Last fall, the Robey Theatre Company presented Anna Lucasta which received rave reviews from audience members and theatre critics. The play, directed by Ben Guillory, ran from November 10th - December 9th. It was written by PhilipYordan and was initially written for a Polish family. However, in 1944 the American Negro Theatre produced Anna Lucasta with an all Black cast that enjoyed a 957 performance run on broadway.
In celebration of the play and its wonderful, colorful characters the Robey Theatre Company asked the cast of this production to play a little game called, "Two Truths and a Lie." The actors were instructed to share two truths and one lie about themselves from the point of view of the character they portrayed. This was initially published as part of the Robey's Anna Lucasta blog (www.annalucasta.blogspot.com).
Here is what the actors submitted.
"I'm Anna. My drink is gin. I ran away from home 2 years ago I got hitched to Danny in Atlantic City."
"Hi my name is Theresa Lucasta and I am come from a wealthy southern family. My husband Joe is an alcoholic and I often wish I had married my first love, Otis, instead."
"I am Rudolf Slocum and I am so in love with Anna Lucasta that I can't wait to take her as my bride and return to my fathers farm and start our life together."
Frank Lynch"I'm a strong family man and a wonderful husband.. I believe democracy is "all for all and one for one". I am a natural born leader with political aspirations. I am Frank Lynch!"
"I love my sister. I didn't want to have kids. Otis is my dad."
"I believe in God, I feel I am a good person at heart, and I dearly love my wife."
"Hi, I'm Katie, I'm from Scranton, Pennsylvania, I've been happily married to Stanley Lucasta for 2 years, and I've always dreamed of being a librarian."
Joe Lucasta"I have never cheated on my wife, I love my daughter Anna very much, and I've been secretly faking my so called disease."
“Hi, I'm Blanche and I moved to New York to pursue a career in what some call the "2nd oldest profession in the world" - acting, however I ended up working in the "oldest profession in the world"... I tell my family I'm a model.”
"Danny loves Anna. Danny loves Jesus as his personal savior and wants to integrate into the middle class. Danny rejects all your values, who ever the hell you are."
"Hi, I'm Lester and I'm from Connecticut. I joined the Navy to serve my country, but I wanted to get out and see the world too."
"I am a successful business man, I am in love with Anna, and I never lie."
"I came to New York to become a famous Blues singer and took a part-time job tending bars, I is still tending bars after 30 years. I has no musical talent whatsoever only in his mind. I in love with Blanche having known her for 20 years and have seen her go downhill on grease."
Ashlee Olivia (Anna Lucasta) Ashlee was born raised here in Los Angeles. After discovering her passion for performing arts at an early age, she persuaded her parents to enroll her into programs such as All About Kids and Amazing Grace Conservatory, while keeping abreast of every school casting! Ashlee decided that acting was what she wanted to do with her life. She was accepted to The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago and quickly made a splash amongst her peers with her engaging performance qualities. Shortly after graduating she was cast in Milk directed by Chuck Smith and soon, went on to do many other productions with MPAACT Theatre Co. Ashlee has worked with the Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakes, Casa 0101, and now is very happy to add Robey to her Resume. This is a dream role for her along a ride that is just beginning. She thanks Ben Guillory for believing in her.
Cydney Wayne Davis (Theresa Lucasta) is a professional singer, actress, songwriter, vocal coach and playwright. She has toured the world singing background for artists: Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Barry White, Joe Cocker and continues to work with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. from the 5th Dimension. Her original music is heard in films "Heaven Is A Playground" and "Black Magic Woman." Motown recording artist Diana Ross recorded one of Cydney's original songs: "You're Gonna Love It". Cydney continues to study acting with Ben Guillory through the Robey Theatre's Advanced Scene Study Workshop; she’s appeared in two Robey plays, The River Niger as Grandma Whilimena Brown and Kellie Dantzler’s Transitions as Verlie, for which she and the cast won the 2010 NAACP Theatre Award for "Best Ensemble Cast." Her debut as playwright and director also came in 2010 when her one-act play United Front", dealing with a family facing the threat of AIDS, was selected by NAACP Theatre Festival Committee for their "Salute to 10-Minute Plays." Her film and TV credits include "Crossroads," "La Bamba," "Moon Lighting," "Arsenial Hall Show,", "The Tonight Show," and "City Guys." She’s currently in the studio recording her first solo CD entitled "Cydney with a C". Cydney wishes to thank God, her family, Mr. Ben Guillory and the Robey Theatre for this opportunity.
