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Premiere Stages Returns to Live Programming with Cheryl L. West’s Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It!

originally published: 09/24/2020

Premiere Stages Returns to Live Programming with Cheryl L. West’s Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It!

(UNION, NJ) --  Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Cheryl L. West’s new play Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It!, directed by Marshall Jones III, at the outdoor tent at Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, October 15-18, 2020. Part battle cry, part spiritual, Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It! is a powerful and timely play, with arrangements by Felton Offard, that brings to life civil rights activist Fannie Lou as she leads a rally to fight for voting and racial equality. Her call to action was one that all Americans committed to change needed to hear in the sixties and still resonates today. The two-person Actors' Equity Association cast for Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It! will be announced shortly.

“Fannie Lou Hamer’s message is as relevant today as it was in 1964. And Cheryl could not have picked a better time to champion Fannie and her mission.” stated John J. Wooten, Premiere’s Producing Artistic Director. “I highly encourage anyone who is on the fence about voting to come and join us for this compelling and important new work.”

Cheryl L. West’s plays have been seen on Broadway (Play On!), Off-Broadway and in England as well as numerous regional theaters including: Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Rep Theatre, Arena Stage, Old Globe Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Indiana Rep Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theatre Festival, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, South Coast Rep Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and off‐Broadway’s Manhattan Theatre Club, The Atlantic Theatre, Second Stage and Primary Stages. Her plays include: Shout Sister, Shout!, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963Fannie, Last Stop on Market Street, Akeelah and the Bee, Pullman Porter Blues, Motherhood Out Loud (co-author); Addie, American Girl Story (21-city tour); and Jar the Floor. She has written TV and film projects at Disney, Paramount, MTV Films, Showtime, TNT, HBO, CBS and is the Webby-nominated writer for the original web series Diary of a Single Mom

For the last 13 years, Marshall Jones was the Producing Artistic Director for the Tony® Award-winning Crossroads Theatre Company where he navigated the theater through a wide variety of challenges such as surviving the Great Recession, producing Crossroads on the Road for 2 seasons, and opening the new state-of-the-art theater facility, the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center where he directed the complex’s inaugural production – Paul Robeson by Phillip Hayes Dean. At Crossroads, he directed Nikkole Salter’s Repairing a Nation, which also was recorded for TV broadcast on WNET’s Theater Close-Up Series.  In the spring of 2018, Marshall served as the Creative Consultant (replacement director) for the Off Broadway production of LITTLE ROCK, about the famed Little Rock Nine of 1957, which received NY Times Critic Pick.  He enjoys working with writers and has directed numerous world premieres including: White Lilies by Walter Mosley, Beyond the Oak Trees about Harriet Tubman and the satirical political comedy Back to the Real by Pia Wilson.

Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It! runs October 15-18 at the outdoor tent at Liberty Hall Museum on the Kean University campus in Union, N.J. The show runs 60 minutes without an intermission. Performances take place Thursday and Friday at 7:00 pm, Saturday at 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, and Sunday at 3:00 pm. All tickets are $20 standard. Tickets are limited to 70 seats per performance. There is a ticket limit of four (4) tickets per transaction and addresses for all attendees is required at the time of purchase. All tickets must be purchased in advance, no tickets will be sold at the door. Ticket holders will be required to wear masks throughout the production. All guests will have their temperature checked inside their cars upon arrival. All seats will be arranged with social distancing guidelines in place. Only patrons who travel together will be able to sit together. 



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Premiere Stages and the Liberty Hall Museum will offer supplemental activities, including exhibits and Q & A’s as part of the experience. To learn more and to purchase tickets, please visit Premiere Stages online.  Assistive listening devices and sign-interpretation are available upon request; please call 908-737-4077 at least two weeks prior to your desired performance. 

 Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, Actors’ Equity Foundation, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

 Premiere Stages is committed to producing topical plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, religious groups, gender identities, ages, abilities, disabilities and sexual preferences. 



Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. 



Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral degree programs and more than 80 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education.  


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