FEBRUARY 5-MARCH 11, 2018
- By Danai Gurira
- Directed by Adam Immerwahr
- Two and a half hours with an intermission
It’s winter in Minnesota, and an immigrant Zimbabwean family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter. But when the bride insists on observing roora, a traditional bride-price ceremony, it opens a deep rift in the household. Rowdy and affectionate, Familiar pitches tradition against assimilation among the members of one devoted family. Which will prove stronger: the customs they keep… or the secrets they’ve kept buried?
Familiar—the fourth Woolly production by Tony-nominated playwright Danai Gurira, after successful runs of Eclipsed (2016 Tony nominee for Best Play), The Convert, and In the Continuum—is Woolly’s entry into the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Directed by Theater J artistic director Adam Immerwahr, one of Gurira's long-time collaborators.
Featuring company member Shannon Dorsey and designs by company member Colin K. Bills
Familiar is made possible by a generous gift from Joan & David Maxwell
Part of the 2018 Women's Voices Theater Festival. Purchase a 2018 WVTF Festival Pass on TodayTix today!
Woolly does not offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any questions about content, please contact our box office at 202-393-3939.
"The radiant cast... pulls the pin on explosive laughs and leaves emotional room for the long, serious twist at the end."
"Familiar is, quite simply, a comedic masterpiece."
DC Metro Theater Arts
"Familiar at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is a Must-See"
"Likely the best show in this year's Women's Voices Theatre Festival"
Brightest Young Things
"Profoundly refreshing... Familiar is an outstanding entry in the Women's Voices Theater Festival"
DC Theatre Scene
"Heartfelt and meaningful"
MD Theatre Guide
"A crowd-pleasing, sweet-hearted sitcom with a provocative edge"
"A fiercely funny new play...Ms. Gurira weaves issues of cultural identity and displacement, generational frictions and other meaty matters into dialogue that flows utterly naturally. Her engaging characters are drawn with sympathy."
New York Times
About the Playwright: Danai Gurira
DANAI GURIRA (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and actress. Danai’s play Familiar received its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre directed by Rebecca Taichman. Her play The Convert, a historical drama set in Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe), received world premiere co-productions through McCarter Theater, the Goodman Theatre, and CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre, winning the Stavis Award, LA Drama Critics Award, and six Ovation Awards. Danai’s initial success was as the co-lead of In the Continuum, and she subsequently received a grant for research in Liberia which resulted in her second play, Eclipsed. As an actress, Danai currently stars as Michonne, one of the most popular characters in AMC’s critically-acclaimed original series The Walking Dead. Danai’s other film credits include Mother of George, The Visitor, 3 Backyards, and Restless City. Danai was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University and she is also the recipient of the prestigious Whiting Writers Award (2012). She is co-founder and President of Almasi, a Zimbabwean American Dramatic Arts Collaborative Organization. Danai was born in the US and raised in Zimbabwe by Zimbabwean parents. She holds an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.
About the Director: Adam Immerwahr
ADAM IMMERWAHR (Director) is the Artistic Director Theater J, the nation’s premier Jewish theater. He has previously served as the Associate Artistic Director at McCarter Theatre, in Princeton, NJ, as well as the Resident Director at Passage Theater in Trenton and the Artistic Director of OnStage, a senior-citizen theater company. Adam’s NYC directing credits: The Public, Theater Row (both for Summer Play Festival), Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Wild Project, and NYU’s Studio Tisch. Internationally, he directed the African premiere of The Convert (nominated for Zimbabwe’s National Arts Medal). Adam has directed and developed work for McCarter Theatre, Passage Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Theater J, Passage, Luna Stage, Hangar Theatre, Bristol Riverside, Premiere Stages, PlayPenn, the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, and others. Recipient of 2010 NJ Theatre Alliance “Applause Award” and 2014 Emerging Nonprofit Leader Award presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University. Drama League Directing Fellow (2008). Upcoming: Roz and Ray at Theater J (April 3-29).
