December 26, 2013
LAWT News Service
The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director and Elizabeth Doran, Executive Director) announced Academy Award and Emmy nominee Taraji P. Henson (“Person of Interest” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) will star as “Jane” in the World Premiere of “Above the Fold,” the fourth production of its 2013 – 2014 Season. Written by Bernard Weinraub and directed by Steven Robman, ATF tells the story of Jane, an African-American newspaper reporter from New York, who flies to a Southern university where three white fraternity boys have been accused of raping a young African-American woman.
Taking place amidst the shift from print to digital journalism ATF asks tough questions about the exploitation of tragedy, the cost of success and the dangers that come when ambition collides with truth.
The cast of ATF will feature Kristi Johnson, who returns to The Pasadena Playhouse in the role of “Monique” after starring in the Playhouse productions of Jitney and Intimate Apparel. Johnson’s television credits include “Hart of Dixie,” “General Hospital,” and “House M.D.”
The cast also features Arye Gross as “Marvin,” who is currently performing in “Parfumerie” at The Wallis in Beverly Hills. Gross is also a series regular on ABC’s “Castle” and was a series regular on “The Ellen Show.” Kris Higgins appears as “Victor”. Higgins’s television credits include “Secret Life of the American Teenager ,“NCIS,” and “Cold Case.” Mark Hildreth, a series regular on “Resurrection” will play the role of “Lorne”. Joe Massingill , whose credits include series regular on “Hart of Dixie,” and roles in “Epic” and “Trouble With The Curve will play the role of“Bobby”and Seamus Mulcahy, whose credits include “Killing Lincoln” and “One Fall” will play the role of “Eric”.
Sheldon Epps, artistic director of The Pasadena Playhouse, says, "I am tremendously excited about mounting the first production of this play which we developed in our Hothouse series. The play is timely, resonant, hard hitting, and surprising. Bernie writes of a world that he knows very well, so it provides a fascinating insider's look at the intricacies and the sometimes dangerous aspects of the world of journalism. It is always a challenging pleasure to help give birth to new work and I look forward to both the process and to what I know will be the exciting rewards of having this play on our stage."
“If you've ever wondered how much a news story is affected by the whims and biases of even the most scrupulous reporter, check out this play,” said Robman
“All the actors, led by Taraji, give such depth and meaning to their roles. They're supremely talented. And I'm deeply grateful to every one of them,” added Weinraub
Henson earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress opposite Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She is a 2011 Emmy nominee for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for Lifetime’s Taken From Me. She starred as Detective Joss Carter in the highly rated J.J. Abrams crime drama Person of Interest for CBS opposite Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. Henson starred in the major hit Think Like a Man, which opened #1 at the box office and just completed Think Like a Man Too. She will next star in Sony’s No Good Deed opposite Idris Elba which opens in September 2014.
ATF will play January 28 – February 23, 2014. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
December 19, 2013
By Kam Williams
LAWT Contributing Writer
Angell Conwell was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina on August 2, 1983, but raised in nearby Columbia. At 17, she made her big screen debut in the gritty, John Singleton drama Baby Boy opposite Tyrese, Taraji P. Henson and Snoop Dogg.
She followed that outing with well-received supporting roles in such feature films as The Wash, Soul Plane and 24 Hour Love. More recently, Angell enjoyed a starring role on the TV-One hit series “Family Time” with Omar Gooding, as well as a recurring role as Kevin Hart’s ex-wife on the hit BET series “Real Husbands of Hollywood.”
Her TV credits include guest starring roles on such shows as “NYPD Blue,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Moesha,” “That’s So Raven” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.” She has also appeared in the music videos “Batter Up” and “Ride Wit Me” and Usher’s “Confessions.”
In her spare time she enjoys reading inspirational books, days at the beach, walks with her dog Xeena and giving back by helping to serve at MyFriendsHouseLA.Com. Here, she talks about her upcoming independent movie 4Play with Wesley Jonathan, and about playing Leslie Michaelson on the daytime drama, “The Young & the Restless” which just celebrated its 40th Anniversary on the air.
LAWT: What interested you in doing a soap opera?
AC: Being on a daytime drama never crossed my mind until the breakdown for the character “Leslie” was released. She was described as a strong, spitfire legal shark. It’s rare that an opportunity comes to play such a character, and being that The Young & The Restless is not only the #1 daytime drama overall, it's also the #1 daytime drama within my family. They’ve all been watching since before I was born. After considering all these things, it made complete sense.
LAWT: Tell me a little about your character, Leslie.
