatres.  She also recently wrapped the independent feature THE WATERMARK opposite Michael Shannon, currently in post-production.

Da’Vine will be seen as ‘Roslyn’ opposite Andra Day and Trevante Rhodes in Lee Daniels’ upcoming Paramount Pictures film THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY.

Da’Vine was a scene stealer and fan favorite in the multi-award winning Netflix feature film DOLEMITE IS MY NAME opposite Eddie Murphy, gathering rave reviews for her performance and earning the following nominations: NAACP Image Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress,’ and Black Reel Award for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress’ and ‘Outstanding Breakthrough Actor – Female.’ Randolph went on to win ‘Best Supporting Actor’ at the African American Film Critics Association Awards, and ‘Best Supporting Actress’ at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards. The film was a Golden Globenominee for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, won the Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy, and is Certified Fresh at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Last year, Da’Vine was named one of Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch for 2019.  In television, she most recently starred opposite Zoe Kravitz in the Hulu series HIGH FIDELITY, based on the critically acclaimed film of the same name, playing the role made iconic by Jack Black and concurrently opposite Kirsten Dunst in the hit Showtime series ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA.  Her other television credits include a regular role on TBS’ PEOPLE OF EARTH, and recurring arcs on EMPIRE, THIS IS US, and VEEP.

On stage, Da’Vine was nominated for a Tony Award for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role” in GHOST, which marked her West End and Broadway debuts. After that, she starred opposite Chris Bauer in the critically acclaimed WHAT RHYMES WITH AMERICA at the Atlantic Theatre Company, for which she was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award.  Regional stage credits include SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS at Yale Repertory Theater and HAIR at Prince Music Theater. She also received rave reviews for her performance in the Encores! Off-Center production of THE CRADLE WILL ROCK.  She earned a BA from Temple University in classical vocal performance and transitioned into acting by attending Yale School of Drama for her MFA.  Prior, Da’Vine attended the Interlochen Arts Academy for singing.

STORM REID

Ericka Boafo

STORM REID

Ericka Boafo

Storm Reid is best known for starring as ‘Meg’ in Disney’s live action adaptation of the acclaimed children’s novel A WRINKLE IN TIME, which was directed by multi-award winner Ava DuVernay. The film also starred Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. With numerous credits to her name, Reid is a fresh face and she has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young actors.

Most recently, Reid was seen in the Blumhouse film DON’T LET GO, opposite David Oyelowo. DON’T LET GO premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was released on August 30, 2019. She will next be seen in Blumhouse’s INVISIBLE MAN alongside Elizabeth Moss, which will be released on February 28, 2020. Recently, Reid recently wrapped production on SUICIDE SQUAD 2, which will be released in 2021.

On the small screen, Reid can be seen in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix limited series WHEN THEY SEE US, based on the Central Park Five – the series launched on May 31, 2019. The series racked up 16 Emmy Nominations and garnered two wins. She also stars alongside Zendaya in HBO’s EUPHORIA. Storm plays Gia Bennett, Rue’s (Zendaya) younger sister. The story follows a group of high school students navigating issues of drugs, sex, and violence. The all-star cast also includes Jacob Elordi, Algee Smith and Sydney Sweeney. This gritty drama premiered on June 9, 2019 and will return for a second season in 2021.

Reid landed her first feature film role opposite Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in the Academy Award winning film TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE directed by Steve McQueen and has constantly booked work including Judy Greer’s directorial debut A HAPPENING OF MONUMENTAL PROPORTIONS, and SLEIGHT which premiered at Sundance and was picked up by Blumhouse. Reid’s television credits include guest star roles on CHICAGO PD and NCIS: LOS ANGELES.

Storm currently resides in Los Angeles.