Meet the Cast
KIM SULLIVAN (Donald) is honored to make his Woolly Mammoth debut. Most recently he portrayed Wynton in The Royale at American Stage, St. Petersburg, FL. He is extremely proud of completing the August Wilson Cycle also at American Stage, where he performance in all ten of Mr. Wilson’s plays. DC audiences may have caught him as Roosevelt Hicks in the Studio Theatre production of Radio Golf. The Clean House at Milwaukee Rep. Major Barbara at Missouri Rep. The Crucible (Danforth) Syracuse Rep. A Raisin in the Sun (Walter Lee) at Capital Rep, Albany, NY. Donald in You Can’t Take it With You at Geva, Rochester NY. He won an AUDEICO Award supporting Andre DeShields in Dream On Monkey Mountain at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Polonius in Hamlet
New Perspective Theatre, New York. He spent two years as Judge Runyon on One Life to Live. Thanks Andy.
INGA BALLARD (Marvelous) NATIONAL TOURS; Ragtime (1st and 2nd); NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: York Theatre: Blind Lemon Blues; Storm Theatre Company: Antigone; Ragtime Concert: MCP/Avery Fisher Hall; REGIONAL: The Shakespeare Theatre Company: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner; Crossroads Theatre Company: The Colored Museum; Pittsburgh Public Theatre: Yellowman; City Theatre: Crowns; Actor’s Theatre of Louisville: All My Sons; Syracuse Stage: The Crucible; Houston’s Theatre Under The Stars, Cape Playhouse: Hairspray; North Shore Music Theatre: Les Miserables, Hairspray, Fame, Nine; Sacramento Music Circus: Hairspray, Smokey Joe’s Café, Ragtime, Show Boat; Westchester Broadway Theatre: Show Boat, Hairspray, Gypsy; John W. Engeman Theatre: Nunsense; Arizona Theatre Company: Ella; Arts Center of Coastal Carolina: Chicago; Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma: Hairspray, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; California Musical Theatre: Gypsy; Goodspeed Opera House: Finian’s Rainbow; Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center: Abyssinia; INTERNATIONAL: Palladium Dubai Media City, UAE University: Panoramajazz Concert; TELEVISION: Law & Order: Criminal Intent, 30 Rock, All My Children; Commercials and Voiceovers; New Media Web Series: Cornerstone; OTHER: Member of The Quick Silver Theater Company. TRAINING: University of Southern California: MFA in Acting, University of California, Davis: BA in Drama; The Manhattan School of Music: Professional Music Theatre Workshop.
SHANNON DORSEY (Nyasha) returns to Woolly for Familiar, where she was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress for An Octoroon. Other Woolly credits include Kiss; All the Way (Arena Stage), the Helen Hayes Award-winning A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Carmen (Kennedy Center/Synetic Theater); Unexplored Interior (Mosaic Theater Company); Two Trains Running (Round House Theatre); Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, In the Red or Brown Water, and Breath, Boom (Studio Theatre); Stick Fly (Everyman Theatre); and The Shipment (Forum Theatre). Regional credits include Safe House and The Trip to Bountiful (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); A Raisin in the Sun (Perseverance Theatre); The Great MacDaddy (Negro Ensemble Company NYC); The Power of the Trinity (NYC SummerStage); and The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller (West End Theatre NYC). Shannon received her B.A. in Communications, Theater, and African-American studies at Temple University. She thanks God for the abundance of love and support from her family and friends.
TWINKLE BURKE (Margaret) is thrilled to be making her debut at Woolly Mammoth. Favorite theatre roles include Veronica in Valley Song at Dorset Theatre Festival (Winner of the Audience award for Best Actress, and voted 10 Best Shows by the Boston Globe), and The Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol at Virginia Stage Company. TV: Red Oaks, Gotham, Elementary, and Luke Cage. Film: La Vida Inesperada, Bottled Up. Upcoming: Furlough with Tessa Thompson and Melissa Leo. Twinkle is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. She is eternally grateful for the love and support of her family, especially her husband, Brad, and son, Ezra. Laugh as much as you breathe!
