Mahogany Reynolds

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.

 

AGP

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.

 

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15 Questions With Lamar Richardson

Lamar Richardson is the personification of “talented tenth.”  He’s ivy-league educated; a member of the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for Black men and an extremely talented and dedicated actor. He also has a smile that’s infectious. To me he’s a wonderful ray of light that I’ve been blessed to work with.  Like the character “Baby Boy,” Lamar brings purpose, hope and humor to everyone he meets.  His journey may have started down bottom in North Carolina, but it’s surely destined for the stars.

I asked Lamar 15 questions so that you FAMERS can get to know the man behind “Baby Boy” a little better.  But if you really want to see him shine…don’t forget to get your ticket for Slow Bullet, My Three Loves.

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

I loved that the script tackles such deep, often unsung, material. I always long for a theater piece with a powerful message, and ‘Slow Bullet, My Three Loves’ spoke me in a special way. I especially connected with Baby Boy because I find myself serving a similar purpose in my own personal life.

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

The world is a better place because your spirit lives on and shines a bright light in many dark places. You’re truly a rainbow in the clouds.

3. Which actors/actresses influence you the most?

I am a big fan of Don Cheadle, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Glover, Forest Whitaker, and, of course, Denzel Washington.

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

I would love to do someone’s biopic, similar to Jamie Foxx in ‘Ray.’

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

My favorite movie is ‘Ray,’ followed by ‘Hotel Rwanda.’ My favorite play would have to be one of August Wilson’s pieces. I’d say ‘Fences,’ but I love his body of work in general. I’m also a big fan of biopics.

6. Who is your superhero alter ego and why?

I’d have to say Spiderman because he’s so dynamic and versatile. I love his ability to jump from buildings and skyscrapers while saving the world.

7. What would your theme song be?

My theme song would definitely be ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey because I love its comforting message of hope.

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

I would take a mini-fridge, my cell phone, and a blanket.

9. What is your favorite season and why?

Summer is my favorite season because the sun is out and it’s a great time of the year for traveling and festivities.

10. What is your favorite accessory?

My Columbia University class ring because it was a gift from my mother.

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

Depends on the temperature…lol!

12. What is your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure would have to be binge watching ‘Empire’ and ‘Power.’

13. What is your favorite dish?

Baked macaroni and cheese

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

Charismatic

15. What are you most proud of?

Being the first Ivy League graduate in my family.

 

New Strange Fruit Redux Art

Strange Fruit Redux Goes To Queens

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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!

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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/.

 

STRANGE FRUIT REDUX ART for FAME

STRANGE FRUIT REDUX Premieres At MRT’s 10th Anniversary Event

No one truly knows what the day holds as they prepare to step out their front door.  Burgeoning Bed-Stuy artist Nathan Strange is poised to be the next sensation of the New York City art scene, but a common trend plaguing our society may prevent him from doing that.

Written by Afrika Brown, STRANGE FRUIT REDUX is a series of poem monologues mixed with music and socio-political pop culture sound bites that reflect the fears and frustration of the modern black man and stars Bryant L. Lewis.  STRANGE FRUIT REDUX is making its premiere at Manhattan Repertory Theatre‘s 10th Anniversary Event.

Manhattan Repertory Theatre was created in 2005 by Jennifer Pierro and Ken Wolf.  Manhattan Repertory Theatre produces full-length plays, One Act Play competitions, and monthly short play events.  Since 2005, Manhattan Rep has produced over 1000 full length plays and over 500 short plays.  Manhattan Rep is committed to the artist, to creating a context of creativity and support a clean and professional environment.  Manhattan Rep celebrates unbridled creativity, not judgement, and believes that a script is not a play, just the map for a creative team to bring it to life.

Playwright, poet, author and journalist, Afrika Brown is known for writing riveting lifestyle and entertainment features. In 2006, Brown published Sepia Sapphire, a collection of poetry. In 2007, Brown’s weekly chapter series Diary of a Break Up was featured by Universitychic.com. In 2009, she founded F.A.M.E. NYC Magazine. In 2014 Brown’s one act play, THE OUTING, was featured in Open Hydrant’ Urban Waves Festival, Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Summer Short Play Festival and The Strawberry Festival.

