15 Questions With Mahogany Reynolds

Last night Slow Bullet, My Three Loves opened at Manhattan Repertory Theater to great success, partly because of the acting ability of Ms. Mahogany Reynolds.  Mahogany is a brave, unrelenting actress who fearlessly took on the role of Rhea Davies, a deeply complex character in the middle of a breakdown.    While preparing for her for the show, Mahogany answered our 15 questions so you could get to know her a little better.   But all you really need to know is that you don’t want to miss the rest of Mahogany’s performances in Slow Bullet, My Three Loves because it’s out of this world!

1. What intrigued you about Slow Bullet, My Three Loves and your character in particular? I was intrigued by the deep subject matters. Depression. Mental Illness. Stigmas about those two subject matters within the Black community. I was also intrigued by the serious subject of suicide. Especially with so many prominent individuals dying of suicide or suspicious deaths lately. As well as, far too many young people committing suicide. I was also intrigued by how multifaceted and complex Rhea Davies is. Ordinary, she is definitely not! Moreover, I was fascinated by the stories of her three loves. And how these men have shaped, and in some ways, deformed, her life. Especially, her relationship with her lover, Jordan. That relationship; I believe, affected her the most.

2. If you could impart any words of advice to your character, what would you say? One word. FIGHT. I wrote her a long letter; three nights before the opening of the show, to impart this advice to her.

3. Which actors/actresses influence you the most?Angela Basset, Meryl Streep, Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, Nia Long, Viola Davis, Jody Foster, Denzel Washington, Anthony Hopkins, Leonardo Dicaprio, Sidney Poitier, Phylicia Rashad, Taraji P. Henson, Lawrence Fishburne, Whoopi Goldberg, Mariska Hargitay, Lily Tomlin, Jenifer Lewis, and Regina Hall…to name a few.

4. If you could play any role, who would it be? Well, I am playing a role that I love. Rhea Davies is definitely a dream role. Any role that allows me to fully express myself artistically, with no barriers, is a role I want to play. I have a real strong personality and so I seek out female characters that mirror me. In addition to that, I’d love to portray Diana Ross. She’s beyond fabulous. A movie or stage play about her life story would be really cool to play. Plus, I’m from Detroit, so that would be awesome.

5. What is your favorite movie?  “Love Jones” by far, when it comes down to romance, sexuality, sensuality, heartache, and love between a black man and woman. What is your favorite play?“A Raisin in the Sun” because it’s a bold play that tells a bold story. I love anything bold. So long as it has a purpose. Ironically, I’ve recently been cast, to play the character “Ruth Younger” in this legendary play! I’m super excited about that.

6. Who is your superhero alter ego and why?Wonder Woman, no doubt! Because I’m tall physically. And I walk tall in my spirit and attitude. Plus, she’s smart. So am I. She’s a seductress. So am I. She’s a warrior. So am I. I don’t back down easily. I’m brave. I don’t scare easily. And I try to stand up for what’s right, no matter how difficult the fight will be. Plus, I love her costume. It’s so bad ass and super sexy! And that dominatrix thing she got going on with that rope. Yeah baby, she’s my alter ego bad chick for sure!

7. What would your theme song be?“I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan remixed by Whitney Houston. My favorite lyrics are: “Whatever you want. Whatever you need. Anything you want done baby. I’ll do it naturally. Cause I’m every woman. It’s all in me.”

8. If you were exiled to an island, what three items would you take with you? A framed photograph of my son. My journal and ink pen set. And a bottle of William Hill Estate Napa Chardonnay.

9. What is your favorite season and why? Summer. I love sun and heat. Because I hate wearing lots of clothes. I love being as naked as possible. With sophistication of course.

10. What is your favorite accessory? A sexy pair of panties. No matter what you are wearing, there’s something about having on a sexy pair of panties, that brings out the seductress in me.

