All Female Cast Plays Othello

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New Heritage Theatre Group, celebrated its 50th anniversary, and City College Center for the Arts joined forces with Debra Ann Byrd, Take Wing & Soar Productions, and founder of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival presented the Festival's closing performance of Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice. The cast was made up of females only. The 17 classically trained multi-ethnic actresses graced the performance space at The City College of New York before a standing- room-only audience on Sunday, December 15, 2013. The play was directed by Lisa Wolpe, who also played Iago, and co-starred Debra Ann Byrd as Othello.

Fight choreography created by Dan Burke was thrilling and the audience was riveted by the compelling performances of the actors. The adrenaline fueled performances received a standing ovation from those in attendance. After the performance the audience participated in a talk back with the director, producers, and cast members. The talk-back was followed by a grand reception and special presentation by the Honorable Teresa Freeman, New York State Committee Member, 70th Assembly District, Manhattan, of a Key to Harlem to Othello's director Lisa Wolpe.

The Harlem Shakespeare Festival was designed to provide opportunities for women, youth, and especially classically trained actors of color. Next year, the Festival will join with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.

The production of Othello was supported by The West Harlem Development Corporation, The Tides Foundation, The City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council Member Inez E. Dickens, The New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair, The New York State Council on the Arts, and the Arlen Charitable Trust.

New Heritage Theatre Group and Take Wing & Soar are members of the Harlem Arts Alliance, the Alliance of Residence Theaters, New York, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, the League of Professional Theatre Women, the Broadway League, and the Coalition of Theatres of Color.

For additional information regarding the Festival visit online at www.harlemshakespearefest.org.

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