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Familiar

January 26 - March 03

Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
Old Globe Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

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Photo Credits

(from left) Danny Johnson, Cherene Snow, Ramona Keller, Zakiya Young, and Olivia Washington. Photo by J.T. MacMillan.

 

Familiar
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Summary

By Danai Gurira
Directed by Edward Torres

Donald and his wife Marvelous have been living the American Dream since emigrating from Zimbabwe nearly three decades ago. They have a beautiful house and impressive careers, and now one of their daughters is getting married! But when the bride insists on a traditional African wedding ceremony, tensions start to rise. Throw in an eccentric aunt from the old country and a bewildered bridegroom, and soon it’s not certain the couple will ever make it down the aisle. Familiar, from Tony Award nominee Danai Gurira (Black Panther, “The Walking Dead”), takes a funny, warmhearted look at tradition, marriage, and what it means to be an American family. The New York Times calls it “an engrossing, fiercely funny comedy–drama that probes with subtlety and smarts.” Contains strong language.

Running time: Two hours and 25 minutes. There is one intermission.

Production Sponsors
Silvija and Brian Devine
United

Program

Calendar

Cast and Creatives

Cast

Creatives

Danai Gurira (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and actress. As a playwright, her works include In the Continuum (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Helen Hayes Award), Eclipsed (Tony Award nomination for Best Play, NAACP Theatre Award, Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical, Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production – Play), and The Convert (six Ovation Awards, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award). Familiar received its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre in 2015 and premiered in New York at Playwrights Horizons in 2016. She is a recipient of the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award at the 2016 Drama Desk Awards, a Whiting Award, and a Hodder Fellowship, and she has been commissioned by Yale Rep, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons, and Royal Court Theatre. As an actor, she co-starred in Marvel’s blockbuster phenomenon Black Panther as Okoye, opposite Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, and Lupita Nyong’o, and she stars as Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (NAACP Image Award nomination). Recently, she starred in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me. Her other select acting credits include the films The Visitor and Mother of George, as well as Shakespeare in the Park’s Measure for Measure (Joe A. Callaway Award). Born in the U.S. to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe, she holds an M.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and serves as an ambassador for Bono’s ONE campaign. She is also the founder of LOGpledge.org, an awareness-building campaign focused on the plights of women and girls around the globe; and the co-founder of Almasi Arts, which works to give access and opportunity to the African dramatic artist. almasiartsalliance.org, @danaigurira on Twitter and Instagram, @DanaiGuriraOfficial on Facebook.

Edward Torres (Director) makes his debut in The Old Globe’s proscenium theatre after directing Native Gardens, Water by the Spoonful, and the 2017 Powers New Voices Festival reading of What You Are for the Globe’s in-the-round theatre. He directed the California premiere of The Happiest Song Plays Last (Center Theatre Group/The Los Angeles Theatre Center, also at Goodman Theatre in Chicago), Eric Aviles’s Where You From? What You Be About? (Downtown Art), the world premiere musical La Canción (Repertorio Español; Latin ACE Award for Best Musical, Artistas de Teatro Independiente Award for Best Director), Macbeth (The Public Theater’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit), Mosque Alert (Silk Road Rising), White Tie Ball by Martín Zimmerman (Teatro Vista), and How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence (Steppenwolf for Young Adults). He directed the world premiere of Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Victory Gardens Theater, produced in association with Teatro Vista), which was named Best Play of 2009 by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Time Out Chicago; was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and earned Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production – Play and Best Director – Play. He also directed subsequent productions to critical acclaim at Off Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre (2011 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, Obie Award for Best New American Play) and at Geffen Playhouse. He serves as an Assistant Professor of the Practice in Theater at Wesleyan University, and Artistic Director Emeritus at Teatro Vista. His television credits include “Chicago P.D.,” “Luke Cage,” “The Following,” “The Deuce,” “The Get Down,” “Gotham,” and “The Romanoffs.” As a performer, he was recently seen in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed production of Downstate by Bruce Norris, which will transfer to the National Theatre in London.

Walt Spangler (Scenic Design) designs for theatre, opera, and dance and has created works for nearly every major theatre company across the nation and for many projects around the globe. Based in New York, his designs for Broadway include Escape to Margaritaville, Tuck Everlasting, A Christmas Story, Scandalous, and Desire Under the Elms. Off Broadway he has designed the premieres of many acclaimed new works, including most recently the Pulitzer Prize–winning Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Fabulation by Lynn Nottage, The Medieval Play by Kenneth Lonergan, and The Jacksonian by Beth Henley. waltspangler.com.

