Seattle, WA (January 5, 2021) — Last month, Seattle Rep announced its exciting new program Plays in Process, a virtual series that offers audiences guided and rare exposure to the raw, behind-the-scenes collaborative process of creating a play, featuring new works on the horizon at Seattle Rep. At the end of this month, Seattle Rep’s first Plays in Process presentation will feature Fannie, a play by award-winning local playwright Cheryl L. West, featuring music direction and arrangements by Felton Offard, and acclaimed actor E. Faye Butler, recently named “Chicagoan of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune. Plays in Process full series passes, as well as single tickets to this first installment, are on sale now at SeattleRep.org.
Fannie is a captivating call to action and look at the impassioned freedom fighter, Fannie Lou Hamer, who became one of the most powerful female voices of the civil and voting rights movements. The play is currently in development and is a co-commission with the Goodman Theatre, where it was recently announced as part of the 2021 Season line-up. In response to the pandemic-related theater shutdowns of 2020, the Goodman collaborated with the Chicago Park District to adapt Fannie for a series of outdoor productions throughout the city and beyond. DC Theatre Scene called the outdoor production of this abridged version of Fannie—titled Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It!—“soul stirring,” and the Chicago Tribune described E. Faye Butler’s performance as “utterly unstoppable.”
Butler’s career spans over 40 years; she has performed and directed both musicals and plays in theaters across the country and internationally. She has won many awards for her work including nine Joseph Jefferson Awards, two Helen Hayes Awards, four Black Theatre Alliance Awards, an Ovation Award, Sarah Siddons Leading Lady Award, Excellence in the Arts, R.A.M.I. Award, Two Black Excellence Awards, and many others. Seattle Rep audiences know Butler from her stand-out performance in Cheryl L. West’s Pullman Porter Blues in 2012.
After months of development, the creative team and cast of this highly anticipated new musical play will continue their work, offering audiences a window into the process of adapting and refining this captivating story.
“We are a nation bereft of hope. The play, which speaks to Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and mission, is a testament to hope renewed. It is my hope that her words will continue to inspire and remind us that we are one United States of America,” West said.
The Plays in Process five-part series pass is now available to purchase at the suggested price of $75. A single ticket to the Fannie presentation is also available now for the suggested price of $20. Other individual event tickets will go on sale in the coming weeks. Reservations are required for these events and pay what you choose options are available. Purchase your pass today at SeattleRep.org.
ABOUT CHERYL L. WEST (Playwright)
Cheryl L. West’s plays have been seen in England, Off-Broadway, on Broadway (Play On!), and in numerous regional theaters including Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Rep, Arena Stage, Old Globe, Goodman Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theatre Festival, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, South Coast Rep, Merrimack, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Off‐Broadway’s Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, Atlantic Theater Company, and Primary Stages. Her plays include: Fannie; Shout Sister Shout!; Last Stop on Market Street; The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963; Akeelah and the Bee; Pullman Porter Blues; Motherhood Out Loud (co-author); Addie, American Girl Story (21-city tour); and Jar the Floor. She has written TV and film projects at Disney, Paramount, MTV Films, Showtime, TNT, HBO, CBS, and is the Webby-nominated writer for the original web series "Diary of a Single Mom." Ms. West is currently working on commissions for Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and Seattle Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Minneapolis Children’s Theater, and Seattle Children’s Theatre.
ABOUT SEATTLE REP
Seattle Rep puts theater at the heart of public life. Founded in 1963 and winner of the 1990 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Seattle Rep is currently led by Artistic Director Braden Abraham and Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann. Over a season and throughout the year, Seattle Rep collaborates with extraordinary artists to create productions and programs that reflect and elevate the diverse cultures, perspectives, and life experiences of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Rep’s nationally recognized programs include the New Play Program, Seattle Rep’s Public Works, the August Wilson Monologue Competition, Pay What You Choose ticketing options, and numerous audience enrichment and engagement opportunities including post-play panels, discussions, and community events and presentations.
Seattle Rep has always been committed to supporting new work from playwrights, directors, composers, and more. Through commissions and its new play development lab, The Other Season, Seattle Rep offers artists the resources they need to bring the next great play to life. Recent and notable commissions that have been produced on Seattle Rep’s stages include Pullman Porter Blues, Lizard Boy, The Great Society, The Great Wilderness, and the adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. The commission projects announced today represent the largest, most sustainable, consistent, and robust commissioning program the organization has ever committed to.
Seattle Rep’s artistic staff reads material for consideration from a variety of sources including agent recommendations, colleague theater seasons, the Kilroys List, and more. Seattle Rep is dedicated to considering work by BIPOC and female identifying/trans/non-binary artists and commits to that work representing at least half of the scripts read by our season planning committee. All artists selected for commissioning programs are committed to Seattle Rep’s racial equity policies as part of their commission partnership.