AC: Leslie Michaelson is an attorney. She has a passion for what she does. She’s a stand-up woman who has been through many terrifying situations in life, but has turned them to her advantage. She loves her younger brother, Tyler [played by Redaric Williams], with all of her heart, and she stands by her man, Neil [played by Kristoff St. John], without being smothering. She’s quite a lady!
LAWT: How did you prepare to play a lawyer?
AC: As far as the legal lingo, I Googled most of the terminology and started to try to use it on a daily basis so that it would begin to sound normal coming out of my mouth. It's not every day talk for me, so I had to get used to that. Once I learn the material, it’s mainly all about helping to give Leslie some spice and life. The writers put it all on the paper. My job is to bring it.
LAWT: Are there any upcoming developments you can share about Leslie and her love interest, Neil?
AC: Plenty of Neil and Leslie’s relationship has revolved around Gus, Rose, a mysterious blogger, and figuring out the different connections. So, I’m hoping that we may get to see another dynamic to their relationship soon. Maybe more romance and passion, but honestly, I have no idea.
LAWT: “The Young and the Restless” has endured on TV for 40years. Do you feel any pressure to live up to that record of success and to honor the show’s long legacy?
AC: I used to feel pressure, but as time goes on, I realize that all you can do is do your best at any given moment.
For full interview visit: www.lawattstimes.com.
HONG KONG (AP) — President Barack Obama’s half brother is publishing an autobiography that details the domestic abuse that served as the theme for his earlier semiautobiographical novel, which featured an abusive parent patterned on their late father.
Mark Obama Ndesandjo also recounts his sporadic but intense encounters with his brother over the years in “Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery.” The self-published book, to be released in February, also tries to set the record straight on some points in the president’s bestselling 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” In that book, Obama seeks to learn more about their father, a mostly absent figure, after learning of his death in a car crash in 1982 at age 46.
Ndesandjo’s book comes four years after his novel, “Nairobi to Shenzhen: A Novel of Love in the East.” As in his first book, Ndesandjo wanted to raise awareness of domestic abuse by using his family's story, although he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the president's relatives have not universally welcomed his airing of private matters in public. Ndesandjo spoke ahead of a news conference to launch the book in Guangzhou on Thursday.
When asked how he would describe his relationship with his brother, he said, “Right now it’s cold and I think part of the reason is because of my writing. My writing has alienated some people in my family.”
Even though he felt their relationship was distant, “I hope that my brother and I can really hug each other after he’s president and we can be a family again,” said Ndesandjo, who resembles Obama. Like the president, Ndesandjo also has a white American mother, Ruth Ndesandjo, a Jewish woman who was Barack Obama Sr.’s third wife.
Ndesandjo, 48, has lived for 12 years in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, next door to Hong Kong. He moved there to teach English after losing his job when the U.S. economy cratered following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and now works as a consultant. Ndesandjo, who is married to a Chinese woman, learned to speak Chinese and immersed himself in the study of Chinese culture, including poetry and brush calligraphy. Trained as a classical pianist, he gives lessons as a volunteer at an orphanage.
Some of the book’s profits will go to charities for children, including Ndesandjo’s own foundation, which uses art to help disadvantaged kids.
In his new book, Ndesandjo recalls alcohol-fueled beatings meted out by his father to his mother. He recounts one incident in which his father held a knife to his mother's throat because she took out a restraining order against him.
His parents met when Obama Sr. was a graduate student at Harvard University and moved in 1964 to Kenya, where Mark and his brother David were born. David later died in a motorcycle accident.
Obama Sr. had earlier divorced President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, after Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
Mark Ndesandjo’s mother later divorced the senior Obama and married another man, whose surname both mother and son also took.
Ndesandjo and Obama did not grow up together. Ndesandjo was brought up in Kenya but moved to the U.S. for college, earning a bachelor's degree in physics at Brown University, a master’s in the same subject from Stanford University and an MBA at Emory University.
The book recounts Ndesandjo’s first encounter with Obama, who was visiting Kenya in 1988. They did not hit it off.
“Barack thought I was too white and I thought he was too black,” Ndesandjo said. “He was an American searching for his African roots, I was a Kenyan, I’m an American but I was living in Kenya, searching for my white roots.”
The 500-page book includes an appendix listing a number of alleged factual errors in Obama’s 1995 memoir, “Dreams from my Father,” such as quotes incorrectly attributed to Ndesandjo’s mother.
“It’s a correction. A lot of the stuff that Barack wrote is wrong in that book and I can understand that because to me for him the book was a tool for fashioning an identity and he was using composites,” Ndesandjo said.
“I wanted to bring it up because first of all I wanted the record to be straight. I wanted to tell my own story, not let people tell it for me,” he said.
