Hamilton Dramaturgy's TheatreNow!


Kamilah Forbes, Assistant Director on Broadway

Congratulations to Kamilah Forbes, who served as the first guest of Season Two on TheatreNow! She is serving as Assistant Director of the Broadway production of THE MOUNTAINTOP by Katori Hall, starring Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson. Brava!



Acceptance Speeches by Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow
Here is a message from Yvette and Yvonne, partners at Twinbiz, and the subjects of TheatreNow! Season One, Episode Seven, describing their experience receiving a national award for their producing work. These groundbreaking and multitalented artists have been recognized for their innovation.

From Yvette and Yvonne:On August 1, 2011, with 25+ productions under our belt, Yvette and I received the first ever National Black Theatre Festival ‘Emerging Producer’ Awardin its 22 year history. It was amazing being in the company of, and honored alongside, the best of the best African American producers, performers, designers, playwrights, directors, philanthropists, humanitarians, living legends and stars of stage and screen.

For our colleagues, friends, family and patrons unable to attend, we’d like to share our acceptance speeches and express our love and gratitude to YOU for all your support over the years.

Yvonne & Yvette

Yvonne’s Acceptance Speech
Y and Y at NBTFThank you, Mrs. Hamlin, co-directors, the board, staff, volunteers and supporters of the National Black Theatre Festval.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then producing is her second born.
Producing for Twinbiz first began out of necessity – Yvette and I getting our works done by any means necessary – and grew into a craft we love and are empowered by.
To artists everywhere, I say: Don’t sit around praying to God, hoping someone will produce your work. Spirit can only do for you what it can do thorough you. With God as your ‘silent’ partner, know that you are equipped and well able.
I’d especially like to thank my partner and twin sister, Yvette Heyliger, without whom Twinbiz would not exist; my husband, Larry Farrow (aka Piano Man Productions), who has supported many of our projects both financially and through his music; my mentor, Steve Duncan, a television writer/producer and creator of the hit show, Tour of Duty, who taught me the craft of screen writing, pitching and the art of the deal; publicist and producer, the late Gay Iris Parker who believed in our first major production, Homegirl, which became our first prouction here at the NBTF.
And finally to Larry Leon Hamlin, who over the years, would pick up the phone to call me in LA just to say hi, chat about the industry, or check in with how Twinbiz was doing. Life is spirit. Spirit is eternal. Thank you, Mr. Hamlin.

 

Yvette’s Acceptance Speech
Women playwrights  receive less than 20% of production opportunities in the American Theatre nationwide.  Women  playwrights of color receive even less than half of that, somewhere around 7% and as low as  1%.So what  to do?  The answer to that question  is what makes the Emerging Producer Award so important.In 2001  Yvonne and I were the new kids on the block.  Larry Leon gave a woman playwright,  yours truly, and two women producers a shot on his national stage alongside  well-established theatre companies, not once but four times!Thank  you to Larry Leon for making this day possible; to Lawrence Evans who introduced  Twinbiz to the festival; to Sylvia, Mable and Gerry for ensuring this great  legacy continues for future generations of producers and theatre artists.  Thank you to Voza Rivers and Woodie  King, Jr. who have provided Twinbiz with advice on producing over the years; to  my sister and partner Yvonne, her husband Larry, and my  husband Donald.And  finally, thank you to fellow honoree, Samm-Art Williams who encouraged me to  write my first play and started me on this  journey.

About the NBTF’s Emerging Producer Award
The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin, has been held biennially since 1989. The event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem. Approximately 35 companies are selected to perform during the week for a total of over 100 performances.
The NBTF Emerging Producer Award was created to celebrate the achievements of rising theatrical producers, to encourage their continued growth in the industry, and to bring about the awareness of the need to both reach back to acknowledge those independent producers who have been in the trenches presenting work “by any means necessary,” as well as to inspire and raise-up new producers of color. This award ensures the health, longevity and future of Black Theatre, work for its theatre artists, and the continued inclusion of black plays in the canon of American Theatre. For more information visit www.nbtf.org.

 



Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow Win Emerging Producers Award

Winners of the National Black Theatre Festival's Emerging Producer Award

Congratulations, TheatreNow! guests Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow.

As Twinbiz™ partners (twins in the business), they have been selected to receive the inaugural National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award. The festival, which showcases outstanding Black Theatre from around the country, will be held August 1 – 6, 2011 in Winston-Salem, NC. The twins will be presented with this honor at the Opening Night Gala Awards Banquet on August 1st.

The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin, has been held biennially since 1989. The event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem. Approximately 35 companies are selected to perform during the week for a total of over 100 performances. For more information and to buy tickets visit http://www.nbtf.org.

The NBTF Emerging Producer Award was created to celebrate the achievements of rising theatrical producers, to encourage their continued growth in the industry, and to bring about the awareness of the need to both reach back to acknowledge those independent producers who have been in the trenches presenting work “by any means necessary,” as well as to inspire and raise-up new producers of color. This award ensures the health, longevity and future of Black Theatre, work for its theatre artists, and the continued inclusion of black plays in the canon of American Theatre.