Dwain A. Perry (Rudolf Slocum) is happy to work once again with Robey Theatre Company. Dwain was last seen in the Robey Theatre Company-Sparkling City Entertainment and Juvee Productions production of Camp Logan, by Celeste Bedford Walker. Other productions with Robey include Bronzeville, byTimothy Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk, directed by Ben Guillory, that traveled to Manzanar for a special week of performances. Melvin Ishmael Johnson's The Emperors Last Performance directed by Ben Guillory and The Last Season by Christopher Moore, directed by Chuck Smith. Directing credits for Robey include Transitions by Kellie Dantzler, which was selected for the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina and also won a NAACP Theatre Award for Best Ensemble. The River Niger, by Joseph A. Walker and Permanent Collection, by Thomas Gibbons, that was co-directed with Harry Lennix for Robey and Greenway Court Theatre. This production was moved, by the request of Michael Ritchie of the Center Theatre Group, to the Kirk Douglas Theatre were it was nominated for an LA WEEKLY AWARD for Best Revival.
Sammie Wayne (Frank) played Gweely Brown and served as Lighting Designer for the Robey Theatre Company’s last production—Celeste Walker Bedford’s play Camp Logan. Wayne can deliver as a director, actor, stage manager, lighting designer and producer. He pursued a degree and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from DePaul University. The Beverly Hills-Hollywood NAACP awarded him 2010 Best Supporting Male Actor and the 2011 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Lighting Design. Other stage credits include The Blacks, Salome, Sisterella, and One Woman Two Lives. Some of his TV and film credits include “Judging Amy”, “Ask Harriet” “Diagnosis Murder”, “Danger in Paradise” and “Soulmates”. Sammie has stage managed and designed lighting for one-person shows: Emmy Award Winning Actor, Glynn Turman's Movin' Man; Loretta Devine's, Pieces of Me; Kim Wayans’, A Handsome Woman Retreats; Ella Joyce’s A Rose Among Thorns; and Helie Lee's, Macho Like Me. Sammie also directed Macho Man Like Me, which received an LA Weekly Theatre nomination for Best One-Person Show. Sammie also co-produces, stage manages, and designs the lights for Giving Back Corporations Annual Toast/Roast, a fundraiser to help provide book scholarships for H.S. seniors entering their freshman year in college while honoring living legends who paved the way for our youth. Prior to his career in entertainment, Sammie spent more than 11 years in corporate America as a software engineer for General Motors; Electronic Data Systems and Northrop Grumman.
Alvina Carroll Saunders (Stella Lucasta) is a native of Norfolk, Virginia. She has been performing on the Regional Theatre scene for years, some of her credits include: “Listen to Your Women”, What A Woman Will Do For Love”, and “A Mother’s Prayer”. After falling in love with performing, she decided to see what Hollywood had to offer. After only a few months in LA, she was blessed to land the role as Rose in August Wilson, Fences. That was just the beginning of her journey, other LA credits include: For Colored Girls…, Chicago Club “Rumboogie”, and Butterflies of Uganda to name a few. Alvina is honored to be in the company of such talented actors and believes she can do all things through Christ, which strengthens her.
Kem Saunders (Stanley Lucasta) is a graduate of Kent State University with a Masters of Education M.Ed. Kem attended The British American Drama Academy at Oxford University and studied under the tutelage of such notable instructors as Fiona Shaw, Henry Goodman and the legendary John Barton. His Regional Theatre credits include: Touch The Names/Ensemble Theatre, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Soldiers Play/Boarshead Theatre, Let Me Live/ The Goodman Theatre, My Children My Africa/Barberton Playhouse, Pill Hill, The Piano Lesson and IAM A MAN at the Karamu Theatre. His Los Angeles Theatre appearances include the critically acclaimed Butterflies of Uganda/Greenway Court Theatre, For the Love Freedom Trilogy/Robey Theatre, and Mine Eyes Have Seen/Theatre Banshee. Recent television appearances include Love Bites (NBC) The Shield (FX), Everybody Hates Chris (The CW), and Chocolate News (Comedy Central). His only thoughts related to this production are “What a blessing to be working with such talented people, who have such passion for the craft.”
Tanya Lane (Katie Lucasta) is delighted to be working with the Robey family again. She was last seen in Robey’s “The Reckoning” as Helene Metoyer. Previous to LA, she worked with various theatre companies in Chicago including Congo Square’s "King of Coons" directed by Harry Lennix, Eclipse’s "Hospice" directed by Chuck Smith, MPAACT's "Bus Boyz" and "Relevant Hearsay" at Victory Gardens Greenhouse and "Amistad Voices" written and produced by Ifa Bayeza, performed at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Some of her other credits include a short film "Blue in Joy" and a brief appearance on "ER" as Stephanie Burke. Thank you to the wonderful cast & crew, and Ben for creating an open and loving space to play in. To My Goose: a snow angel a day will keep the winter blues away.