Move slowly concerning relationships this week. People are a little edgy and they don’t know exactly where you are coming from. Make full explanations. Don’t assume that they know what’s on your mind. Most of all, stay positive no matter what. Soul Affirmation: Clinging to the old will inhibit my growth this week. Lucky Numbers: 6, 8, 20
Exercise will work off some of your excess energy this week. Take a walk and remember that your world is made up of many beautiful parts. The part you are focusing on so intently this week is not your entire world. Proceed accordingly! Soul Affirmation: I celebrate with those around me. Lucky Numbers: 13, 29, 34
This week is a good week to dump any extra baggage that has been pulling you down. You have too much potential to throw away and waste your time on issues that will amount to nothing. Stay focused on your goals. Meet and spend time with people who will be able to help you reach them. Soul Affirmation: The word is in me. I bring it forth. Lucky Numbers: 7, 29, 44
This is a good week for exercising that clever mind of yours. Luck will be with you in all endeavors you start. Luck is with you always because positive outlook attracts positive vibrations. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy looking at the road of life sweeping just in front of me. Lucky Numbers: 30, 41, 54,
Your careless ways with money are going to be apparent this week. Financial mistakes you’ve made in the past will be especially painful. Don’t conceal the pain from yourself. It is a warning that you should take steps to prevent future financial crisis. Soul Affirmation: I let my friendships guide my way. Lucky Numbers: 5, 22, 35
Take advantage of the great weather and spend time outdoors enjoying and relaxing with Mother Nature. Learn a new sport, and spend time with family and friends. Don’t take travel matters into your own hands. Seek a professional who will be able to plan a wonderful vacation for you without breaking your bank. Cook up some goodies for your loved ones. Soul Affirmation: I change who I am by changing where I am going. Lucky Numbers: 3, 20, 23
Everything seems to be moving along in a very pleasant way this week. Friends are helpful, family is supportive, even the sun seems to be shining just for you! Enjoy this harmony and count your blessings. Finish a task at work. Soul Affirmation: The slowness of my week gives me time to refresh my energy. Lucky Numbers: 12, 26, 36
The bond that you established with your spiritual side works well in your relationship with a special person. Speak of the reality of the intangible qualities of life. Your lover will understand. Keep attention on the financial matters you’ve been dealing with. Soul Affirmation: I obey the rules this week and avoid hassles. Lucky Numbers: 3, 8, 24
If you need some time to yourself this week, take it. You’ll be doing yourself an act of kindness. Since you do so much for others, why not treat yourself as well as you treat them? Your world is the way you are living. Live with love. Soul Affirmation: I get joy from giving good things. Lucky Numbers: 19, 39, 42
Remember that exercise is a wonderful tension-reliever if things get too intense this week. A walk over your lunch hour could make all the difference in how you feel this afternoon. Love yourself and reward yourself with perfect health and happiness. Soul Affirmation: Faith keeps me calm in the storms of life. Lucky Numbers: 44, 49, 51
You’ve done some of your own love homework. Hopefully you’ve had an opportunity to learn a new way of seeing the world and in that way you’ve found a way of loving that is more natural for you. The combination of sexiness and joyful focus can create you a wonderful love experience. Soul Affirmation: I get joy from giving good things. Lucky Numbers: 14, 23, 37
If you want to keep your positive outlook intact, avoid gossip and those who might want to just cry the blues for no good reason. You’ll be happiest this week if you keep busy and keep your opinions to yourself. However, good advice is available from an older female relative. Soul Affirmation: Love is easier than breathing. Lucky Numbers: 12, 30, 50
NEW YORK (AP) — Tyler Perry writes, directs, stars in and produces his own movies and TV shows, so he doesn’t have much time for outside projects. One he’s glad he made work is a role in director David Fincher's upcoming film, “Gone Girl.”
Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl” is the story of a man who comes under suspicion in the disappearance of his wife. The movie, scheduled for release next October, stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
“Gone Girl” is “the most educational, awe-inspiring thing that I've ever done,” Perry said in a recent interview.
“Sitting in his presence, in his genius, the man is a genius,” he said of Fincher. “It really makes me go, ‘Whoa, let me just stop and take this in,’ so it’s been wonderful.”
And, as one filmmaker to another, he’s humbled by working with the Oscar-nominated director.
“I’m a storyteller. That man is a di-re-ctor. He is amazing. And to watch him work and to watch how he paints his pictures, the tableaus, everything is really just beyond anything I could ever imagine.”
Perry plays Madea, a big and boisterous grandmother he’s made popular in previous movies, in “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” now in theaters.
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