The twins have been “producing coast to coast” for over twenty years. The TheatreNow! interview revealed the creative process of WWDJ?, written and directed by Yvette, and starring Yvonne.

For a full press release, contact Yvette at twinbiznyc@aol.com



TheatreNow! Podcast of Kamilah Forbes Now Playing

Kamilah Forbes is an award-winning theatre artist and the Artistic Director of the Hip Hop Theatre Festival.

Listen to her speak about her early influences, experience, and artistic process.

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! Interview with Kamilah Forbes

Please also visit her websites at www.kffproductions.com and  www.hhtf.org



Yvette Heyliger’s WWJD? Wins 7 Audelco Awards

Yvette Heyliger and her twin sister Yvonne Farrow appeared as guests on TheatreNow! (Season One). Yvette has won Audelco Awards for Best Playwright, and Dramatic Production of the Year. Yvonne won for Best Lead Actress.

Here is an excerpt from BACKSTAGE (November 17, 2010). The article is by Diep Tran.

“What Would Jesus Do?” was the question of the night at the 38th Annual Vivian Robinson-Audelco Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre.

“Jesus,” a play about HIV/AIDS written by Yvette Heyliger, took home seven awards, including dramatic production of the year. Close behind it was “Langston in Harlem,” receiving four awards, including musical production of the year.

The event took place at the Harlem Stage Aaron Davis Hall on Monday night. The ceremony began at 7:30 p.m. with an opening performance of “We Are Family” by Impact Repertory Theatre, in accordance with the evening’s theme.

Toni Deniece Seawright, a cast member of “What Would Jesus Do,” who also led the cast performance of the lead song from the play, felt the evening helped spread Heyliger’s message about HIV/AIDS awareness.

“I am so excited for Yvette, she’s been trying so hard to get our message across to the masses…I think tonight she accomplished that,” she said. “Now, she can put that show up anywhere she wants to and people will take notice of it.”

Thadius Daniels, a member of the Black Gents of Hollywood, who also won an Outstanding Pioneer Award, felt the evening was significant for its emphasis on black theater and on dialogue.

“[The Adelco Awards are] significant because it gives us a chance to honor what we do,” he said. “To have something to say is very important…and we have to continue to tell our stories and have venues to tell our stories and the Adelco Awards…is a continuation of honoring that tradition.”

List of awards and their recipients (Edited) :

Set Design –Patrice Davidson for “What Would Jesus Do?”

Playwright – Yvette Heyliger for “What Would Jesus Do?”

Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Production – Jamil A.C. Mangan for “What Would Jesus Do?”

Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Production – Johnnie Mae for “What Would Jesus Do?”

Lead Actor – Jerome Preston Bates for “What Would Jesus Do?”

Lead Actress – Yvonne Farrow for “What Would Jesus Do?”

Dramatic Production of the Year – “What Would Jesus Do?”

Congratulations!



Yvette Heyliger’s WWJD? Nominated for 9 Audelco Awards

Twin sisters Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow capped off Season One of TheatreNow! with a two-part interview. Each spoke about her own artistic path, and also their forays into collaboration with one another.

In the Spring, Yvette’s play WWJD? enjoyed a sold-out run at the Billie Holliday Theatre in Brooklyn. Yvonne starred in the show. We’ve just learned that WWJD? has been nominated for nine Audelco Awards.

Congratulations! You can learn more about Yvette and Yvonne’s artistry at http://www.twinbiz.com.



TheatreNow! Interview – Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow (Twinbiz) – Parts I and II

TheatreNow!’s newest podcast features twin sisters whose artistry encompasses practically every talent needed to succeed in show business. Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow are founders of Twinbiz,  a company whose mission is to write, direct and produce original works for stage, television and film. The interview was recorded on May 30, 2010, a few days after Yvette received her M.F.A. in playwrighting from Queens College in New York City.

Please listen to their interview, in two parts, of course, on my companion blog, hamiltondramaturgy.wordpress.com.

Yvette Heyliger is a playwright, a director and a producing artist based in New York City.  She is currently editing a book of her own plays, entitled, What A Piece of Work Is Man!: Plays for Leading Women.

Yvonne Farrow is an actress, writer, filmmaker, model, and choralographer. She is based in Los Angeles. She wrote, produced, co-directed and starred in the award-winning short film I’d Rather Be Dancing. Please visit her website at www.gotchoralography.com

The twins often collaborate. Yvonne starred in Yvette’s award-winning play WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?, which completed a sold out run at the Billie Holliday Theatre in Brooklyn this Spring. It is a fearless drama which explores the impact of HIV/AIDS on the African-American community. You can reach them through www.twinbiz.com

Anne interviewed Yvette and Yvonne in May.

CORRECTION: Please note that Danai Gurira is the actor and writer’s name. I pronounced it incorrectly in the segment. -Anne

Anne Hamilton, Dramaturg and Playwright. www.hamiltonlit.com hamiltonlit@hotmail.com

TheatreNow! Staff: Anne Hamilton, Producer and Host; Linsey Bostwick, Editor