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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

New Play Reveals Little Known Story of the Black Civil Rights Movement During World War II

Preston Butler III and Tara Strong Lyons in The Double V

Preston Butler III and Tara Strong Lyons in The Double V

Los Angeles, CA — The multi-award-winning team that brought you When Jazz Had the Blues returns with Playwright Carole Eglash-Kosoff’s new original play. The Double V, directed by Michael Arabian, will be at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles.

Produced by Leigh Fortier, The Double V is about activism, a dramatization of true events. How a simple letter to a newspaper initiated a series of changes that gave Black Americans their first taste of equality in a society that had always denigrated them. The Double V campaign, early in the years of World War II, campaigned for both Victory in the war and Victory in the battles for racial equality in the United States.

Written by Carole Eglash-Kosoff
Directed by Michael Arabian
Scenic Design by John Iacovelli
Produced by Leigh Fortier
Lighting Design by Jared A. Sayeg
Costume Design by Dana Rebecca Woods
Music Preparation / Sound Design by Christopher Moscatiello
Projection Design by Fritz Davis
Publicity by Kuker & Lee PR

Nic Few* – Ira Lewis
Brie Eley* – Marjorie “Madge” Evans
Preston Butler III* – James “Jimmy” Thompson
Terra Strong Lyons – Annie Culver
Cary Thompson – Frank Bolden, Clem Thompson
Joe Coffey* – Charlie Simpson, J. Edgar Hoover
Jamal Henderson – Joe Bibb Chris Thompson
John Apicella* – William “Biff” Trent

* Proud Member of Actor’s Equity

The Double V opens at Matrix Theatre (7657 Melrose Avenue, 90046) on Friday, Oct. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 24. Performances are on Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm. Running time: 100 minutes. The press is invited to review any performance. Ticket prices are $40 (VIP Reserved $50, Students $20 (groups of 8 or more email doublevgroup@onstage411.com).

Purchase tickets online at: www.OnStage411.com/doublev
Phone Reservation line is: 323-960-7776


CAROLE EGLASH-KOSOFF – (Playwright) lives and writes in Valley Village, California. The Double V is the historic follow up to her multi-award-winning production of When Jazz Had the Blues. She has also published five books and wrote and directed an award-winning short documentary, The Life & Art of David Labkovski. In 2006, following the deaths of her husband, mother, and brother in a single month, she traveled to South Africa to teach in the Black townships and pen her first book, The Human Spirit – Apartheid’s Unheralded Heroes which was later produced as a play at the Odyssey Theatre garnering favorable reviews. Her second novel, When Stars Align, a historical fiction novel, dealt with the love of a mixed-race boy and a white girl in the turbulent era after the Civil War became her second play. Winds of Change, her third novel, continued that saga. Sex, Drugs, & Fashion, her next book, fictionalized the decades she spent working in the apparel industry. Her fifth book, By One Vote, is dramatized non-fiction, telling twelve true stories of events in American history, shaped by a single vote. Carole graduated from UCLA, has visited nearly seventy countries and oversees the A Better Way Scholarship Program that grants scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

Michael Arabian has directed (both in New York and Los Angeles) numerous world premieres, winning over 50 awards. A Producer, Director, Writer, and Teacher, he also founded Theatre InSite at CBS Studios-Radford, forming a partnership with CBS to produce site-specific environmental theatre and develop shows for film and TV, utilizing their back lot and sound stages.

Michael now runs InSite Productions, an independent company that develops and writes projects, at time collaborating with other writers and producers in Theatre, Film, and TV.

His production of Waiting For Godot at the Mark Taper Forum was honored with five Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, including outstanding production and direction; was nominated for 10 Ovation awards, winning five, including best production and was cited as one of the ten most memorable productions of 2012 seen in either New York or L.A. by Los Angeles Times critic Charles McNulty, who called it a ”luminous revival.”

