MAMA

A world premiere by Carleton Bluford
February 12-22, 2015
SOLD OUT!

A celebration of mothers and motherhood.

The first world premiere by an African-American playwright in Utah history.

Part of the Edward Lewis Black Theatre Festival and Black History Month. Winner of the inaugural Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists.

Featuring Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, William Cooper Howell, Latoya Rhodes and Elizabeth Summerhays. Directed by Jerry Rapier.

Winner, Best of Utah Arts Awards for Best Original Play and Best Theatre Production, City Weekly

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Actor Latoya Rhodes on performing in MAMA and rehearsing A/VERSION OF EVENTS

Latoya Rhodes has previously appeared in Plan-B’s HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (10th anniversary revival), SLAM and the Free Elementary School Tour of DIFFERENT=AMAZING. She is currently appearing in MAMA and in rehearsal for A/VERSION OF EVENTS. “Guess what they have at the Pennsylvania Wawa? Éclairs mama!” Wait? Was that the line? It has been interesting balancing running MAMA performances at night and rehearsing A/VERSION OF EVENTS during the day. I remember everyone telling me to make sure I don’t start reciting lines from A/VERSION during MAMA. Thus far, I’ve  achieved keeping the shows separate, and have not merged them together . . .  yet! Last Monday the chaos began for me with daytime rehearsals for A/VERSION OF EVENTS and  evening performances of MAMA. Because of the energy of starting a new play my energy was bright, alert, and ready to dive into the piece. To connect with the material, and start getting into the shoes of Hannah. Also, thinking in the back of my mind, “We open MAMA this week!!!” So my energy probably was everywhere, ready to take on the challenge of putting up two new shows back to back. Thinking to myself, what an honor this is! Along with, what the hell was I thinking! More of the former than the latter. I remember Christy [Summerhays, director of A/VERSION OF EVENTS) asking me if I was exhausted. I oddly was not! I was extremely pumped. In MAMA I play all the daughters in the scenes and in A/VERSION OF EVENTS I’m playing a woman struggling with the idea of being or becoming a mother because a...

Thoughts from some of the real-life people portrayed in MAMA

        Carleton Bluford’s MAMA receives its world premiere February 12-22 at Plan-B, featuring Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, William Cooper Howell, Latoya Rhodes and Elizabeth Summerhays, directed by Jerry Rapier. Click here for tickets, press and more information. Below are responses from some of the real-life people portrayed in MAMA (opening tonight!) who were able to attend a preview earlier this week. I’m sitting in my car with tears still running down my cheeks. MAMA is the best piece of theatre I have had the joy of watching in a very long time. The actors are superb storytellers of Carleton’s wonderful script. As a Mom I saw bits and pieces of me (and my Mom) in every scene. The play moved fluidly like silk! Perfection is the only word to describe MAMA. A simple set, great lighting, excellent job by every single actor, the director and Carleton for sharing his story with us.I was truly moved! Thank you! – Kande Shackelford I wasn’t sure what to expect but my friend and I were pleasantly surprised. I can honestly say that this play was beyond what I thought it was going to be and evoked emotions in me I didn’t even know I had for my own Mom. You see what others have gone through and it makes you appreciate your Mom even more. I thought there was a great balance of humor, humility, love and devotion in the show. The best part is that Carleton wanted to honor all mothers and not just his own. It’s a tribute to the kind of man that he is. Selfless, kind and appreciative. I loved...

ICYMI: All the preview press for MAMA, opening tomorrow!

Below are links to the preview press coverage of Carleton Bluford’s MAMA, running February 12-22 at Plan-B. MAMA is the first play in partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists and the first world premiere in Utah history by an African-American playwright. ByKennethJones Catalyst Magazine Gavin’s Underground Salt Lake Magazine Standard-Examiner The Salt Lake Tribune The Utah Review UtahTheatreBloggers   Carleton Bluford’s MAMA receives its world premiere February 12-22 at Plan-B, featuring Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, William Cooper Howell, Latoya Rhodes and Elizabeth Summerhays, directed by Jerry Rapier. Click here for tickets, press and more...

Elizabeth Summerhays reflects on her own Mama as we prepare to open MAMA

Elizabeth Summerhays makes her Plan-B debut in MAMA running February 12-22, 2015. Attempting to capture my own mother’s influence in my life is like trying to articulate the influence my limbs have had on me – it’s hard to isolate or pinpoint the ways she has shaped who I am. My mother had eight children; I am number seven. In addition to raising her children, to help my dad make ends meet my mom also taught piano, ran a day care, and formed a singing group for neighborhood kids. In stark contrast to my dad and her children, my mother is a quiet, shy, unassuming, enigmatic woman, and a bit of a loner. When I look back at how my mother raised me independent of my siblings, I realize why I became such a free spirit. I used to think that her hands-off approach as I grew up was because she was tired by the time my younger sister and I came along. However, as an adult I can see that there was a method to her parenting that suited my own unique personality and shaped the way I approach this world. When I ask her why she let me wear the same weird outfit to school four days in a row, or why she didn’t say anything to me when my teacher called her in because I would read books in class instead of doing the assignment, she tells me it was because she “didn’t want to stifle my creativity.” Though I scold my mom for this and joke about how I would have liked a little more...

Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin reflects on her own Mama at the end of the second week of MAMA rehearsal

Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin has previously appeared in Plan-B’s THE THIRD CROSSING, NOTHING PERSONAL and SLAM. She plays all the Mamas in MAMA running February 12-22, 2015. When Carleton Bluford’s call for stories about mothers first came across my Facebook feed, I thought about submitting, but then I couldn’t drill down to to one watershed moment of maternal relations on one post. Also life got in the way and I forgot. I am glad that I get a ‘ do over” in this regard. Not only did I get to participate in the first reading of this production but I get to play all the Mamas and, in so doing, I pay homage to my Mama. My Mama is tough as nails yet has the most generous soul. She was the oldest of 8 siblings and became a mother herself at a very young age. Yet somehow she managed to not only help take care of her siblings as well as my brother and me but, growing up, I remember always having people crash at our house for extended periods of time when they were down on their luck. My Mama did not take any crap from anyone. I recall the time we moved into a new neighborhood that three young girls who I had never met came to my house. When I answered the door they started yelling and cursing about how they wanted to kick my butt. I closed the door and went back inside to watch TV with my mother and brother. My mother heard all of the shenanigans and told me that I better go outside and...

William Cooper Howell reflects and his own Mama at the end of the first week of MAMA rehearsal

William Cooper Howell has previously appeared in SLAM 2013 and worked as a directing intern on the 2012 revival of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. He is a senior in the Musical Theatre Program at the University of Utah. At the end of the first week of rehearsal for MAMA, he reflects on his own mother. I think it’s impossible to rehearse a play about mothers and not reflect on her each rehearsal. My mother . . . describing her is . . . how am I supposed to write a short blog post about this woman who shaped my entire life? What would it even mean to you as a reader? Nothing really, because—in most cases—your mother is far more important than mine. And that’s what makes mothers so special…so influential and powerful. It’s as if we’re all houses waiting to be built, and these women are an agency of architects ready to design their perfect home. And no one wants a shitty architect, right? Well, my mom was a fucking genius architect. You can agree or disagree—I don’t really care. What I do care about is Lori Howell. She’s the woman who made me the man that I am today, and I’m about to tell you why. When I was a kid, I had terrible ADHD. Everything was hard to do. I couldn’t concentrate on anything long enough to be good at anything. I felt left out everywhere. School was the worst. I had a “resource” class every day (which was social suicide, btw) and—because of my non-stop doodling, writing, and looking out the window—I had to sit next to...

Carleton Bluford’s MAMA

Carleton Bluford is a member of The Lab at Plan-B, a cadre of 10 local playwrights. He has created roles in Plan-B’s WALLACE by Jenifer Nii, THE THIRD CROSSING by Debora Threedy and MARRY CHRISTMAS by Elaine Jarvik; he will also appear in A/VERSION OF EVENTS by Matthew Ivan Bennett later this season. MAMA, winner of the inaugural Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, is his first full-length  production. Way back in the day, when cell phones had a limit on texting, so ancient times, I helped create a ten-minute play festival at Weber State University. The students wrote their own plays and the thought of creating a different world that someone would see excited me. Larry Dooley then offered a playwriting class and from that melting pot of creation came the student-written, one-act play festival. Obviously, since I had written a full length play and a number of one acts by then, I assumed that I was a playwright and had some passionate and crazy things to say to the people. I immediately found the first company I looked up that focused on new plays and submitted everything I had, all the while expecting to be called post haste because of course, once Jerry Rapier at Plan-B noticed my genius, he’d be more than willing to produce my masterpieces. But he didn’t call. What he did do was cast me in a show and then allow me to do a two-year production and marketing internship with Plan-B, along with a two-year playwriting workshop where I sharpened my pen. I learned a lot...

Playwright Carleton Bluford on MAMA (2014/15 Season, Show #3)

Carleton Bluford is a member of The Lab at Plan-B, a cadre of 9 local playwrights. He has created roles in Plan-B’s WALLACE by Jenifer Nii and THE THIRD CROSSING by Debora Threedy; he will also appear in A/VERSION OF EVENTS later this season.. MAMA, winner of the inaugural Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, is his first professional production. There are a couple of poignant things about MAMA that make it what it is. First is my mother Dawn Bluford. MAMA is a sort of homage to motherhood and her.  She is so much of the reason why I am where I am today and the reason why I’ve done what I’ve done. Without her, I couldn’t be the man that I am. So MAMA is really a way to say to my mother and all mothers, “We may not always say it, but we see what you do, and we thank you!”  We celebrate the sacrifices our mamas make for us on a daily basis that raise all of us to our higher potential. Second is David Fetzer.  His influence was a huge motivation for this play. He was a friend of mine and we talked about the kind of theater he wanted to show people and the kinds of experiences we wanted people to have in the theater. MAMA was written with him in mind and I’d like to think he’d get a kick out of it. I’ve been blessed with one of the most talented casts I could hope for and a company that really cares about our work...

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