LYRIC ROSS

Gifty

LYRIC ROSS

Gifty

Born in Evergreen Park, IL, Lyric started demonstrating her acting talent at age 2 when she would recite lines and scenes from some of her favorite films. Lyric’s television debut came at the age of 11 when she appeared in an episode of the USA Network series Sirensand NBC’s Chicago Fire.  Shortly thereafter, Lyric joined the cast of the Indie film The Year That Changed Us; the Untitled Lena Waithe Project and the indie film, Canal Street where Lyric portrayed the daughter of a Chicago prosecutor (played by Mekhi Phifer).
In 2017, Lyric booked a breakout role on NBC’s hit series This Is Us, as Randall Pearson’s (Sterling K. Brown) troubled foster teen daughter. Early that year, the network and show creator, Dan Fogelman conducted a nationwide search for the young actress that would play the captivating role of ‘Deja’. Lyric taped her first audition for ‘Deja’ from her home in Chicago, IL and shortly after got the call to come to Los Angeles, CA to meet the creative minds behind This Is Us and after was cast as a series regular on the award winning series.
Lyric’s performance as ‘Deja’ has earned her several award nominations and one win including; Teen Choice Awards nomination for Choice TV: Breakout Star (2018), BET Awards for Young Stars (2019) and 2 NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special Television Movie or Limited Series) in 2019 & 2020 and also Lyric was also nominated in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2020. In 2019, alongside her This Is Us castmates, Lyric won a Screen Actors Guild Award in the category of Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

GABOUREY SIDIBE

Nana

GABOUREY SIDIBE

Nana

Gabourey Sidibe made her film debut as the title character in Lee Daniels’ Academy Award-nominated film, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

For her role as “Precious,” Sidibe received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress, as well as SAG, Broadcast Film Critics and BAFTA nominations. She won the Independent Spirit Award and an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress, the Breakthrough Performance Award from The National Board of Review and the Vanguard Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Sidibe’s television credits include memorable roles on several seasons of the Emmy Award-nominated anthology series “American Horror Story,” and all seasons of the Golden Globe Award-nominated series “The Big C,” opposite Laura Linney. She also recently played the role of ‘Denise,’ alongside Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner, in all three seasons of Hulu’s hilarious “Difficult People.” She can currently be seen in her series regular role as ‘Becky’ on the smash hit series “Empire.”  In 2010, Sidibe had the distinct honor of hosting “Saturday Night Live.”

In addition to “Precious,” Sidibe’s film credits include Gregg Araki’s “White Bird in a Blizzard,” opposite Shailene Woodley; the action-comedy “Tower Heist,” for director Brett Ratner, opposite Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller; a cameo appearance in Martin McDonagh’s “Seven Psychopaths” opposite Woody Harrelson; “Grimsby,” opposite Sacha Baron Cohen; “Life Partners,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; Victoria Mahoney’s independent film, “Yelling to the Sky,” which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival; and most recently “Antebellum,” from the producers of “Get Out,” opposite Janelle Monáe.

Sidibe made her directorial debut with the short film “The Tale of Four,” as part of Refinery29’s groundbreaking Shatterbox series. The film won the Audience Award for favorite narrative short at both Urban World and the Black Star Film Festival. She directed two episodes of EMPIRE and a PSA for Spread the Vote for the 2020 election

LOVIE SIMONE

Paulina

LOVIE SIMONE

Paulina

Included in Variety’s 2020 “Young Hollywood Impact Report” of talent to watch, actress Lovie Simone can now been seen in the lead role of “Tabby” in Sony’s reboot of the classic 1996 supernatural teen thriller THE CRAFT. This October, Simone starred in Netflix’s SOCIAL DISTANCE, a quarantine anthology series from Jenji Kohan. Simone is currently in production on the POWER prequel POWER BOOK III: RAISING KANAN. The Starz series will explore the early life of POWER’s Kanan Stark, and Simone will portray his love interest Davina Harrison.
Earlier this year, Simone starred in the title role of Amazon’s SELAH & THE SPADES, directed by Tayarisha Poe. The film premiered to critical acclaim at Sundance, with Simone receiving praise for her captivating performance. For five seasons, Simone starred as Zora Greenleaf in OWN’s NAACP nominated drama series GREENLEAF, executive produced by Oprah Winfrey.
In 2019, Simone starred in A24/HBO’s film SHARE, directed by Pippa Bianco. In 2018, she co-starred in the indie feature MONSTER alongside John David Washington, Jennifer Hudson and Jeffrey Wright. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Her additional television credits include ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and BLUE BLOODS.
Simone was raised in New York and currently resides in Atlanta.
CARD-SG-H1

“The nasty-teen comedy genre emerges wonderfully refreshed in a world it never considered.

– The New York Times

 

 

“Ferociously entertaining and as heartwarming as it is hilarious. Engaging from first minute to last…

(even the title is fun.)”

– The Hollywood Reporter

 

 

“Deliciously brought to life by a terrific ensemble. It’s hard to imagine a better staging and you’d be hard pressed to find a more refreshing 75-minutes.”

– LA Times

 

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