Hamilton Dramaturgy's TheatreNow!


Congratulations to Season One Guest Yvette Heyliger, who continues to perform her one woman show BRIDGE TO BARAKA. Catch her in NY or LA. Yvette completed an MFA in Playwrighting from Queens College a couple of years ago, and has returned to the stage as well as continuing as an active producer.

Yvette Heyliger on stage

1 More Show in NY for Black History Month
1 Show in LA for Women’s History Month

Playwright/actor Yvette Heyliger is pleased to announce that during Back History Month she will be performing 30 minutes of her solo show, Bridge to Baraka, directed by Mario Giacalone in John Chatterton’s Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival. The remaining show is on Sunday, February 24th @ 4:15pm, Roy Arias Theatre, 300 West 43rd Street # 402 (at 8th Avenue). Tickets are $13.00. Click here to purchase your tickets today! A Talk back with the playwright following the show can be arranged upon request

Emboldened by the 1960’s Black Arts Movement, Yvette X stakes her claim as a female dramatist coming of age during the ongoing fight for parity in the American Theatre. Bridge to Baraka is Yvette’s first one-woman show and marks her return to performing since appearing on the NBC hit, Cosby Show. Martin Denton, nytheatre.com critic, said, “Heyliger has clearly carved out a successful life for herself since then as actor and then playwright/activist (she’s a notable campaigner for parity for women playwrights on the American stage).”

During Women’s History Month, Yvette is pleased to announce that she will be heading to the West Coast to perform Bridge to Baraka in the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. The show will be at the Renberg Theater on Friday, March 22nd @ 8pm. For tickets and information visit http://www.lawtf.org.

Photo by Miriam Berkley

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Program

TheatreNow! guests Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow continue their involvement in groundbreaking grassroots theatre and community programs. Here is a recent press release from their creation, the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Program

Awareness & Prevention through “Edutainment”

A Free Community Event!

LOS ANGELES, CA – Friday, February 10, 2012

In the spirit of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), four important community organizations have joined efforts to mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Twinbiz, I Choose Life, the African American Cultural Center and the Senut Sisterhood.The program is a free event that will take place at the African American Cultural Center, 3018 West 48thStreet, Los Angeles, CA 90043, Friday February 10, 2012 at 7:00PM. This Ujima Event is not just for those who may be afflicted with the virus. It is for anyone who wants to live a pro-active, health-conscious life. The program offers to the community HIV awareness and prevention through the power of “edutainment”.

The NBH/A Awareness Day program will begin at 6:30PM with a Community Reception hosted by the Senut Sisterhood whose Chair, Chimbuko Tembo, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. The Senut Sisterhood is dedicated to social service and social action focusing on providing programs to support young girls and women of the African American community.

At 7:00PM the program will begin with a Reading of Excerpts from Yvette Heyliger’s “What Would Jesus Do?” winner of multiple AUDELCO Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre. A tragic, yet humorous play about family, church, sex and HIV. The cast includes Debi Anderson, Adilah Barnes, Lynne Conner, Yvonne Farrow, Danielle Green, Andre Henry, Stevie Mack, Iona Morris, Michael A. Shepperd, John Wesley and Emily Yancy, live music by Larry Farrow.

This year’s play reading is in honor the Second Annual National Black HIV/AIDS Theater Initiative: Produce A Play/Save A Life! Its purpose is to inspire and enlist playwrights, producers, actors, presenting organizations and churches to write, read or produce at least one play a season in Black theatres, churches, youth and senior centers, high schools, colleges, prisons and living rooms across America until this preventable disease, where Blacks continue to account for more than half the nation’s new infection rates, is eradicated.  In 2011 the NBH/A Theatre Initiative kicked off with a Resolution from the City of Los Angeles.  Of this theater ministry Yvonne Farrow of Twinbiz states, “If we don’t deal with this epidemic today, there may not be anyone around to celebrate Black History Month tomorrow.”

Furthering the idea that theatre can be used to illumine critical issues in the community through edutainment, Tony Wafford, President/CEO, I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center, will present a Response & Update with special guest speaker Jo Valentine, MSW, Associate Director for Health Equity, Division of STD Prevention, NCHHSTP, who will respond to the material presented, as well as give updates on the current status of HIV/AIDS, prevention and treatment. Support materials with further information and testing will be provided.

Rounding out the program, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (Us), and Creator of Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba (from which the third principle, Ujima comes), will give a framework in which to best understand, appreciate and utilize all of the material that has been presented through open dialogue entitled, Conversation in Community, and bring to realization the year round practice of Ujima, Collective Work and Responsibility, “to build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.”  Also serving on the Q&A panel are Valentine, Wafford, Tembo and Farrow. For more information, or to get directions to the African American Cultural Center call 323.299.6124.

Yvonne Farrow Named to Board of LAWTF

Congratulations to Season One guest Yvonne Farrow, who is based in Los Angeles.Yvonne Farrow is the newest member of the Board of Directors at the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival where she was recently elected Sergeant of Arms.LAWTF is currently gearing up for their exciting 19th Annual Festival from March 22-25, 2012 at the Electric Lodge located at 1416 Electric Lodge, Venice, CA.

Yvonne is a producing artist and co-partner in the production company, Twinbiz. With twenty-five plus productions under their belts, Yvonne was awarded the first ever Emerging Producer Award at the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival with partner, Yvette Heyliger.

In February 2011, Twinbiz launched its annual National Black HIV/AIDS Theatre Initiative, commemorated with a Resolution from the City of Los Angeles. Also an award-winning actress, producer, filmmaker, choralographer and Metaphysical Minster, Farrow has a wealth of experience from which to pull in service to the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival and is very much looking forward to her tenure there.

The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival empowers women artists to engage and inspire communities through the production of multidisciplinary solo performances and educational outreach. The annual Festival honors and celebrates the achievements of extraordinary women in theatre. For more information visit www.lawtf.com.

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! 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