Daniel Beaty's The Tallest Tree, a Portrait of Paul Robeson, Will Take Root in La Jolla; Moisés Kaufman To Direct
By Kenneth Jones
La Jolla Playhouse will present the world premiere of The Tallest Tree, a new play with music about the performer and civil rights icon Paul Robeson, written and performed by Daniel Beaty, directed by Moisés Kaufman, in fall 2013.
The co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre will appear in the Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, in La Jolla, CA, Oct. 9-Nov. 3. The piece is produced in association with Tectonic Theater Project.
Beaty is known for Emergency and Through the Night. Kaufman directed I Am My Own Wife and The Laramie Project, the latter a work created by Tectonic Theater Project.
According to La Jolla Playhouse notes, "As an internationally-renowned vocalist and star of stage and screen, Paul Robeson was one of the best known African American artists in the world in the early 20th century. Through his singing and acting talent, he became enormously popular and wealthy; but as a champion for human rights, he became despised by his people and his country. Featuring excerpts from some of Robeson's signature songs, including 'Ol' Man River' and 'Steal Away,' The Tallest Tree showcases award-winning playwright and performer Daniel Beaty in a stunning piece that explores the bold choices that defined Robeson's remarkable life."
Beaty is an award-winning actor, singer, writer and composer whose acclaimed solo play Through the Night, produced by Daryl Roth, had an extended run Off-Broadway. For this production Beaty received 2011 Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. Through the Night also received the 2010 AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and the 2010 Ovation Award for Best Male Lead Actor. His critically-acclaimed solo play, Emergence-See!, ran Off-Broadway in a sold-out, extended run at The Public Theater in fall 2006. For this production, he received the 2007 Obie Award for Excellence in Off-Broadway Theater for Writing and Performing and the 2007 AUDELCO Award for Solo Performance.
In spring 2008, Emergence-See!, now re-titled Emergency, had a sold-out, seven-week engagement at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and was awarded two 2009 NAACP Theater Awards, including Best Actor. He holds a B.A. with Honors in English and Music from Yale University and an M.F.A. in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre.
His ensemble play, Resurrection, received its world premiere at Arena Stage in August 2008 (where he was awarded the 2008 Edgerton Foundation's New American Play Award); followed by engagements at Hartford Stage, Philadelphia Theatre Company and ETA Theater in Chicago. His new solo play, Mr. Joy, appeared at the Riverside Theatre in May 2012. In the upcoming season, his ensemble musical, Breath & Imagination – The Story of Roland Hayes, will premiere as a co-production with Hartford Stage and Pittsburgh's City Theater. Beaty is a member of New Dramatists. Follow him at DanielBeaty.com.
Tickets to the 2013-14 La Jolla season are available only through a subscription purchase by calling the Patron Services Office at (858) 550-1010 or online at LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
As previously announced, La Jolla Playhouse's 2013-2014 season will also include His Girl Friday (Mandell Weiss Theatre, May 28-June 30), adapted by John Guare from the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur play The Front Page and the Howard Hawks film "His Girl Friday," directed by Christopher Ashley; Tribes (Mandell Weiss Forum, June 25-July 21) by Nina Raine, directed by David Cromer; Sideways (Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, July 16-Aug. 18), by Rex Pickett, directed by Des McAnuff; and a re-imagined production of the Tony Award-nominated musical Side Show (Mandell Weiss Theatre, Nov. 5-Dec. 15), music by Henry Krieger, book and lyrics by Bill Russell and directed by Academy Award-winner Bill Condon, produced in association with The Kennedy Center.
The final 2013-14 season production will be announced at a later date.
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