World Premiere

Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin

By Michael Benjamin Washington
Directed by Lucie Tiberghien

At La Jolla Playhouse September 8 – October 4, 2015 & Kansas City Rep October 16 - November 15, 2015


In the sweltering political and racial heat of 1963, Bayard Rustin — the brilliant proponent of non-violent civil disobedience — is assigned to orchestrate an unprecedented march for jobs and freedom. Exiled from the Civil Rights Movement by both internal and external forces, Rustin grapples with his last chance for professional restoration and spiritual redemption.

Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.

The story’s energy and tempo pick up when Miriam Caldwell (Mandi Masden delivering a star-worthy performance) arrives for an interview for a staff position. She’s a quick study, not timid holding movement leaders’ feet to the fire when it comes to women’s rights, and is soon at the center of the action.
— LYNNE FRIEDMANN, CultureVulture
Mandi Madsen is the perfect foil for Rustin. Standing up to him on occasion and demanding a woman be part of the March she stands shoulder to shoulder with Rustin as a leading figure in the equation.
— CAROL DAVIS, Examiner
Masden is both tenacious and perceptive as Miriam Caldwell, portraying a woman sensitive to the power structures around her but committed to having her say.
— LIZ COOK, The Pitch
Masden’s Miriam is a knockout, and her character should encourage women with good ideas everywhere to speak up.



World Premiere

Our Lady of Kibeho

By Katori Hall

Directed by Michael Greif

At The Pershing Square Signature Theatre October 28th - December 14, 2014

In 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and again. Skepticism gives way to fear, faith, and fate, causing upheaval in the school community and beyond. Based on real events, Our Lady of Kibeho is the second production of Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall’s Residency at Signature.

The acting is across-the-board superb. Ms. Okafor’s gentle-spirited Alphonsine and Ms. Masden’s more starchy Anathalie are delicately etched portraits of girls who are at once young for their age and, as they come under fire, quickly gain emotional maturity.
Nneka Okafor, Mandi Masden and Joaquina Kalukango play the three visionaries so convincingly that you’ll soon forget that they are, in fact, seasoned actors: They behave just like giggling schoolgirls who’ve been invaded and transformed by the supernatural. [Kibeho] is the kind of issue-driven, ethnically flavored story that the Pulitzer judges love—and it also happens to be one hell of an exciting show.
— TERRY TEACHOUT, Wall Street Journal


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Julie Taymor

At Theatre for A New Audience October 19, 2013 – January 12, 2014

Julie Taymor, Tony Award winner for direction of The Lion King, stages Shakespeare’s joyous comedy about the universal theme of love and its complications: lust, disappointment, confusion, marriage. A Midsummer Night’s Dream brilliantly conjoins four intertwined stories: the marriage of the Athenian Duke Theseus to the Amazon queen Hippolyta; the warring Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies; the madcap follies of four lovers in a forest; and the comically earnest efforts of a group of working men to stage a love-play for the royal wedding. They are all fair game for mischievous Puck who scrambles their desires as the the otherworldly night of confusion, passion and diligence proves oddly momentous, touching every life to the quick. Taymor’s vision will be a fantasia of light and shadow. The stage will breathe with the miraculous charms and powerful illusions of love.

Of the four, only Helena (Mandi Masden) seems to be an actual young woman, unconstrained by category. [Taymor] allows the spurned girl the production’s only moment of fully human emotion: the unbearable realization that Demetrius, who has spent the play rejecting her vilely, really really likes her.
— JESSE GREEN, Vulture


By August Wilson

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

At The Pershing Square Signature Theatre October 30, 2012 - January 20, 2013

Signature returns to the rich body of work of its 2006/07 Playwright-in-Residence August Wilson with a new production of his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson. In Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1936, the Charles family battle their surroundings and each other over their shared legacy -- an antique piano. The fourth play of August Wilson’s epic Century Cycle, The Piano Lesson is a stunning and moving drama of family, history, and survival.

This immensely satisfying show, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson...brings a timely reminder of how consoling, how restorative, how emotionally sustaining great theater can be. [When] performed with the commitment and artistry that Mr. Santiago-Hudson and his cast bring to this production, you never want the sweet, sad music to end.