The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King explores racial issues in a bold and dangerous way. Set in a university town, the politics of academia weave through the narrative as egos collide, relationships buckle, and the content of character is put to the test. Broadway actor Philip Casnoff (Chicago, Shogun, Chess, Devil’s Disciple) stars as Simon Case, a white sociology professor who has married his much younger African American graduate student, Lashawna (OBIE award-winning actress Tracey A. Leigh). Theo Perkins (Broadway’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) is her ne’er do well brother, Anquan, who’s come to live with them. Carlos Carrasco (The National Health on Broadway, former co-artistic director of L.A.’s Classical Theatre Lab) and Ovation Award-winning actress Judith Moreland (for Miss Julie at The Fountain Theatre) round out the ensemble as African American professors Augustus and Janine Fryer.
“I’ve always been fascinated by how people discuss race in America,” explains Dolan. “It’s the defining social issue in our history. I’ve seen many plays that address it, but I’ve always left profoundly dissatisfied because they almost universally pander to the expectations of liberal theatergoing audiences. I wanted to write a play that is not necessarily a reflection of the liberal perspective, and I wanted to write it without apology.”
Menzies first directed a reading of The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King for EST/LA’s Festivity/LA new play festival, followed by a workshop production at the Berkshire Playwrights Lab. “Andrew treads very bravely into extremely risky thematic material,” he notes. “But what attracted me to the project is the quality of the writing. It’s a solid family drama with great parts – a true ensemble piece for actors. I could tell right away that this was a playwright who has acted – the scenes are well-structured, the characters beautifully drawn, and the dialogue is electric.”
The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King opens on March 17 and continues through April 29. Performances are scheduled Fridays and Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2 pm and 7 pm. All tickets are $25.00. EST/LA @ Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave, Atwater Village, CA 90039. For reservations and information, call 323-644-1929 or go to www.ensemblestudiotheatrela.org. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/