Set in Washington, D.C. in 1835, OUR MAN BEVERLY SNOW chronicles the events surrounding a race riot that crippled the nation’s capitol and sheds light on how freedom of speech, the abolitionist movement and the determination of a people in bondage shaped the nation.
It is also a play about food. Food isn't only about nourishment and fuel. Food brings people together at times of celebration and mourning. Food teaches you about a people the way music, language and art does. We can keep all kinds of secrets and rewrite history, but what you eat and how you eat it reveals your truth. My mother is a wonderful cook. She makes delicious meals from scratch with fresh herbs and vegetables from our garden. When the sweet and savory aromas permeated the air, my brother, sister and I sped up our chores, abandoned our studies or happily set playtime aside to gather around the kitchen table to eat. Other times, we'd be at her side stealing tastes and watching her transform carefully selected ingredients into culinary masterpieces.
The title character, Beverly Snow, is a masterful chef and savvy owner of the Epicurean Eating House, a lively and popular restaurant that offered patrons a new way of dining. Nicely situated at the corner of 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the Epicurean was a Parisian-style restaurant with private tables, not the common table that had people reaching over one another for food. Snow also created an elegant and extensive menu with a variety of European influenced foods whereas diners were accustomed to a choice of just one or two meals. The Centre Market was located just a stone's throw away between Seventh and Ninth streets, so fresh ingredients were always on hand. What's more, the Epicurean was open from lunch through dinner and into the evening, which was not the norm at the time. Snow even catered large events and advertised new dishes in the widely read newspaper, the Telegraph. He was a brilliant and wildly successful entrepreneur ahead of his time and that can sometimes be a dangerous thing. Click here to learn more about the Snow Riot.
It's been fun to explore the world of Washington, DC in the mid 1800s. I'm excited about tonight's reading and look forward to learning more about the characters and the world of the play.
Active Cultures presents a staged reading of
OUR MAN BEVERLY SNOW by Jacqueline E. Lawton
as part of the annual Diving Board Festival
Directed by Colin Grube
Dramaturgy by Otis Ramsey-Zoe
Featuring Maryam Foye, Eric Humphries, James J. Johnson, Julian Elijah Martinez, Dane Petersen, Colin Smith, Dawn Ursula and David Lamont Wilson
About the play
With a Parisian flare and a taste for elegance, Beverly Snow, owner of the popular Epicurean Eating House, dished out a healthy dose of wit, a decent pour of ale, and such delicacies as green turtle soup, fried oysters and West Indian jellies to Washington’s high society and political elite. Five dollars had bought his freedom and after five long years, Snow had achieved a level of success unmatched by his peers. All was going well for this hard-working free man of color until one fateful night in the fall of 1835. A young slave entered his owner’s bedroom wielding an ax and a surging wave of violence and destruction makes its way to the Epicurean Eating House. Suddenly, Snow finds himself embroiled in racial, political and social upheaval in this mid-19th century drama.
Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm
Old Parish House, located at 4711 Knox Road College Park, MD
Metro Station: College Park Metro (Green).
Click here for directions and parking information.
When this play goes into production, I'm going to create a cookbook of favorite recipes from our cast and artistic/production team. For now, here's some delicious food for thought from today's Artistic Team and Cast:
Our Man Beverly Snow Artistic Team
Your favorite meal to cook: Salmon tacos, black beans, rice and guacamole
Your favorite meal to eat: Salmon burger, kale, and brown rice
Your favorite meal from childhood: Mama's pizza and enchilada's and Papa's bar-b-que.
Your favorite dessert: mango sorbet or plain mangos
Your favorite drink or cocktail:
JACQUELINE E. LAWTON (Playwright) received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em Horns!), where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She participated in the Kennedy Center’s Playwrights’ Intensive (2002) and World Interplay (2003). She is the author of Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied;Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; Ira Aldridge: the African Roscius; Lions of Industry, Mothers of Invention; Love Brothers Serenade, and Mad Breed. Her work has been developed and presented at the following venues: Active Cultures, Classical Theater of Harlem, Folger Shakespeare Library, theHegira, Howard University, Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, Rorschach Theater Company, Savannah Black Heritage Festival (Armstrong Atlantic State University), Shakespeare Theatre Company, Source Theatre Festival, Theater J, and Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. She is published in Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project(University of Texas Press). She is a 2012 TCG Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color award recipient. She has been nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize and a PONY Fellowship from the Lark New Play Development Center. She was named one of 30 of the nation's leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute. She resides in Washington, D.C.