Robert Clements (Joe Lucasta) Born and raised in Hartford Connecticut and seasoned in NYC, Robert now calls LA his home. This is his fifth Robey Theatre Company Production including all three of the acclaimed trilogy For the Love of Freedom by Levy Lee Simon about the Haitian Revolution. Thanks Ben for your Brilliance in Casting. “Striving for excellence is tantamount for success” is Robert’s motto.
Jennifer Sammons (Blanche) is a native of Clinton, North Carolina and graduate of North Carolina Central University (B.A. & M.A.). She produced/hosted the TV talk show, “Focus on the Triangle” (Durham, NC) and interviewed celebrities such as Danny Glover, Joe Theismann and covered the National Black Theatre Festival. Jennifer was featured as JET Magazine “Beauty of the Week”. In LA, Jennifer landed roles on TV sitcoms Moesha and The Parker’s. She appeared in the Tony-nominated play, The First Breeze of Summer, which earned her an NAACP Theatre Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She most recently played the role of Zora Neale Hurston in Gil Faison’s Eagle Pride. Other performances include a previous production of Anna Lucasta (playing Katie), Raisin In The Sun (Ruth), Eubie Waller’s Last Rites, The Awakening, The Power of Black Love, Smile-n-Faces, Oasis, and Pathway to Freedom. Giving all glory to God, Jennifer extends special thanks to Ben Guillory for the opportunity to experience “Blanche” along with this wonderful cast, to her mentor Anthony Chisholm for his wisdom & encouragement, and to her mother Patricia and family for their unconditional love and support. Jennifer dedicates this stage performance in loving memory of her father Darius Sammons, Jr. and to Lenny Mayes.
Nick Gillie (Danny) last appeared on stage in The Shelter at the Odyssey Theater and Orlando at The Actor’s Gang. He is also proud to have done plays with Zoo District Theater Company, including the title role in Nosferatu. Recently he played “Poins” in brother Harry Lennix’s “H4”, a soon to be released film. Nick is a produced screenwriter of “Never Get Outta The Boat”, a film that premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival and won awards at five other festivals including Best Feature at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Currently Nick is developing three projects, on SNCC; on social justice courts; and on LA gang intervention. He serves as a consultant to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and also serves on the Board of Directors of The Peace Alliance (TPA). Nick also serves as Fight Choreographer for Anna Lucasta. Nick is very proud to be one small part of this amazing cast of Anna Lucasta and very proud to be working with Ben Guillory.
Kaylon Hunt (Lester) A graduate of University Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, Kaylon has been recognized for his body of work in both acting and filmmaking. Hunt has made numerous appearances in independent film; his stage credits include The Colored Museum and Camp Logan’ Anna Lucasta is Kaylon’s second stage production with the Robey Theatre Company.
TALMADGE A. TALIB (Eddy). Front Page Associate Producer, Actor, Activist and Entrepreneur, Tal Talib after 20 plus years in the Auto Industry (Service, Sales, Finance & Management), decided to make a career change. In a desire to make a contribution to his community with the intention of changing the negative images and stereo-types of African-Americans around the world, chose to move into the media & entertainment industry. A graduate of Studio IV Acting Conservatory in San Diego and a current student at Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, Talib has had extensive training and experience in stage productions, TV and Film. Nominated for an Aubrey Award in 2001 in San Diego, he has since made Los Angeles his home and is very active in the community here.
Carl Crudup (Noah). Graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City class of 1972. His proudest moment was receiving his degree in theatrical arts on a Broadway stage from Danny Kaye, Mickey Rooney, and the great Helen Hayes. He signed with Paramount Pictures in 1972 to co-star with James Caan in "The Gambler" and in 1973 was creating the role of Sam Greene on BROADWAY in "The First Breeze of Summer" at the Palace Theatre with the Negro Ensemble Company and was nominated for a TONY for Best Drama. Also he did "Ceremonies of Dark Old Men" with the Negro Ensemble Company at the Walnut Street Playhouse in Philadelphia. He co-starred with Lou Gossett and Glynn Turman in the classic J.D.'s Revenge, and with Roslind Cash in "The Monkey Hustle" both for MGM studios, Carl was featured on the New York radio soap opera "Sounds of the City" with Ruby Dee and Robert Guillame. He moved to LA after landing a regular role in the TV series "Executive Suite" which ran for two years on ABC networks. Mr. Crudup has guest-starred in over 40 TV episodic roles and has done well over 100 plays in his career. TV shows include Rockford Files, Harry-O, The Six Million Dollar Man, Baretta, The White Shadow, ER, Blue Knight, TJ Hooker, Beauty and the Beast, Vega$, etc. currently he has a new film due out in 2013 called "Scourge" in which he co-stars. Carl is from the Bay area in California.