-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Hedgerow Theatre Company is diving into its 100th season with the regional premiere of work by a rising star in American Theatre: Ngozi Anyanwu, who grew up in Bucks County.
Good Grief, Anyanwu’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-self-story set in Bensalem, PA, runs February 8-26, with opening night kicking off on Friday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m. Good Grief is co-directed by Zuhairah McGill and Phillip Brown, who are also starring in the show. Tickets cost $20-$35 and are available online www.hedgerowtheatre.org. All shows are performed at Hedgerow Theatre located at 64 Rose Valley Rd in Media, PA.
In this humorous and heartbreaking contemporary work, the young Nkechi explores the loss of her high school love in her childhood home in the Philly suburbs. The play–which The New York Times declares “reaches for the stars within the darkness”–traverses the liminal space between the past and the present while navigating the process of grief and loss with charm and poignancy.
“Good Grief for me is a play about love, self-healing, discovery, but most important understanding life is a journey of a continuous cycle that we are always in search of one-self and realizing, if you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving and dreaming,” said McGill, who was nominated for the Barrymore Award for Outstanding Actress for her performance in Sojourner at Hedgerow in 2002, a role she reprised here in 2011. “I am so excited to return to Hedgerow Theatre.”
McGill & Brown are fresh off an exciting year of partnership for The Royale at Lantern Theatre and Flyin’ West at Quintessence Theatre, both of which Zuhairah directed, and in which Brown starred. Morgan Charéce Hall, who co-starred with Brown in The Royale, performs as Nkechi. The cast includes: Dell Jackson as MJG, James Ofalt as JD, and long-time Hedgerow company member, Susan Wefel as the Neighbor.
For Brown, “Good Grief is about the dynamic experience of being human. It is a play that explores the delicate dance we have with love and love loss; with life and life lost; and perhaps with those spirits that await us on the other side. It is a play that strikes a nostalgic chord within us and challenges us to relive those most profound moments that have shaped our lives with the people that we both love and grieve. Ngozi reminds us that the human condition is brilliantly complex, and that all of life is magically connected. I am reminded that we all have a story to tell, and that by looking through the beautiful and even mystical mosaic of life experiences of her main character ‘N’ Ngozi awakens our past, affirms our present, and gives wonder to our future.”
Marcie Bramucci, Hedgerow’s Executive Artistic Director, calls the play “Immediate, nostalgic, specific and epic at the same time, this is a magical production with which to open our 100th.”
“I am thrilled to produce Ngozi’s work in this milestone season,” notes Bramucci, who first met Ngozi in their shared theatre program at Point Park University. “Ngozi is a force in new writing, and as a friend, I have learned so much from the fearless paths she has forged for herself, our field and for so many artists along the way,” notes Bramucci. “I am over-the-moon for Good Grief – which explodes with heart and humor – to arrive home for its Philadelphia regional premiere. Hedgerow’s legacy of producing bold works dates back to our founding. Ngozi’s whole-hearted, cosmic play and uncanny individual voice root us firmly in that continued ambition.”
“For what Ngozi has described this as ‘a best friend play’ we are fortunate to have an artistic duo and dear friends, Zuhairah and Phillip jointly leading a team that includes long-time collaborators and emerging artists together,” Bramucci shares. “As mentors, educators and artistic leaders in this region they individually and collaboratively bring out the absolute best in others while nurturing strong relationships and meaningful collaboration. I could not be more excited to have them at the helm of this luminous play that is so near and dear.”
James Johnson joins the team as scenic designer, after collaborating with McGill previously on The Mountaintop at the Santa Fe Playhouse. Multi-hyphenate-artist Tiffany Bacon designs costumes. Jairous Parker, who recently collaborated on The Royale, is the sound designer. Will Lowry of Lehigh University is the lighting designer, most recently designing for The Royale. Adrena Williams returns to Hedgerow as dramaturg, after her work last season on In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. Meanwhile, Colleen Hughes joins the team as intimacy director and Bella Capelli, as stage manager.
For more information, visit www.hedgerowtheatre.org.
About Hedgerow Theatre Company:
Hedgerow Theatre is a resident repertory theatre dedicated to providing cultural enrichment, engaging entertainment, and training in theatre arts and management since 1923. As stewards of a nineteenth-century grist mill-turned-theatre building, Hedgerow is proud to present productions in an intimate 100-seat theatre. The company offers extensive educational programs through theatre school and touring programs, and provides performance, technical training, and theatre management opportunities for Resident Fellows in a close-knit and mutually supportive environment.