Alejo Vietti (Costume Design) designed The Old Globe’s Allegiance, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, Engaging Shaw, and Lost in Yonkers. His Broadway credits include Allegiance (Drama Desk Award nomination), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (West End, Japan, Australia, U.K. tour, and U.S. tours; Olivier Award nomination), and Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical. His Off Broadway credits include Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Atlantic Theater Company, Primary Stages, MCC Theater, The New Group, Irish Repertory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Soho Rep., Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes, and City Center Encores!, among others. Mr. Vietti has designed regionally for La Jolla Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Pasadena Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Guthrie Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Goodspeed Musicals, The 5th Avenue Theatre, and others. His international credits include Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Japan and Germany), Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Ukraine’s Donetsk Opera. His select opera credits include Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. He has also worked with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Mr. Vietti is a recipient of Theatre Development Fund’s 2010 Irene Sharaff Young Master Award. alejo_vietti_costume_design on Instagram.

Jason Lyons (Lighting Design) previously designed Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood!, Red Velvet, Macbeth, and Love’s Labor’s Lost at the Globe. His Broadway credits include Hand to God, On the Town, Bronx Bombers, Let It Be, Bring It On: The Musical, Rock of Ages (as well as the Vegas, Toronto, Australia, London, and national tours), The Threepenny Opera, Barefoot in the Park, and Good Vibrations. His recent credits include Clueless, The Musical (The New Group), Oklahoma! (Theatre Under The Stars), Sugar in Our Wounds, Linda, Important Hats of the 20th Century, and The Commons of Pensacola (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Honeymooners (Paper Mill Playhouse), Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Born for This (Arena Stage), Kings, Dry Powder, and Barbecue (The Public Theater), Crazy for You, Jesus Christ Superstar, La Cage aux Folles, and West Side Story (Signature Theatre Company), Smart People and Murder for Two (Second Stage Theatre), Heathers: The Musical (New World Stages), and All in the Timing (Primary Stages). Mr. Lyons has received the Joseph Jefferson Award, Helen Hayes Award, and Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design. jasonlyonsdesign.com, @jasonlyonsdesign.

Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (Sound Design) have many Broadway credits to their names, including music composition and sound for No Man’s Land & Waiting for Godot, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Miracle Worker, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Speed of Darkness; music for My Thing of Love;sound for Sweat, Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, This Is Our Youth, Of Mice and Men, A Year with Frog and Toad, King Hedley II; and Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Broadway productions of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Superior Donuts, Buried Child, The Song of Jacob Zulu, and The Grapes of Wrath. Their Off Broadway credits include music and sound for The True, Gently Down the Stream, Guards at the Taj, Sticks and Bones, Checkers, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Boy Gets Girl, Red, Space, and Marvin’s Room; sound for Good for Otto, The Spoils, Brundibar, and Jitney;and music direction and sound for Ruined. They have created music and sound at many of America’s resident theatres and at several international venues. milbomusic.com.

Somi (Composer), an acclaimed vocalist and composer, was born in Illinois to immigrants from Uganda and Rwanda. She is known for her wide-ranging vocal technique, her original blend of modern jazz and African musics, and the innate poetry of her songwriting that often gives voice to issues of social justice, transnationalism, womanhood, and global constructions of Blackness. Her latest recording, Petite Afrique (Sony Music/OKeh Records), marks her sixth release. Recently winning a 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album, it is a timely song cycle about the dignity of immigrants and the gentrification of Harlem’s vibrant West African quarter. Her guest collaborators on her albums include Common, Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela, and Aloe Blacc. She is a TED Senior Fellow, a 2018 Doris Duke Fellow, an inaugural Association of Performing Arts Professionals Fellow, and a former Artist-in-Residence at Park Avenue Armory, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. She is currently touring internationally with her band, and last year she premiered her modern-jazz play about the legendary singer-activist Miriam Makeba. In her heart of hearts, she is an East African Midwestern girl who loves family, poetry, and freedom.

Rufaro Gwarada (Cultural Consultant) is a diaspora African committed to migrant rights, gender justice, and the advancement of African-led solutions for Africans. She is currently the Director of Cultural Strategies at Power California, formerly Mobilize the Immigrant Vote and YVote. Ms. Gwarada co-founded ThriveAfrica.us, a giving circle for and by African immigrants and refugees in the United States, and she sits on the board of Priority Africa Network. She is a Movement Maker at Move to End Violence and a 2016 Citizenship Fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She previously was content developer and editor of Africa Speaks 4 Africa, an online magazine that lifts up and advances African perspectives on key cultural, socioeconomic, and political issues. Ms. Gwarada is also a writer whose fiction, poetry, and commentary investigate gender, power, and familial dynamics inspired by her homeland, Zimbabwe. She holds a master’s degree in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies at University of Sussex.