Your favorite meal to cook: Thanksgiving turkey, or dinner
Your favorite meal to eat: Buffalo wings and beer.
Your favorite meal from childhood: My mom's spaghetti
Your favorite dessert: Tiramisu
Your favorite drink or cocktail: Scotch
COLIN GRUBE (Director) is an actor/director in the DC Metro area. He has received training in Pittsburgh, PA, San Francisco, CA and Greensboro, NC. Recent work includes acting and directing with Flying V, on camera work with Investigation Discovery and the upcoming Netflix series HOUSE OF CARDS. In addition, he makes ends meet doing technical work throughout the region. He has worked at Adventure Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre and Olney theatre. Most of the time, he spends with his wife and son.
OTIS CORTEZ RAMSEY-ZOE
Your favorite meal to cook: vegetable fried rice
Your favorite meal to eat: anything prepared by Carmen W., Tuyet P., or George F.
You favorite meal from childhood: love cornbread; anything with cornbread especially buttermilk & cornbread
Your favorite dessert: tiramisu, fruit, or popcorn
Your favorite cocktail or drink: mint julep and dark & stormy
OTIS CORTEZ RAMSEY-ZOE (Dramaturg) is a Lecturer of Theatre Arts at Howard University, Future Classics Program Coordinator at The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Series Editor for NoPassport Press’s Dreaming the Americas Series, a freelance dramaturg, and a Company Member of banished? productions. He has developed new works with such organizations as The Sundance Institute, Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Centerstage and Black Women Playwrights’ Group and by such writers as Colman Domingo, Tarell McCraney, Noah Haidle, Kirsten Greenidge and Tim Acito. He has directed readings including Jacqueline E. Lawton’s The Hampton Years and Blood-bound and Tongue-tied, James Webb’s The Contract and David Emerson Toney’s Kingdom. Previously, he was Literary Manager and First Look Coordinator at Centerstage and an Allen Lee Hughes Dramaturgy and Literary Senior Fellow at Arena Stage. Mr. Ramsey-Zöe holds degrees from New York University and the University of Notre Dame.
Our Man Beverly Snow Cast
Your favorite meal to cook: Fried Chicken Cutlets, Sweet Yams, Fried Mac and Cheese, Sauteed Spinach
Your favorite meal to eat: Turkey Necks, Rice and Gravy and Collards
Your favorite meal from childhood: Turkey Necks Rice and Gravy and Collards Pan fried cornmeal cakes
Your favorite dessert: Any Cheesecake
Your favorite cocktail or drink: Anything Bourbon with water with a splash of simple syrup... when I'm feeling fancy I make a mint julep
MARYAM F. FOYE (Julia Snow) is a North Carolina native living in and loving the metro DC area. She is a classically trained actress through studies at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Negro Ensemble Company and PATStudio of DC. She has performed with the African Continuum Theater Co., Negro Ensemble Company, TheHegira Project, Syngery Playback theater and more. Her most notable portrayal to date was her role as Angel in the Pearl Cleage classic "Blues for an Alabama Sky". Maryam is an inspired playwright and emerging director. Her one act play Hidden Words, was produced for the DC Black 'Seeking Serenity' is currently being workshopped for a second reading in May. Maryam is also the heart behind the Hissing Black Cat. An initiative geared to launch in the Summer of 2013. This program is focusing on woman ages 14-24, and hopes to offer social, workforce development and life skills using theater and other forms of art as teaching method
Your favorite meal to cook: Chicken Parmesan
Your favorite meal to eat: Brunch at this New Orleans restaurant where I consume Fried French Toast sprinkled with powdered sugar and a strawberry with eggs and sausage
Your favorite meal from childhood: My grand pops famous chili
Your favorite dessert: Mango and sticky rice
Your favorite cocktail or drink: Framboiuse Lambic beer
ERIC HUMPHRIES (Constable Jeffers) DC AREA: Folger Theatre: Henry VIII, Orestes; Howard University: Soldiers Story; Source Festival: X-Ray Vision at the Motel Nine; Keegan Theatre: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Alone It Stands (Helen Hayes Nomination – Best Ensemble); Active Cultures Theatre: Mad Breed; Synetic Theatre: Animal Farm; Maryland Shakespeare Festival: Hamlet, Two Gentlemen of Verona: Franklin Park Shakespeare Festival: The Tempest. Television: America’s Most Wanted, HBO pilot The Washingtonienne. EDUCATION: University of Maryland-College Park, 2006, Performance.
