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[Theater News]
Award-winning play "As Much As I Can," about the struggles of gay and bi-sexual Black men, will be featured at Joe's Pub, in Manhattan, from Sep 12-16.
Photo: Harley & Co.

Harley & Co. is proud to announce principal casting for As Much As I Can, a unique and powerful piece of activist, experiential theatre by Sarah Hall and directed by James Andrew Walsh.

As Much As I Can will play 10 performances at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street) from September 12-16 (two shows nightly at 7:00 and 9:30 PM). Produced by Harley & Co., and supported by ViiV Healthcare, the production is designed by Harley & Co. Additional casting is to be announced.

The principal cast of As Much As I Can will feature Stephanie Berry (Gloria: A Life), Brandon Gill (Holler If Ya Hear Me), Cory Gibson (Tell it to the Judge), Dimitri Moïse (The Book of Mormon), Marquis Johnson (ART’s Burn All Night), Vasthy Mompoint (The Prom) and Dawn L Troupe (Moby Dick). The show will also feature Jason C. Brown, Christian O. Jiménez, Joel Hurt Jones, Jasmine Rush, PJ Johnnie and James Watson.

Cory Gibson, PJ Johnnie and James Watson are all original cast members who have been part of the project for three years.

As Much As I Can was created in collaboration with hundreds of gay and bisexual Black men from Jackson MS and Baltimore MD who shared their personal stories. Designed to mobilize communities to respond to the terrible fact that Black men have, and continue to be, disproportionally infected and affected by HIV, the show’s original staging was fully immersive; audience members moved from room to room with the actors.

At Joe’s Pub it will be staged to reflect the production’s intent to blur the lines between theatricality and reality. Playwright Sarah Hall said, “The show is designed so that you forget it is a fiction. We want you to feel so much a part of it that it becomes impossible to separate yourself in the way we do when we observe narratives. That could only work if it was a broadly resonant story and if we gave each audience member a role to play.” As Much As I Can was previously presented in Harlem, Baltimore, Jackson MS, San Diego and Raleigh NC.

Following a day in the life of a group of friends, the play introduces the audience to a tight-knit community where the church is ever present, family is complicated, and history is hard to escape. It asks viewers to consider the power of belonging, the challenges of intimacy, and the repercussive effects of systematic prejudice.

Mark King of, a website devoted to HIV/AIDS, said, “We may never come this close again to inhabiting the lives of a community often reduced to statistics and test results. The Black gay men of As Much As I Can are living and loving and leaning on each other. Their triumph and their pain are so close you can touch them, and you actually might.”

As Much As I Can is the recipient of a Cannes Lion Award, Shorty Award, two Telly Awards, a Patient's Congress Award, and a D&AD Award. It has also been shown to be an effective public health intervention in shifting people’s perception of HIV/AIDS.

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