In addition to the Mark Taper, he has directed at such theaters as the Roundabout in New York, the Getty Villa, San Diego Rep, Laguna Playhouse, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, Rogue Machine, Odyssey Theatre, the Hudson, the Actors Studio among others. He has taught many acting and directing programs, most notably at the USC Film School, USC School of Dramatic Arts, Howard Fine Studio, and the L.A. Film School.

LEIGH FORTIER – (Producer)
Plays produced by Leigh have garnered numerous awards, including the recent Best Musical Production Ovation Award for When Jazz Had The Blues, over 20 LA Weekly Awards, 18 NAACP Awards (26 Nominations), three of five GLAAD Media Awards nominations for Best Play in one season (including award recipient Medea, the Musical). Highlights include multiple award winning plays The Talented Tenth directed by Oz Scott and starring Robert Guillaume at the Hudson Avenue Theatre, Up The Mountain by Kevin Arkadie (numerous production awards and LA Times 10 Best), and Kathy and Mo: The Dark Side starring Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney (co-produced with Jimmy Nederlander at the Henry Fonda Theatre). Along with Burn This (directed by Jessica Kubzansky at the Odyssey Theatre), The New Bozena (directed by Rainn Wilson), Walking the Blonde (presented by Kathy Bates and Sharon Gless), Snakebit by David Marshall Grant (nominated for GLAAD Media Award), and the World Premiere Pope Joan for Broadway producer Michael Butler (HAIR). Leigh produced and co-created the hit musical A Gay Christmas Carol (GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Production). Leigh also produced Room 105 (about Janis Joplin) starring Sophie B Hawkins, critically-acclaimed award-winning Serrano The Musical (directed by Joel Zwick with Book and Lyrics by Madeline Sunshine). Other recent critically -acclaimed productions include When Stars Align (Odyssey theatre) and When Jazz Had the Blues (Matrix theatre), and Gruesome Playground Injuries at the Hudson Theatres. Leigh’s upcoming projects include Nature is a Hanging Judge), and a web TV pilot West Bollywood.

JOHN IACOVELLI – (Scenic Designer)
Has created memorable designs for more than 300 plays and musicals at most major theatres in the U.S. including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, Long Wharf Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Center Theatre Group. He is the resident Scenic Designer at the Matrix Theatre. Iacovelli received a primetime Emmy for the broadcast of the Broadway production of Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan. He was the production designer on Ruby in Paradise, starring Ashley Judd, and art director on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! His television credits include The Old Settler starring Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, The Gin Game staring Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, “Babylon 5,” “Ed,” “Resurrection Blvd.” and “Lincoln Heights.” He has an MFA in scenic design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Website: iacovelli.com

JARED A. SAYEG – (Lighting Design) is a five-time Ovation Award nominee and winner of the Ovation, Stage Raw, Garland, and the LADDC Kinetic Lighting Awards. His designs have been seen throughout the U.S., Canada, Spain, and Edinburgh. On-Broadway, he designed the magic spectacle The Illus-ionists and two national tours as well as Bravo Bernstein and Gotham Glory at Carnegie Hall. Regional: Center Theatre Group, Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, 5th Avenue Theatre, Sacramento Music Circus, International City Theatre, Reprise, Laguna Playhouse, Virginia Stage Company, The Colony, and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. West End: he designed Rolling with Laughter at Her Majesty’s Theatre. He was on the design teams for the Broadway productions of PRIMO, The Woman in White, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and the Blithe Spirit national tour starring Angela Lansbury. Other designs include productions for Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Lines, the 2011 NBA All Star Game, LA Lakers at Staples Center, Neil Diamond’s world tour, and the LA Auto Show; he had the honor of lighting Pope Benedict XVI for the Papal Rally in NYC. Jared is principal designer for the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition held every four years and creates the lighting for the nationally touring music group The Company Men. His architectural designs are seen regularly in restaurants and exhibits as well as the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. Member of the International Association on of Lighting Designers and the youngest member to join the United Scenic Artists-Local 829, he serves as a trustee on the executive board. Website: www.jaslighting.com