SHARINA MARTIN (Tendi) is excited to be making her Woolly Mammoth debut. Regional credits include: Dracula (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Metamorphoses (Arden Theatre Company), Alls Well that Ends Well, Another Part of the Forest, Major Barbara (American Players Theater), Black Diamond, Fedra (Lookingglass Theatre Company), Talking American (Indiana Rep), The Voysey Inheritance (Remy Bumpoo), Macbeth (Lady M, greasyjoan & co.) Off Broadway: Showtime Blues, The Talk (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Manhood, Untamed (National Black Theatre), The Beautiful Beautiful Sea Next Door (ArsNova). Other credits: Richard III (Lady Anne, Boomerang Theatre Co), Heartbreaker (Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center). Film: Blind, Requited, Nowheresville, Happily After. Television: Z: The Beginning of Everything (Amazon), The Outs, Redrum (Discovery ID), Reality Check, In Between Men. BTA Award Nomination, Best Actress. Training: Northwestern University, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, LAByrinth Theater Co., Esper. Sharina is a lifetime member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York. sharinamartin.com
CHERYL LYNN BRUCE (Anne) is pleased to make her Woolly Mammoth debut. A Chicago native, her credits include Hilary and Clinton, The Gospel of Lovingkindness, The Snow Queen (Victory Gardens), the Helen Hayes Award-winning From the Mississippi Delta (Hartford Stage, Arena Stage, Circle-in-the-Square, Old Globe); The Convert (McCarter; Goodman and Kirk Douglas Theatres); Head of Passes, Nomathemba, The Compass, Intimate Apparel, The Grapes of Wrath, Everyman (Steppenwolf); RACE (Lookingglass Theatre); The Old Settler (Writers’ Theatre); The Story (Milwaukee Repertory); Cry, The Beloved Country, The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, Oo-Bla-Dee, Trojan Women (Goodman Theatre); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Missouri Repertory) Cheryl received her B.A. in Speech and Theatre at University of Illinois at Chicago, and is profoundly grateful for the love and support of her husband and family.
DREW KOPAS (Chris) DC/ MD: Everyman Theatre: Intimate Apparel (Marks), Pygmalion (Freddy/Nepommuck), All My Sons (Frank); Faction of Fools: Our Town (George), A Commedia Romeo and Juliet (Romeo); Constellation Theatre Company: On the Razzle (Melchior), The Ramayana (Lakshman); Olney Theatre Center: Da (Young Charlie), Misalliance (Gunner), Witness for the Prosecution (Clegg); Rep Stage: Italian American Reconciliation (Aldo); Shakespeare Theatre Company: Twelfth Night – Free for All (Curio); Keegan Theatre: Of Mice and Men (Whit), There are Little Kingdoms (Jamesie); We Happy Few: Duchess of Malfi (Antonio). Regional: Dobama Theatre: Cock (M); Great Lakes Theater: The Winter’s Tale (Archidamus); Idaho Shakespeare Festival: Much Ado About Nothing (Conrad); Virginia Shakespeare Festival: Two Gents (Valentine), Merchant of Venice (Gratiano). Tour: National Players. Education: MFA, Western Illinois University. www.drewkopas.com
ANDY TRUSCHINSKI (Brad) NEW YORK: Broadway: The Heidi Chronicles; Off-Broadway: Luft Gangster; NATIONAL TOUR: War Horse; REGIONAL: Premiere Stages: The People Before the Park; The Goodman: A Christmas Carol; Chicago Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Comedy of Errors, Macbeth; Milwaukee Chamber Theatre: The Sum of Us; American Players Theatre: Hay Fever, Comedy of Errors, The Matchmaker, The Winter’s Tale and more; Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival: The Merchant of Venice and as Hamlet in Hamlet. Andy is also an avid writer. Follow his debut short film, The Root of Happiness, on Facebook and Instagram—@TheRootofHappinessFilm and Twitter - @RootofHappy. Thanks for coming to the show!