11. If we lived in a clothes optional society, would you choose to wear clothes or go naked? Naked, all the way baby! Hence, my answer to question 9. Women have to deal with body image issues our entire damn lives! Men are visual. Sadly, many women go nuts trying to cater to a man’s visual needs. And stroke his ego. I don’t have time for that! So, when I declare naked, it’s not to please any one, but ME. I love the skin I’m in. So why not wear it exclusively. If you were a fly on my wall, when I’m totally alone, you’d catch me naked rather often.

12. What is your guilty pleasure?Sex in public places, when I can get away with it.

13. What is your favorite dish?A big handmade cheeseburger; with all the toppings (hold the mayo and the onions); some hot french fries, coupled with an ice cold Sam Adams craft beer.

14. If your friends and family could sum you up in one word, what would it be? Ambitious

15. What are you most proud of?My son. When I became a mom, I evolved. I expanded spiritually. I grew mentally. I enhanced physically. And I elevated intellectually. My son is my biggest and greatest accomplishment. We’re super close. And he’s just a super awesome kid.

 

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15 Questions With Arthur Gregory Pugh

Arthur Gregory Pugh is the trifecta.  He is an actor that has been endowed with enormous talent, professionalism and a willingness to go deep to bring the needs and emotions of the character to life.  There is a sense of awe in seeing an actor give up his body to allow the character to step in.  Arthur gives his all and personifies what Floyd “Money” Mayweather describes as the keys to success – hard work and dedication.  For me Arthur Gregory Pugh has been my anchor, the rock that grounds a production that deals with controversial topics in an unorthodox way.   It can be hard to portray a character that is flawed and may come off as unlikable, but Arthur gives Zeke Brown a soul.

FAMERS I asked Arthur 15 questions to introduce you to the man that plays Zeke Brown in Slow Bullet, My Three Loves.  Arthur is a chill dude that makes Zeke’s blemishes a little less imperfect, but you don’t have to take my word…come see for yourself.

1. What intrigued you about Slow Bullet, My Three Loves and your character in particular?

Rhea’s choosing to make this decision and her revelations along the way intrigued me about the play. As for my role, as someone who has always played a cop or a soldier, even though Zeke has a sternness about him, having a relationship his daughter is special to me.

2. If you could impart any words of advice to your character, what would you say?

No matter if you believe you are doing what’s best for you and those you love, they won’t believe it unless they hear it.

3. Which actors/actresses influence you the most?

Delroy Lindo, Idris Elba

4. If you could play any role, who would it be?

I am going to be Othello one day. I would also like to play a lawyer of a landmark case.

5. What is your favorite movie?  What is your favorite play?

Movie: Ray / Play: A Soldier’s Play

6. Who is your superhero alter ego and why?

I am Spiderman. As an actor I understand the great power I possess and the great responsibility to always be on point.

7. What would your theme song be?

Follow The Leader – Eric B. & Rakim

8. If you were exiled to an island, what three items would you take with you?

My MP3 player, a Sudoku puzzle book, comfortable shoes.

9. What is your favorite season and why?

Fall. Not too hot, not too cold… and there’s football on TV.

10. What is your favorite accessory?

That MP3 player, gotta have my tunes.

11. If we lived in a clothes optional society, would you choose to wear clothes or go naked?

Clothes. Nudity should be for intimacy.

12. What is your guilty pleasure?

Mom’s coconut custard pie.

13. What is your favorite dish?

Dad’s chopped barbecue.

14. If your friends and family could sum you up in one word, what would it be?

Dedicated. 

15. What are you most proud of?

My daughter’s accomplishments.

 

Strange Fruit Redux Goes To Queens

SFR Flying Solo 1

Since its debut last July, Strange Fruit Redux has continued to make its mark.  Strange Fruit Redux tells the story of 25-year-old visual artist Nathan Strange, who is on the verge of becoming the latest sensation in the NYC art scene.  While working on his final painting, Nathan expresses his views about black culture and what it means to be black in the new millennium moments before a confrontation with NYPD.  Strange Fruit Redux is a series of poem monologues mixed with music and sio-political, pop culture sound bites geared to show the fears and frustrations of the modern day black man.