DANA REBECCA WOODS – (Costume Designer) is happy to be collaborating with Michael Arabian; Carole Eglash Kosoff; Leigh Fortier and the wonderful design team assembled for Double V. Her design work includes The Color Purple directed by Jeffrey Polk; Sheldon Epps’ Blues in the Night at San Francisco’s Post Street Theater; Laguna Playhouse and The Wallis; In the Red and Brown Water at UC Santa Barbara; Shout Sister Shout, Stop Kiss, Above the Fold, Fences, and others for The Pasadena Playhouse; Jitney and Fences at South Coast Repertory. Her film and television designs include Go For Sisters for John Sayles and Watch Over Me for Fox Television. Dana taught at the University of Central Florida and is a member of USA Local 829; Costume Designers Guild Local; and Motion Picture Costumers. She is a Labor Organizer for the Costume Designers Guild and an IATSE Delegate to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. When not designing productions or involved with labor activities, Dana creates teaching artist curriculum for after school programs.

CHRISTOPHER MOSCATIELLO – (Music Preparation/Sound Design) is an award winning sound designer, composer, music editor and music director for theater, television and film. Recent TV credits include The Walking Dead (AMC), Human Target (Fox), EUREKA (SyFy), PSYCH (USA), CAPRICA (SyFy), The Cape (NBC), TRAUMA (NBC), and he has scored full series and specials for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel, as well as specials and promos for HBO, BBC, Animal Planet, MSNBC, AOL/Time Warner, The History Channel, The Learning Channel and ZDF Germany. Theater credits include The Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian Institution, The Folger Shakespeare Theater, Rogue Machine Theatre, Pacific Resident Theatre, The Odyssey Theatre, The Road Theater, and he served as assistant conductor for the national tour of The Phantom Of The Opera.

An East Coast native, Chris spent several years in Boston as Associate Artistic Director and Conductor of the Boston Chamber Ensemble. During that period, he wrote a ballet commissioned by the Kirov Ballet Academy that had its world premier in Washington, DC. Also while on the East Coast, he was the production music director for the theater program at American University, and the supervising composer for The Washington Opera’s Create and Produce program. He also served as Master Sound Engineer for the Washington Folklore Society Folk Festival, Staff Engineer at Wooden Nickel Sound and Recording and as Technical Director for The Stage Door theater program in Arlington, VA.

KUKER & LEE PR – Publicist (Sandra Kuker-Franco & Anita Lee)
Publicists Sandra Kuker-Franco & Anita Lee work as the team, Kuker & Lee PR, providing publicity and marketing service & consultation for theatre, authors & talent. Sandra Kuker’s three-decade career in Los Angeles theatre publicity and marketing is rich with a client list of diversity and many successful campaigns. Anita Lee has over a decade of experience in LA 99-seat theatre with many acclaimed productions both as producer & publicist. Together they bring their personal commitment to each client. Kuker & Lee clients include Sacred Fools, Theatre West, Café Arts, Theatre Asylum, Theatre 68, Projects have included My Child – Mother’s of War, Drop Dead by Billy Van Zandt, Almost, Maine directed by Marty Papazian, I Am Not A Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce starring Ronnie Marmo and Directed by Joe Mantegna, A Time To Kill by John Grisham, Time Stands Still, Theatre West’s The Night Forlorn (or, Waitin’ On Godsford), Bob’s Holiday Office Party, author Bill Ratner of Parenting For The Digital Age, and A WORLD AWAY The Film by Mark Blanchard.


NIC FEW* – (Ira Lewis) is a native of Atlanta, Georgia where he attended and graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a Master’s in Education Administration, and Masters-in-Fine-Arts from Brown University. As a member of the Screen Actors, Nic has been afforded a variety of opportunities in film, television and web series. Among his most recent projects are, ABC’s The Catch, Warner Brothers Picture’s CHIPS and InHale Entertainment & Full Frequency Media’s award-winning short, 90 Days. His past credits include Balls to The Wall, The Undying, The Chadwick Chronicles, TV Land’s The Exes, CBS’s Eleventh Hour, NBC’s Go On, TNT’s Major Crimes and TBS’s Blotter! His regional, national and international theater credits include, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Ceasar, Black Birds, Molière’s Misanthrope, Ends Eve, Sex Acts, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, The Ballad of Emmit Till, Black Nativity, The America Play, Topdog Underdog, Confluence, Measure for Measure, Tartuffe, Tambourines to Glory, Spunk and The Cherry Orchard.

