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Press Release: Nina Simone: Four Women

SOUTH COAST REPERTORY OPENS ADVENTUROUS 2022-23 THEATRE SEASON WITH NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN

Powerful Play Featuring Music of the Iconic Singer Turned Civil Rights Activist Runs Oct. 2-23

COSTA MESA, Calif. (Sept. 19, 2022)—She was known as one of the 20th century’s most powerful and impactful voices, not only as a singer, but also as a voice for the silent. South Coast Repertory (Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei) opens the 2022-23 season with Nina Simone: Four Women by Christina Ham Oct. 2-23 on the Julianne Argyros Stage.Tickets are available now at www.scr.org.

Directed by Logan Vaughn, who helmed SCR’s Pacific Playwrights Festival’s reading of Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life last spring, Nina Simone: Four Women tells the story behind the iconic singer fulfilling her pledge that “An artist’s responsibility is to reflect the times.”

Following the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. that killed four young girls, Simone shifted her considerable talents to activism. The result was some of the most powerful, impactful civil rights anthems ever written. Ham’s intensely personal play with music takes theatregoers into how the iconic chanteuse gave voice to countless other Black women fighting to overcome stereotypes and racism.

Nina Simone: Four Women includes many of Simone’s most forceful and gripping songs, including “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” “Go Limp” and “Mississippi Goddam.”

“Nina Simone was deeply talented, hugely ground-breaking and fiercely independent, and through Christina Ham’s amazing script, Nina’s talents and passion to see the world reflected back to her are on full display,” Ivers said. “With the gifted direction of Logan Vaughn, you’ll hear and see a powerhouse cast tell Nina’s story through the eyes of four Black women. It’s an honor to have this cast of four women and one amazing piano player who share Nina’s metaphoric DNA on our stage.”

“We look forward to welcoming audiences back to our Costa Mesa home and kicking off a season of adventurous, passionate theatre,” Tomei said.  “Our 2022-23 season offers great options for every theatregoer and we are immensely grateful to the audience for joining us on this journey.”

Nina Simone: Four Women features Chibuba Osuala (Nina Simone), Meredith Noël (Sweet Thing), Arie Bianca Thompson (Sephronia), Jennifer Leigh Warren (Sarah) and Richard Baskin Jr. (Sam Waymon). All but Warren, who earned critical praise for her performance in the 2000 production of The Education of Randy Newman, are making their SCR debuts.

A prolific and versatile writer, Ham recently signed an overall deal with Universal Content Production. This came on the heels of her work as a supervising producer on “Westworld.” Previously, Ham served as a co-producer on “Sweet Tooth” for Netflix/Team Downey/Warner Bros. She spent two seasons on “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” for Warner Bros./Netflix. Her plays have been produced nationally and internationally at The Kennedy Center, Center Theatre Group, Guthrie Theater, Goodman Theatre, off-Broadway at Theatre Row, The Market Theatre in South Africa and the Tokyo International Arts Festival, among others.

Ham’s theatre for young audiences play Four Little Girls, Birmingham 1963 was performed in front of a sold-out audience at The Kennedy Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

The design and creative team include Baskin as musical director; Jack Magaw, set design; Jessica Ford, costume design; Christine A. Binder, lighting design; Everett Elton Bradman, sound design; Yee Eun Nam, projections design, Kevin Boseman, choreographer, and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting director. Maisie Chan is the production manager and Randall K. Lum is the production stage manager.

Nina Simone: Four Women received generous support from Honorary Producers Timothy and Marianne Kay/Argyros Family Foundation, Mickey and Nickie Williams and the U.S. Bank Foundation, which serves as the Corporate Honorary Producer.

Tickets are now on sale and range in price from $32 to $105, with additional discounts available for educators, seniors and theatregoers ages 25 and under. Tickets may be purchased online at www.scr.org or by phone at (714) 708-5555. More information is available at www.scr.org.


Related Information for Nina Simone: Four Women


Performance Dates, Times

  • Previews run Sunday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, Wednesday, Oct. 5 and Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:45 p.m.
  • Regular performances

    Note: Friday, Oct. 7, is an invitation-only performance.
    • Evening Performances:
      • Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:45 p.m.
    • Matinees:
        • Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.: Oct. 8-9, 15-16, 22-23
        • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m.

Special Events

  • Post-Show Discussions:Tuesday, Oct. 4, (Director/Designer Conversation with Logan Vaughn and members of the design team). Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 16 (Actor Conversation with members of the cast). Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Deep Dive, where audience members share their thoughts about the play in a respectful discussion hosted by SCR’s artistic staff). Thursday, Oct. 20 (Performance Perspective into the theme of Nina Simone: Four Women with members of SCR’s artistic staff). All discussions take place after the play on the Julianne Argyros Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, Oct. 15, from, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively 90-minute session includes in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from the production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production of Nina Simone: Four Women. Segerstrom Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

2022-23 Productions: Nina Simone: Four Women, Oct. 2-23; (Theatre for Young Audiences and Families) Snow White, Nov. 4-20; A Christmas Carol, Nov. 26-Dec. 24; The Little Foxes, Jan. 29-Feb. 26, 2023; Appropriate, Jan. 28-Feb. 26, 2023; Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, April 8-May 6, 2023; Coleman ’72, April 23-May 14, 2023. The annual showcase of new works, the Pacific Playwrights Festival, runs May 5-7, 2023.

Complete information is available at www.scr.org.


ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY:  Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern plays and musicals, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program—The [email protected]—which includes one of the nation’s largest commissioning programs for emerging, mid-career and established writers. Of SCR’s more than 500 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org

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