On a subway car in New York city during the late1960s Clay, a middle-class black man en route to somewhere, is forced to engage the stereotypes of black masculinity in the dominant American imagination head on when he encounters Lula, an eccentric white woman who pokes and prods at his black manhood. Written at the height of the Civil Rights and Black Arts movements in the United States, Amiri Baraka's Obie-Award Winning play Dutchman captures the nation's deepest fears from the past about race and racism in a rich, poetic dialogue, so rich that it flattens time to predict those fears in the present. In his last play as LeRoi Jones, Baraka reflects the zeitgeist of black rage and repression embedded in the fears and stereotypes of whites in the late 20th century. This timeless story boldly foretells the future of racial tensions in America in the 21st century as it turns the notion of post-raciality on its head. KC MeltingPot's production of Dutchman is directed by its Associate Artistic Director, Nicole Hodges Persley and features Laura Jacobs and Frank Oakley as Lula and Clay. Dutchman opens February 17th, 2017. Our production marks the 40th anniversary of this seldom-produced play of the Black Arts Movement.
Nicole Hodges Persley is the Associate Artistic Director of the KC Meltingpot Theatre. She is a transplant to Kansas City from Los Angeles, California. Hodges Persley has directed shows at renown venues including P.S. 122 in New York, Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles and now Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City. Her local directing credits include critically acclaimed productions of A Raisin in the Sun, Welcome to Arroyo’s, Sister Cities, and A Comedy of Sorrows. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at The University of Kansas with a forthcoming book in 2017 on Hip-hop Theater entitled Sampling and Remixing Hip-hop in Contemporary Theater and Performance.
Frank Oakley III is beyond excited to be making his KC Meltingpot Theatre debut! Frank is a Kansas City, KS Wyandotte County native, born and raised. In 2014 he earned his BA in Theatre Performance from UMKC. During the day Frank is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer at the Quality Hill YMCA downtown. You may recognize him from stage plays in town such as Justice in the Embers as Collar (The Living Room Theatre); Jitney as Youngblood (MET) and Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott as Martin Luther King Jr. (Coterie Theatre). Frank is also very fortunate to be involved in the film and television scene here in Kansas City. He has played lead, co-lead and supporting roles in films in town such as The Brutal 9; Run, My Dear; Duke; and Fifth Click to name a few.
Frank is extremely grateful to become a part of the KCMPT family. He loves that not only do they have a mission that he supports wholeheartedly, but they actually are living out their mission daily. And just like family, KCMPT takes care of their family, every single member.
Frank wants to sincerely thank his wife, family, friends and every single person in the audience for their love and support. This will be Frank’s last show before relocating to Atlanta to further his film and television career. You can keep up with Frank by visiting his homepage at frankoakleythethird.com.
Justice in the Embers
Rosa Parks and the Bus Boycott
Orlando J Newton is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. Born and raised in Wyandotte County.
His acting training began at the performance arts academy at F.L Schlagle. After graduation, he studied theater at the University of Kansas where he received a BGS in Theater Performance.
Orlando appeared in KU’s 2015 production of A Raisin in the Sun and was recently seen in KCMPT’s production of A Soft Escape as Teedy Boy.
Orlando has also worked with Garmin, Hallmark and KC Fashion Week.
“Theater can be very joyful and vibrant but also very dark and enchanting which is what I think our audience needs. Something familiar, but also something unexpected. The impact and impressions we leave on our audience go beyond a source of entertainment but to a source of creativity or a new way of thinking.
I joined the KCMPT family in my debut play A Soft Escape August 26th, 2017. I love theater and enjoyed every moment of working with the cast, director and crew of A Soft Escape. I know that I can learn a lot here at the KCMPT, so to have these opportunities is a true blessing for which I'm forever grateful.”
A Raisin in the Sun
A Soft Escape
Laura Jacobshas been seen on local stages since 1990. She began her performance career as a ballet dancer at venues such as the historic Folly Theater, Music Hall, Lyric Opera, Starlight Theatre, and Yardley Hall. She has appeared in performances at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, New Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, The Living Room, The Barn Players, The Bell Road Barn Players, Leawood Stage Company, Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park and Great River Shakespeare Festival. Her alter ego, Ivory Wilde, regularly appears with Burlesque Downtown Underground.
Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Anna Oakley works as an actor, assistant stage manager, and child wrangler throughout KC and received her BA in Theatre Performance from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. You may recognize her from Twelfth Night (Alcott Arts Center), First annual Kansas City One Minute Play Festival (One Minute Play Festival); Missing You Metropolis (InPlay Productions); No Exit (Fishtank Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Three Sisters, Playboy of the Western World,and The Cover of Life (UMKC Theatre). Anna has a passion for connecting students with the theatre and serves as a Co-Director of Education and Community Programs with KCMPT. Although she is very familiar with behind-the-scenes work at KCMPT, she is ecstatic to make her stage debut in Dutchman. She would like to give special thanks to the KCMPT family for all they do and to Frank Oakley III for the constant encouragement and inspiration.
Missing You Metropolis
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Warren Deckert, Technical Director/Designer -- Warren’s 45 years of theatre experience include being the Artistic/Technical Director for Great Bend Community Theatre, technical director/designer for the Bethel College Drama Department and union membership in I.A.T.S.E., Local 190, Wichita, KS. He has designed the lighting and/or sets for over 170 productions. Currently he is an assistant house manager for Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the resident technical director/designer for KC MeltingPot Theatre and technical director for Just Off Broadway Theatre. In Kansas City he has directed Bernice At Bay/The Butterfly Effect, Gidion’s Knot, and “Sue Aside...” (KC Fringe Festival), Waiting To Be Invited and The Taste Test (co-productions with KC MeltingPot).
Laura Burt is excited to be working with Melting Pot Theatre as a stage manager. In the past she has worked with Billy Blob (2016 Fringe Festival), Tradewind Arts, Relevance Productions, Olathe Civic Theatre Association and Theatrikos Theatre Company. She also has been on stage around town at City Theatre of Independence, OCTA, and The Barn Players. Some of her favorite shows that she was a part of are Dinner with Friends (stage manager), Extremities (stage manager), and Noises Off (Poppy).
Troy Cox is excited to join KC MeltingPot as Assistant Stage Manager for this production. Troy recently returned to Kansas City from Los Angeles after traveling and seeing the country and the World. He is a meditation enthusiast, Yoga instructor and has a published book 'The Why of Yoga', as well as being an actor and stage manager. Troy has acted since he was 12 in commercials, T.V., film, and stage as well as being a trained professional Stage Manager. He looks forward to meeting the wonderful community that brings this season to life.
Paula was born in Brooklyn, New York and still considers it home in spite of the fact that she has lived here in Kansas City for 26 years.
In addition to her hectic life as an Army wife and mother, she also enjoyed a successful career as a buyer and merchandise manager for a number of fashion specialty stores around the country. One of the benefits of frequent travel to New York was the opportunity to take in as much theater, symphony, and art as possible, following a tradition started by her grandparents when she was young that developed her love for all three milieus. Living here in Kansas City with the world class venues and local theater, she has come to appreciate that clearly all talent does not reside in New York. She believes by supporting and working in local productions she will learn and grow in her love of theater and ultimately feel the greater joy of being a part of this important work here in Kansas City.
Paula assisted on InPlay’s production “Is There a Murderer Here” at Just Off Broadway and is looking forward to working in the upcoming production “Dutchman” and future productions with KCMPT.
Rana Esfandiaryis currently a Ph. D. student at the university of Kansas Department of Theater. She holds an MFA degree in Scenography from the University of Kansas (2013) and has designed set, lighting and costumes for shows such as Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams, Adding Machine by Jason Loewith and Joshua Schmidt, Noah’s Art by Nathan Tysen and Ryan McCall and The mousetrap by Agetha Christie. Rana has served as Assistant Director on several of Dr. Hodges Persely’s productions including A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Welcome to Arroyo’s by Kristoffer Diaz. Dutchman is Rana’s third production for KCMPT. She was Assistant Director for A Soft Escape and Rachel. Rana is from Tehran, Iran.