BRIE ELEY – (Marjorie “Madge” Evans) is an actress and content creator from Sugar Land, Texas. After training at Marymount Manhattan College and the British American Drama Academy, she performed onstage regionally and in New York City. Favorites include The Kennedy Center (Brave No World), Actors Theatre of Louisville (The Shaker Chair), Kings County Shakespeare Company (Twelfth Night), and The Classical Theatre of Harlem (Trojan Women). After one blizzard too many she relocated to Los Angeles, where she continues to perform on stage with Jewish Women’s Theatre (True Colors), Skylight Theatre (Obama-ology) and in readings for EST/LA, Antaeus and A Noise Within. Since relocating, she’s appeared on television, in commercials and acted in independent film including Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Brooklyn 99, 2 Broke Girls, the multi-award winning films Night Call and Dekalb Elementary (2018 Oscar nomination, Best Short Film.) As a creator, she has advanced to the finals of the NBC Short Cuts Festival and secured distribution through BET and Amazon Prime. You also might catch her flexing her comedy chops around town at The Pack, Comedy Central Stage, Second City or UCB. Brie is a proud member of Actor’s Equity and SAG-AFTRA. She loves traveling, tequila and tea cup pigs. Thank you to Leigh, Michael, and Carole for the opportunity to honor the reporters of the Pittsburgh Courier and bring Madge to life. http://www.brieeley.com @brieeley

PRESTON BUTLER III – (James “Jimmy” Thompson) Touted by the LA Times as a “physical and emotional power seldom encountered on any stage,” Preston Butler III is a rare triple threat. Butler returns to LA after his performance of ‘Kitch’ in the West Coast Premiere of Pass Over by Antionette Nwandu (She’s Gotta Have It) at ACT in Seattle.

Earlier this year, he also played ‘The Greatest,’ Muhammad Ali in Fetch Clay, Make Man, a play exploring Ali’s friendship with Hollywood’s first Black millionaire, Stepin Fetchit. Butler also starred in The Royale, a play based on the life of the world’s first African American heavyweight champ and Ali’s biggest inspiration, Jack Johnson. Internationally, Butler toured in France with the World Premiere of FORE!, a new play written by the 2018 Obie Award-winner, Aleshea Harris, and performed in a musical drama that he co-created in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Other credits include: Gem of the Ocean (South Coast Rep), Sense and Sensibility (South Coast Rep), Hecuba (Stella Adler Theater), and Cotton Patch Gospel (American Coast Theater). He is a Graduate of MFA Acting Program at the California Institute of the Arts.

TERRA STRONG LYONS – (Annie Culver) is an actor, singer and dancer. She started her career in entertainment at the illustrious School for Creative and Performing Arts high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since the age of 13 she has worked in professional regional and national theatre, mostly musical theatre. Some of her credits include ‘Timoune’ in Once of this Island, Lutiebelle in Ossie Davis’ Broadway Musical Purlie, Fats Waller’s Aint Misbehavin’, High School Musical and Hairspray. Upon high school graduation, Terra moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she joined the world-renowned Jimmy Church Showband and traveled internationally as a headline singer and dancer for 5 years. Terra is also a film actress. This year, she received a nomination for Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series, her first film nomination since moving to Los Angeles 3 years ago, in the 8x Emmy Nominated web series Conversations in LA. This year Terra also starred in the feature film Zoombies 2 as the lead villain ‘Jezel’. Both titles available now on Amazon Prime.