JAMES J. JOHNSON
Your favorite meal to cook: Chili
Your favorite meal to eat: Hot dogs
Your favorite meal from childhood: Ham and my late grandmother's mac & cheese.
Your favorite dessert: Peanut Butter & Chocolate cheesecake
Your favorite cocktail or drink: Root beer.
JAMES J. JOHNSON (Reverend Frank Cook) is always honored to read a new Jacqueline Lawton play. He is currently onstage at the Kennedy Center, in The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. Past stage credits include: Ruined (Arena Stage); Teddy Roosevelt and the Ghostly Mistletoe (Kennedy Center); P. Nokio, Lyle the Crocodile, Zomo the Rabbit, and Junebug and the Reverend (Imagination Stage); Neglect (Journeyman Theatre); The Unmentionables (Woolly Mammoth Theatre); As You Like It, Buffalo Hair, Wedding Dance, and Kingdom (African-Continuum Theatre Co.); Member of the Wedding (Ford’s Theatre); Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night (Maryland Shakespeare Festival); Anna Lucasta (Rep Stage); Stonewall Country and Macbeth (Theatre at Lime Kiln). NYC credits include: Richard III (Take Wing and Soar Productions); All’s Well That Ends Well (Tattooed Potato); The Meeting (Paul Robeson Theatre). Film/TV credits include: The New ‘N’ Word, The Henchman’s War, Nocturnal Agony, When Life Gives You Shoestrings, Indigo Heart, Too Saved, Eleven, America’s Most Wanted, Kid Fitness, and Eebee’s Adventures. James is also a founding member of Galvanize, a local support network for theatre artists of color.
JULIAN ELIJAH MARTINEZ
Your favorite meal to cook: Steak
Your favorite meal to eat: Hamburger and fries
Your favorite meal from childhood: Thanksgiving, the entire event
Your favorite dessert: Berry cobbler with a side of ice cream
Your favorite drink or cocktail: Dark and Stormy
JULIAN ELIJAH MARTINEZ (Arthur Bowen) is a teaching artist based in Washington DC and a graduate of Elon University. Upcoming: The Hampton Years (Theater J). DC Credits include: Locomotion (John F. Kennedy Center); Jekyll and Hyde (Synetic Theater Company); Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, Cymbeline, and A Midsummer Nights Dream (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); and Lyme Park (the Hegira). Regional Credits include: Hamlet and All's Well That Ends Well (Orlando Shakespeare Theater) and Man of La Mancha (Hangar Theater). julianelijahmartinez.com
Your favorite meal to cook: jambalaya (I use a box - I'm not a magician)
Your favorite meal to eat: whatever I'm eating at that moment
Your favorite meal from childhood: fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn on the cob
Your favorite dessert: chocolate fudge brownie ice cream
Your favorite cocktail or drink: gin and tonic
DANE PETERSON (ANDREW LAUB) has been acting in the DC area for about eight years. He has appeared on stage at Venus Theatre, 1st Stage, Keegan Theatre and others, and in multiple Fringe festivals. And he really digs doing play readings. Originally from Kansas CIty, Dane studied at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.
Favorite meal to cook: Grilled Salmon
Favorite meal to eat: Chicken Tikka Masala
Favorite meal from childhood: Raw oysters with cocktail sauce.
Favorite dessert: Angel Food cake with vanilla ice cream and strawberries.
Favorite drink: Jack and diet coke.