In March Strange Fruit Redux played to a sold-out audience at the Downtown Urban Arts Festival.  This May Strange Fruit Redux will perform at the Flying Solo Festival in Queens.  Tickets are available at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/958683.

Although Strange Fruit Redux is playing at the Secret Theatre, the secret is out…NYC can’t get enough of Strange Fruit Redux!

Meet The Cast of Slow Bullet, My Three Loves

Slow Bullet, My Three Loves tells the story of Rhea Davies, a thirty-something makeup artist.  While preparing to make her final transition, Rhea Davies is confronted by the men whom she loved the most and the relationships that shaped her world’s view.   In the middle of her breakdown she experiences a breakthrough.   Next month Slow Bullet, My Three Loves will make its world premiere at Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Premiere Play Series May 18, 20 and 21.  So without further ado, F.A.M.E NYC would like to introduce you to the cast of Slow Bullet, My Three Loves.

Mahogany ReynoldsMAHOGANY REYNOLDS

RHEA DAVIES

Mahogany Reynolds is an award winning, beyond a triple-threat actress, from Detroit, Michigan. She performs a wide range of roles in film, TV and theatre that showcases her versatility. Mahogany graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, and worked as a journalist, on-camera reporter, and television talk show co-host. Mahogany is often booked as an on-stage host for film festivals. As a philanthropist, she is the Founder/Executive Director of Just Be You Performing Arts; a mentoring and enrichment organization for aspiring young actors. Mahogany is a proud wife and devoted mother. http://dmclarke.wix.com/mahoganyreynolds#!gallery/c199t.

Arthur G PughARTHUR G. PUGH

ZEKE BROWN

Arthur started as a voice-over artist that shifted to acting after he landed the role of Delmar Irving in the film “Downshift.” He’s affiliated with Theatre Engagement & Action at Intersections International, whose play “Uniform Justice” performed at the 2015 Fringe Festival in NYC. Other stage credits include: “Fences” (Troy Maxon), “A Soldier’s Story” (Sgt. Waters), “Camp Logan” (Sgt. McKinney), “Amen” (Daniel Quinn), “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” (Sgt. Kelly), “I Don’t Know Why He Loves Me” (Rev. Cunningham), and Johnnie Cochran in the comedy “So You Think You’re Godd.” www.ArthurGregoryPugh.biz

Bryant L LewsBRYANT L. LEWIS

JORDAN PORTER

Actor/ poet Bryant L. Lewis is a native New Yorker born and raised in the Bronx.   He studied theatre at Manhattanville College where he starred as Orlando in “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare and was featured in Haroun and The Sea Of Stories.”   A proud alumnus of The Possibility Project youth theatre program in NYC, Lewis participated for two seasons.  In 2014 Lewis played the DJ in “The Outing” by Afrika Brown as well as his breakout role as the Homeless Guy in  “Heat Of The Moment” by Syvaun Grullon.  Currently Lewis is starring as Nathan Strange in “Strange Fruit Redux” by Afrika Brown , which is touring various festivals nationwide.  Lewis is also the founder/ owner of O-Kaos productions Inc., a video production company that writes, produces and films its own skits and short films. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLiPsFQih7LarF-KkLnovWQ

LR_035aLAMAR RICHARDSON

BABY BOY

Lamar Richardson is a recent graduate of Columbia University. He hails from Charlotte, NC and loves to bring joy and laughter to everything he does. He prides himself on being an “actor on a faith journey to spread light and laughter in the industry.” He hopes to become a prominent artist in the New York theater community and strives to pave the way for those who will come after him. Lamar’s most recent credits include ‘Black Footnotes” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the short film, ‘Running from the Dead.” Stay tuned! www.LamarRichardson.com

Manhattan Repertory Theatre is located at 303 West 42nd Street, in the heart of Times Square.  Tickets are available at http://manhattanrep.com/slow-bullet-my-three-loves/.

