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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. Please join us in November 2016 for her production of Angelina Grimke’s Rachel and in February 2017 for Leroi Jones’ The Dutchman.
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).
Rana Esfandiary is 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 Agatha Christie. Rana has served as Assistant Director on several of Dr. Hodges Persley's productions including A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Welcome to Arroyo’s by Kristoffer Diaz. Rana is from Tehran, Iran.
Beverly and William hail from the south and have been married for 45 years. Their love has endured the storms of living; family, friends, success and loss. They have raised their children and served their community only to find themselves facing the secrets and pains of their relationship in their golden years. As they work to escape the ghosts of their past, they are reminded of what really matters in the life and home they have built together.
Angelina Grimke’s anti-lynching play Rachel is one of the first plays written by an African American woman to be produced for the stage. Produced by the NAACP in March 1916 and published in 1920, Rachel tells the story of Rachel Loving, a hopeful young woman coming of age who imagines a life helping others and raising a family. Rachel’s life is never the same after she discovers the devastating effects of racism on the children she cares for and the truth about the deaths of her late father and brother.
Harvey Williams is the founder of KC Melting Pot Theatre and author of “Old School, "The Session" , "Mom F***ing.Com", "On Shoulders Now" and "2121" which will premier in KCMPT’s 2017 season. He has performed at theatres across Kansas City in productions of "Driving Miss Daisy", "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", "Little Tommy Parker", "The Watsons go to Birmingham", "Now Let me Fly", "The Piano Lesson", "Fences", "12 Angry Men", "1940's Radio Hour", "The African Company presents Richard the III", "Monkey Don't Drink Hot Chocolate", "Othello", "Journey with Barbara Jordan". Harvey has toured with Bob Paisley's Central Standard Theatre to Bedford, UK, and the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Adelaide, Australia. Harvey was most recently seen in “Waiting To Be Invited” at Just Off Broadway Theatre and “Bank Job” at the Living Room Theatre. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas City Mo, a member of the Screen Actors' Guild and Actors' Equity.
Waiting To Be Invited
Orlando is an up and coming Kansas City actors who is proud to make his KC Meltingpot Theater debut. He received his BA in Theater at the University of Kansas training under Dr. Hodges Persley, Dr. Danny Devlin and Laura Kirk.
Orlando's theater debut was in the Hodges Persley's University of Kansas production of A Raisin in the Sun as George Murchison. He has appeared ins several local commercials and print advertisements and is proud to be back on stage as Teddy Boy in A Soft Escape.
He loves the Kansas City market and opportunities but his dream goal is to move to California to earn a position as an "A" list actor.
Favorite quotes: "There is no limit to greatness" and "Never stop working."
A Raisin in the Sun
Cody Siemiatkowski is from Harrisonville, MO and is currently a senior at the University of Kansas pursuing a double major in Economics and Theatre. He has stage managed at the community theatre level and is proud to be a part of the KC Meltingpot Theatre team. A Soft Escape is his first professional theater production in Kansas City.
Lynn King Lynn is a proud Kansas City native and has appeared onstage for Theatre for Young America, InPlay Theatre Co., Coterie Theatre, New Theatre Restaurant, KC Repertory Theatre, The Unicorn Theatre, JCCC and UMKC Theatre Depts. (her alma mater), and with the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. She has previously performed with KC MeltingPot in productions of Old School Ghetto Gospel, and JFK - A Ghostly Evening. Lynn is proud to have been honored with a Best in KC award for acting and has appeared in several film projects including the recently released JAYHAWKERS directed by Kevin Willmott.
A special thanks to Harvey, Linda, Melissa, and this incredibly talented cast. Thanks too, to Dennis and to my family for their love and support. Lynn feels truly blessed and deeply grateful for the opportunity to do what she loves most.
Old School Ghetto Gospel
JFK - A Ghostly Evening
Rev. Dr. Lynette Sparkman-Barnes is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She is married to Rev. Steve Barnes, Pastor of Grant Chapel AME Church, Kansas City, KS. They are blessed to have three beautiful daughters. Lynette has had a love for theatre for her entire life and experiences it as an avenue of creative expression, healing, catharsis and connecting to others. She has performed in several theater works in the Kansas City including Zora Neale Huston’s’ Colorstruck and Marcus Gardley’s Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi as part of the Rep & Rev: Listening to Black Theater at The American Jazz Museum. This series featured works by playwrights of African decent and was directed and produced by Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley and Glenn North.
Dr. Barnes is a Clinical Psychologist and is the Associate Pastor at Grant Chapel AME Church. She is the Associate Director of Counseling Services at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is an officer in KCK SCOPE, a non-profit service organization founded and operated by her family. Through KCK SCOPE, she runs a Psychology private practice in Wyandotte County, KS, manages programs for youth and families, and actively raises funds for the organization. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend…Dr. Barnes is first and foremost a child of the King. She stands on the promise, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13.