Nathan C. Crocker (Voice and Dialect Coach) is a professional actor, teacher, and dialect coach based in the New York City area. Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he holds an M.F.A. in Acting from University of California, Irvine and a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is currently the speech professor at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts for its Arts B.F.A./M.F.A. Acting Conservatory. He has taught vocal production for the Atlantic Theater Company/New York University B.F.A. acting program, and voice and speech for The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and New York Film Academy. His voice, speech, and dialect coaching credits include Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations (pre-Broadway), Othello and Henry VI, Part I (Utah Shakespeare Festival), Detroit ’67 (Chautauqua Theater Company), Too Heavy for Your Pocket (Roundabout Theatre Company), Passion Play (Summer Rep Theatre Festival), and The Laramie Project, Parade, and Blues for Mister Charlie (Marymount Manhattan College). Mr. Crocker’s also directed A Raisin in the Sun (Summer Rep). His acting credits include Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Angels in America, The Piano Lesson, Company, Othello,and The Taming of the Shrew, working at such companies as American Shakespeare Center, North Carolina Stage Company, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Theatreworks USA, and Summer Rep. Mr. Crocker is a Certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework, and a Certified Teacher of Knight-Thompson Speechwork.

Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) has cast for The Old Globe for the past five seasons, including Barefoot in the Park, Native Gardens, The Wanderers, The Importance of Being Earnest, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and Skeleton Crew. Their Broadway casting credits include The Waverly Gallery, The Boys in the Band, Three Tall Women, Saint Joan, Junk, Meteor Shower, A Doll’s House Part 2, The Front Page, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Glass Menagerie, Jitney, The Little Foxes, The Father, Blackbird, An Act of God, Airline Highway, Fish in the Dark, It’s Only a Play, Disgraced, Holler If Ya Hear Me, Casa Valentina, The Snow Geese, Orphans, The Trip to Bountiful, Grace, Dead Accounts, The Other Place, Seminar, The Columnist, Stick Fly, Good People, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The House of Blue Leaves, Fences, Lend Me a Tenor, and The Royal Family. They also cast for Manhattan Theatre Club, Atlantic Theater Company, Signature Theatre Company, LCT3, Ars Nova, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, and Arena Stage, among others. Their film and television credits include HairBrained with Brendan Fraser, “New Amsterdam” (NBC), “American Odyssey” (NBC), “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC pilot), “Ironside” (NBC), and Steel Magnolias (Sony for Lifetime).

Jess Slocum (Production Stage Manager) previously worked on the Globe productions of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!; Much Ado About Nothing; Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night (Globe for All); Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood!; The Imaginary Invalid; Red Velvet; Picasso at the Lapin Agile; Love’s Labor’s Lost; tokyo fish story; The Metromaniacs; In Your Arms; Twelfth Night; Buyer & Cellar; Bright Star; Othello; Water by the Spoonful; The Winter’s Tale; A Doll’s House; Pygmalion; A Room with a View; Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show; the 2011–2013 Shakespeare Festivals; Rafta, Rafta…; Robin and the 7 Hoods; Alive and Well; Sammy; Cornelia; Since Africa;and The Glass Menagerie. Her Broadway credits include In the Heights. Her regional credits include Noura (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Indecent, Side Show, Ruined, The Third Story, Memphis,and Most Wanted (La Jolla Playhouse), and Post Office (Center Theatre Group). She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Events

Welcome to Zim!
An introduction to Zimbabwe's history and culture

Cultural Consultant Rufaro Gwarada, who worked on The Old Globe’s production of Danai Gurira’s Familiar, will introduce audiences to the culture, language, and history of Zimbabwe. She will also talk about the work of a cultural consultant in the theatre and the rehearsal process for the play. Wine and a taste of East African food provided. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Saturday, January 26 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Vicki and Carl Zeiger Insights Seminars

This series provides Old Globe patrons with an opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatre going experience. Each Insights Seminar takes place 90 minutes before curtain time on the Tuesday after performances begin, and includes an informal reception 30 minutes before the start. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

 

Post-Show Forums

Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast members. Get the "inside story" on creating a character and putting together a professional production. Post-show forums are scheduled after select Tuesday and Wednesday evening performances. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

 

Subject Matters

Explore the ideas and issues raised by a production through brief, illuminating post-show discussions with local experts, such as scientists, artists, historians and scholars. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play's concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! Subject Matters discussions follow select Saturday matinee performances. FREE; no reservations necessary.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Reviews

“Whip-smart and extravagantly entertaining! Exquisitely acted – a whole lot of laughs, suspense, and thoughtful provocation.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“The production couldn’t be better! The cast is outstanding, under the incisive direction of Edward Torres.” —Times of San Diego

“Plenty of deep-textured, hard-won hope. I’m definitely ready to see more from this author!” —San Diego Story

“Should leave audiences well satisfied! Director Edward Torres manages both the play’s humor and its catharsis well.” —Talkin’ Broadway