SEED, the award-winning play written by Radha Blank and directed by Niegel Smith, had its world and Off-Broadway premiere on Friday at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. The powerful piece is one of two works that the National Endowment of the Arts awarded a $90,000 grant to in 2010 under its New Play Development Program. Presented by the OBIE award-winning Classical Theatre of Harlem (Ty Jones, producing director) and Hip-Hop Theater Festival (Clyde Valentín, executive director and Kamilah Forbes, artistic director), SEED drew Hollywood and Harlem stars. The evening was sponsored by Harlem Park to Park Association and WNYC.
Among the stars attending the Opening Night festivities, which began with a benefit reception at Red Rooster Harlem restaurant, were playwright Katori Hall and director Kenny Leon, whose Broadway show, The Mountain Top, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett is soon to open. Actor Frankie Faison, Tony-winning Broadway choreographer George Faison, actor Larry Pine, spoken word artist Lemon Andersen and famed “B-boy” Ken Swift were also in attendance. They joined Blank, Smith, Jones, Valentín and Forbes, as well as Sade Lythcott, National Black Theatre CEO and Nabii Faison, National Black Theatre managing director.
Guests mingled with cast members Jocelyn Bioh, Khadim Diop, Bridgit Antoinette Evans, Jamie Lincoln Smith and Pernell Walker at a post-performance reception.
SEED runs at the National Black Theatre through October 9. For more information, visit www.seedtheplay.com.