Mansoor Najee-ullah, the director
Woodie King Jr’s New Federal Theatre (NFT) kicked off its 44th season with a revival of Ed Bullins’ In The Wine Time, featuring Sandra Reaves-Phillips and directed by Mansoor Najee-ullah, on October 25 at the Castillo Theater, located at 543 West 42nd Street.
Opening night for In The Wine Time is November 7 and the show runs through November 24.
In The Wine Time is the first play of NFT’s “The Ed Bullins Project”–two revivals from the award-winning playwright’s “Twentieth Century Cycle of Plays.” In April 2014, NFT will produce Bullins’ The Fabulous Miss Marie.
In The Wine Time features Sandra Reaves-Phillips (Rollin’ On The T.O.B.A, Lean on Me, ‘Round Midnight), Richard Brundage, Angelique Chapman, Khadim Diop, Matthew Faroul, Lindsay Finnie, Harrison Lee, Catherine Peoples, Shirlene Victoria Quigley, Kim Sullivan, Eddie Wardel, and Eboni Witcher. In The Wine Time scenic design is by Tony Davidson, lighting design by Shirley Prendergast, costume design by Ali Turns and sound design by Sean O’Halloran.
“It’s been over 25 years since In The Wine Time and The Fabulous Miss Marie were revived,” says producer Woodie King. “I met Ed Bullins on his arrival in New York in the mid-sixties. I loved his work and introduced his plays to The American Place Theater. I produced The Gentleman Caller as part of my Off-Broadway producing debut in 1968.”
In The Wine Time is considered one of the cornerstone dramas of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It originally premiered in New York in 1968 and is set in a 1950s northern industrial city. The drama develops around Ray, Lou and Cliff, who are linked by blood, law, friendship, laughter and dreams. An explosive event happens that changes their lives. In the Wine Time marks Bullins’ first successful use of music as a dramatic element. In the 1970s, Clive Barnes, the New York Times theatre critic observed: “Bullins writes the way Charlie Parker played: It is all so easy and effortless. It sounds improvised, and yet it doesn’t sound improvised, simply because it is the improvisation of formality.”
Today, Bullins is regarded as a seminal force in the American theater. He is considered one of the most prolific and influential playwrights of the Black Arts Movement. Winner of the prestigious NY Drama Critics’ Circle Award and OBIE Award for The Taking of Miss Janie, he has greatly influenced American theatre, especially Black theatre. He is the author of more than 100 plays that have been produced throughout the United States and Europe. Bullins has received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award, the Drama Prize at the Venice Biennale Arts Festival, an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Columbia College, three OBIE Awards, two Guggenheim fellowships, three Rockefeller Foundation Playwriting grants, several Audelco Awards and three NEA playwriting grants.
“Ed Bullins is one of Black Theater’s finest playwrights. I’ve produced 9 of Ed Bullins’ plays since 1968. In The Wine Time and The Fabulous Miss Marie are classics,” adds King, who collaborated with Bullins on the books Black Drama Anthology, Voices of Color and Black Story Anthology. Bullins was featured in King’s milestone 1969 production Black Quartet, a series of four one-act plays by dramatists of the Black Arts movement.
“The impact of The Black Arts Movement encompassed and was fed by The New Black Poet, The Black Theatre, The Black Aesthetics, and The Black Power Movement,” King says.
For more information and to purchase tickets for In The Wine Time, please visit www.newfederaltheatre.com or call NFT at (212) 353-1176.