 

Love Is In the Air

With all the leftover Valentine’s Day cards, candy and stuffed animals littering the shelves at Duane Reade and Walgreens, the remnants of the world’s biggest day of manufactured adoration is still lingering in the city, but are special shared menus, boxes of chocolate and Hallmark cards true representations of love?  Love is more than corporate displays of affection.  Last Friday, I attended the opening performance of “all about love”, an off-Broadway production at the Paradise Factory Theater. 

Donysha Smith

“all about love” is an engaging and truthful exploration of love and its many facets.  Written by Donysha Smith, who is also making her directorial debut, “all about love” is a wonderful reflection of a lifetime labor.  “I used to put on plays at three-years-old.  I used to put the tablecloth around my neck and become a different character and perform for my family and extended family at cookouts,” she says.  Smith is a Philadelphia born playwright, producer and actress.  She earned a B.F.A in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  She has held several roles in NYC Theater, Media and Fashion.   “This is all I ever wanted to do my entire life and I’m finally at a place in my life where it’s like this is what I’m going to do,” Donysha adds.

Wesley Voley, Zdenko Slobodnik and Aubyn Peterson

“all about love” is a tapestry that combines three perspectives of love.  The first, Three Point Stance at the Edge of the World, journeys into the psyche of soldiers living for the love they receive through letters from family and lovers at home.  Zdenko Slobodnik, an Iraq War soldier, and Wesley Voley, a Union soldier during the Civil War, provide a harsh glimpse into the alienation, somber, stressful and loveless existence that a soldier during wartime endures.  Sometimes love is a desperate thing.  Through Slobodnik’s and Voley’s narration of the letters they send home the audience can feel  their desperation and frustration to get home, back to the people they love.  The choreography in this scene is sharp and aggressive and compliments the performances given by these two actors.

Bianca Lemaire and Erickson Dautruche

The second, Carmelita 1:13, provides a modern “Thorn Birds” look at love.  The scene involves a young couple in the throws of a break up.  Carmelita’s love for the lord is driving a wedge between her relationship and is pushing her and her man to the brink of insanity.  When falling in and out of love, one can sometimes forget how another person’s upbringing and religious beliefs can affect their views on love.  Carmelita 1:13 is a poignant observation of a relationship from the other side of the spectrum.  As the characters played by Bianca Lemaire and Erickson Dautruche share memories while also expressing anger and confusion, the audience is reminded of how a breakup is just as multi-dimensional as a relationship and sometimes people must break apart in order to find their way back to each other.

Jeff Kozel and Warren Katz

After a brief intermission, the audience is treated to an amusing display of Casual Addictions and Lost & Found, the third and final scene.  Lost and Found is a touching story about acceptance and unconditional love.  While shopping for a family dinner, an elderly gay couple comes to grips with failed past relationships, a disapproving daughter and dementia.  As the scene ends, they learn the only way to move forward is with love, and a dance doesn’t hurt either.  Jeff Kozel, Warren Katz and Aubyn Peterson are extremely convincing and moved me to the brink of tears.

Aiding in the transition of the scenes are video interludes and the music of Stevie Wonder. “I think that Stevie’s music is hopeful, it’s honest [and] it is resonant,” Donysha explains about the use of Stevie Wonder’s music in the show, “He’s one of those artists that everybody loves.  Everyone knows a Stevie Wonder song.  No matter what their age, class [or] race, everybody can hear one of his songs and is like that is my jam.”  The video contains footage of New Yorkers talking about their perception of love and their experience with it, and creates a love letter to New Yorkers in general.

 A percentage of ticket sales from “all about love” will go to the Fistula Foundation, www.fistulafoundation.org.   The Fistula Foundation a nonprofit corporation dedicated to raising awareness of and funding for fistula treatment, prevention and educational programs worldwide. 

“all about love” will be playing at the Paradise Factory Theater until February 21. I suggest all FAMERS get a dose of love before this productions ends. 

To purchase tickets for “all about love”, please visit www.allaboutloveshow.com.

Photos courtesy of D. Austin