FOR THE NEW CITY’S DREAM UP FESTIVAL PRESENTS
New York, July 23 -- "Shirley Chisholm, Robert E. Lee & Me," written and performed by Ashley Christopher Leach, is a solo performance that aims demonstrate how Americans can find common ground on issues that divide them. Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival will present the play’s world premiere September 1 to September 7, directed by J. Andrew McNeal.
As one statue goes up, another statue is torn down. "Shirley Chisholm, Robert E. Lee & Me" seeks to demonstrate how both Chisholm and Lee transcended the constraints of their time and made unpopular decisions that spoke to their humanity rather than the contemporary ideologies they commonly represent. Relating their stories to his own life, Ashley Christopher Leach celebrates the unpopular choices each of these Americans made and reinterprets how each of them should be viewed. "Shirley Chisholm, Robert E. Lee, & Me" urges Americans to seek commonalities, even among the most unlikely characters, in hopes of healing an already divided nation.
Playwright/performer Ashley Christopher Leach is originally from the Piedmont Region of North Carolina and lives in New York. He holds a BA in American and Black Studies from the College of William and Mary; an MA in Performance from Queen Mary, University of London and an MA in Media Studies with a Concentration in Film from The New School. Besides that, he is a founding member of Lambs Grove Productions.
Director J.Andrew McNeal is a founding member of Lamb's Grove Productions who produces, directs and acts in experimental plays and films. He holds a BFA in Professional Acting from East Carolina University, including a two-year Sanford Meisner training program. After an internship with Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, VA, he moved to New York, where he continued his studies with Maggie Flannagan at her studio. He has produced multiple Lambs Grove plays and films and directed “Seymour, the Last Fallen Angel,” starring Ashley Christopher Leach, for the inaugural Dream Up Festival at Theater for the New City ten years ago.
Line producer is Laura Klein, who holds an MFA in Film from Columbia College and currently lives in New York. Her most recent work includes “Thou Wast Mild & Lovely” by Josephine Decker (Berlinale) and “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party” by Stephen Cone (Maryland). She has worked as an Assistant Director for numerous independent films, including “We the Animals” “Blow the Man Down” and “Hannah.”
THE DREAMUP FESTIVAL
The festival does not seek out traditional scripts that are presented in a traditional way. It selects works that push new ideas to the forefront, challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of how art illuminates the world around us.
In addition to traditional plays, a unique and varied selection of productions will again be offered, drawing upon a variety of performance genres including musicals and movement theater. The Festival's founders, Crystal Field and Michael Scott-Price, feel this is especially needed in our present time of declining donations to the arts, grants not being awarded due to market conditions, and arts funding cuts on almost every level across the country and abroad.
Captioned, high-resolution photos of shows in this festival are available for download at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8TM5hCWLmZbKzV4p9
The festival's website is www.dreamupfestival.org