CARY THOMPSON – (Frank Bolden, Clem Thompson)
CARY THOMPSON (Frank Bolden, Clem Thompson) Originally from Chickasha, Oklahoma is thrilled to work with Carole Eglash again,and with Michael Arabian and such a wonderful cast on a work that needs to be broadcast worldwide.”If we don’t remember history we are doomed to repeat it”. Cary is a memeber of The Odyssey’s Koan Group,and The Michael Chekhov Theater Company. Thanks to all for their hard work and dedication. “Laissez lez bons temps rouler”!

JOE COFFEY* – (Charlie Simpson, J. Edgar Hoover) Scottish audiences just saw Joe in the original play titled These Streets at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past August. Recent film credits include East of Middle West, Dark Arrows and Guest of Honor. Commercially, Joe has been one of the faces of the Dodge car company for the past 5 years portraying 1920s Detroit auto-founder, Horace Dodge. He is represented by Eileen O’Farrell Management, 90210 Talent and Abrams Artists Agency. For more on Joe, please visit joecoffey.com. soli Deo gloria.

JAMAL HENDERSON – (Joe Bibb, Chris Thompson) is new to the theater world, with his introduction coming during the Hollywood Fringe Festival, where he originated his role of Ricky Beats in and Encore award winning original play, No More Toys, written and directed by Pierce Minor. His on screen credits include his starring role as Davonte in the film South Central Love, currently traveling the festival circuit. He is also a writer and producer having produced his own short film, Past and Presence, co-produced a horror anthology web-series, Macabre, and a series of spoken word visual shorts, titled Things are Beautifully Bad. He always brings this quiet yet bold confidence to his work and when you see him on camera and on stage. You can find excerpts of his poetry across his social media platforms penned under the name “RHEN” and is currently working on turning his poetry into a book.

JOHN APICELLA – (William “Biff” Trent) This is John’s fourth appearance on the Matrix stage (Strictly Dishonorable, Rough Crossing, Little Egypt). As a founding member of The Antaeus Company he appeared in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Diana of Dobson’s, Hothouse, The Curse of Oedipus, You Can’t Take It With You, Mother Courage and her Children, Trial By Jury, The Truth Can’t Be Trusted, Patience, The Liar, The Man Who Had All the Luck, and The Wood Demon. On other U.S. stages: Hillary and Bill (Victory Gardens, Chicago), The Imaginary Invalid, Glengarry Glen Ross, The First Picture Show, (A.C.T. San Francisco), 36 Views (Laguna Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (Dallas Theater Center), Archy and Mehitabel: A Back Alley Opera (The Yard, Martha’s Vineyard), Temptation, The Wood Demon (The Mark Taper Forum), Sex Parasite, Largo Desolato (Taper, Too), The History Boys (Ahmanson), Durango (East West Players), Marathon Madness, Juno and the Paycock, White Marriage (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble), and many other other shows over the past 40 years in Los Angeles’ intimate theaters. For film and TV, please see IMDB.com.


WHAT: The Double V is about activism, a dramatization of true events. How a simple letter to a newspaper initiated a series of changes that gave Black Americans their first taste of equality in a society that had always denigrated them. The Double V campaign, early in the years of World War II, campaigned for both Victory in the war and Victory in the battles for racial equality in the United States. The Double V stood for both Victory in the war and Victory in the battles for racial equality in the United States.

WHO: Written by Carole Eglash-Kosoff, Directed by Michael Arabian, Produced by Leigh Fortier with Set Design by John Iacovelli. Nic Few leads a dynamic cast!

WHERE: Matrix Theatre (7657 Melrose Avenue, 90046) Ample Street Parking

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019

HOW: Ticket prices are $40 (VIP Reserved $50, Students $20 (groups of 8 or more email doublevgroup@onstage411.com).

Purchase tickets at www.OnStage411.com/doublev
Phone Reservation line is: 323-960-7776


Kuker & Lee PR
Anita J. Lee – AnitaLeePublicity@gmail.com
Sandra J. Kuker-Franco SJKukerPR@gmail.com or (310) 652-7222