COLIN SMITH (Reuben Crandall) has appeared at Theatre J as the understudy for Crick in Photograph51. He is a company member with Keegan Theatre where his acting credits include: August Osage County (Bill), Spring Awakening (Swing), Twelve Angry Men (Juror 8), The Crucible (Reverend Paris; Ireland/US), Noises Off (Tim), The Graduate (Mr. Robinson), Dancing at Lughnasa (Michael), Translations (Manus; Helen Hayes nomination-outstanding ensemble), Glengarry Glen Ross (Williamson; Ireland/US) and others. Other D.C. credits include productions with The Washington Shakespeare Company, Forum Theatre, American Century Theatre, Charter Theatre and Journeyman Theatre. His directing credits include Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Keegan Theatre) and Fool for Love (Keegan Theatre; Ireland/US). Colin is a graduate of St. John’s College, The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and The Actors Repertory Theatre.
Your favorite meal to cook: Good ole-fashioned, southern, throw down: fry some chicken and gizzards (yes I did), some collards, some candied yams and maybe a home-made corn pudding, like when you scrape the corn off the actual ear (then add a can of cream corn, cause scraping gets old quick)
Your favorite meal to eat: I do appreciate a good steak or some fabulous shellfish
Your favorite meal from childhood: Probably spaghetti
Your favorite dessert: Many favorites depending on mood: chocolate lava, creme brulee, triple leche, scoop of dulce de leche ice cream, Auntie Sheila's home made chocolate cake, eaten hot with the home made icing still dripping.....I have a sweet tooth
Your favorite cocktail or drink: cosmo or a sweet wine wine
DAWN URSULA (Maria Bowen) was last seen Round House: Next Fall, A Wrinkle in Time; Woolly Mammoth (company member): Clybourne Park, Eclipsed, The Unmentionables, The Velvet Sky, Starving. Everyman Theatre (company member): A Raisin in the Sun, Two Rooms, Doubt, Gem of the Ocean, Yellowman, Much Ado About Nothing, Light up the Sky; Hangar Theatre: The Piano Lesson; Baltimore Shakespeare Festival: Taming of the Shrew; Rep Stage: Anna Lucasta, Butterfingers Angel…,; ACTCo: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone; True Colors Theatre Company: Flyin’ West; The Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy for Classical Acting: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Much Ado About Nothing; The Kennedy Center: Shear Madness, Mermaids, Monsters…, and Unleashed…. TV credits include HBO’s The Wire and the PBS documentary, Prince Among Slaves. Dawn has received a Helen Hayes Nomination for Clybourne Park and Baltimore City Paper's 2011 & 2008 “Best Actress” Award and 2005 Best Production for Yellowman. Dawn received her BA from UVA and her MFA from The Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy For Classical Acting at The George Washington University, and is also a founding member of Galvanize.
DAVID LAMONT WILSON
Your favorite meal to cook: baked salmon, asparagus
Your favorite meal to eat: baked salmon, asparagus
Your favorite meal from childhood: lasagna
Your favorite dessert: strawberry shortcake
Your favorite cocktail or drink: whiskey sour
DAVID LAMONT WILSON (Beverly Snow) is thrilled to have the privilege of working on this exciting new work by Jacqueline Lawton. Mr. Wilson was last seen performing Factory 449’s Washington premier of “The Saint Plays” and “All That Glitters” for Restoration Stage. Favorite productions include roles in the critically acclaimed Charter Theatre production of “Am I Black Enough Yet?”, “The Oedipus Plays” at The Shakespeare Theatre, “Heaven” and “Big Love” for the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, “American Buffalo”, “Inns & Outs” and “Edmond” at Source Theatre; “Invisible Disability” and “The Boy Who Walked Backwards” at the Kennedy Center; and the European Tours of “The Cutting Edge” for Imagination Stage and “Julie” for Scena Theatre. His resume also includes productions at Arena Stage, Olney Theatre, and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, as well as a featured role on NBC's award winning Homicide: Life On the Streets and HBO's The Wire. He is currently shooting the new independent film “Flesh To Flesh” by Lee Hayes, and can be seen later this season in “The Saint Plays” for Factory 449. David would like to thank Daniel Wallace for bringing additional sunshine into his existence!
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!