Manhattan Repertory Theatre‘s 10th Anniversary Event runs from July 15th to 16th at 9 p.m.  Ticket reservations can be made at mrtreserve@gmail.com.   Manhattan Repertory Theatre is located at 303 West 42nd Street #3.

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Walter Anderson’s Almost Home Is on Parade at the Acorn Theatre

If someone were to ask me the proverbial question, “Can you go home again?”  I would kindly reply, “Why yes.” But the real questions are home the same once you get there and are you the same person that left?  These themes are skillfully explored in Walter Anderson’s Almost Home, currently playing at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, located at 410 42nd Street.

3041Almost Home centers on Johnny Barnett, played by Jonny Orsini, a young marine returning home from Vietnam to his parents’ Bronx apartment.  No longer the good kid with a street edge, Jonny has trouble with coming to terms with events that happened in combat and his participation in it.  It is a parallel journey that has plagued his troubled, alcoholic father who served in World War II.  Uncertain about his future, Johnny has three roads he could take.  The first, accept the Marines offer to become a drill instructor.  The second is to go to college in California and the third is to become an internal affairs cop, an offer presented to him by the local police captain who wants to use Johnny’s hero status to his advantage. But before Johnny can  walk down the path of his destiny, he must first grapple with new and old demons that are creating roadblocks, namely his guilt over his best friend’s death in Vietnam, his poor relationship with his father and the police captain who has had his family under his thumb for years.  In the end Johnny makes peace with who he is and is free, in more ways than one, to choose the path he wants.

2896Playwright Walter Anderson crafts a sensitive tale about a boy coming into his manhood and creates the perfect balance of grace and the harsh realities of war and street life. With its autobiographical roots, Almost Home also is a coming home of sorts for Anderson.  Before becoming the editor of Parade Magazine for 20 years and the Chairman and CEO of Parade Publications, Anderson, a high school dropout, enlisted in the Marines attaining the rank of sergeant and serving in Vietnam.  During his time in the Marines, Anderson earned his GED.  Like Johnny, Anderson attended college after his discharge from the Marines attending Westchester Community College and Mercy College.

3045The cast of Almost Home bring you to the edge of your seat.  The audience becomes immediately enthralled with the complicated relationships between Johnny and his family and Captain Nick Pappas.  Neighbor Luisa Jones, Johnny’s elementary teacher, is a constant ray of hope that circles a cloud steeped in various shades of gray.  She, along with his mother, reminds Johnny that he is not limited by his circumstances or his past.  Johnny Barnett is played by Jonny Orsini.  I became familiar with Orsini when he appeared opposite Nathan Lane in The Nance.  I thought he was spectacular in that production and in Almost Home he is equally impressive.  James McCaffrey is masterful as the manipulative Nick Pappas.  His performance made me want to scream, “Where’s Serpico when you need him!”  Karen Ziemba and Joe Lisi bring heart and soul to the roles of Harry and Grace Barnett, and Brenda Pressley shimmers as the sassy teacher with a heart of gold.

3046The tension presented in Almost Home ends on an anticlimactic note, but the subtle ending is more realistic than some puffed out, melodramatic climax. It leaves the audience circling with questions about the future of Jonny and his family and a desire to want to see more, and leaving an audience salivating for more is never a bad thing.  If this show was part of the Bronx Bombers’ roster I would venture to say the boys in pinstripes would have no more worries.  Almost Home knocks it out of the theater. Anderson’s play is definitely a winner.

Photos: Carol Rosegg

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Under My Skin Provides A Healthy Dose of Laughter

I don’t think there is a person alive that hasn’t heard the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  As for myself, I prefer “Laughter is the best medicine.”  Laughter may not have the ability to cure all ailments, but it definitely heals the soul.  And a prescription filled with laughs is what the members of the audience at The Little Shubert Theatre will receive when they view Under My Skin. 

6.200106Taking cues from Switch, Big and Freaky Friday, Under My Skin adds a whole new chapter to the old body exchange tale. So here’s the story… Mr.  Harrison Badish III is the CEO of Amalgamated Healthcare, the nation’s leading healthcare provider.  He’s a cold, shrewd business man who cares more about making money for the company than making a difference or knowing his employees, one of whom is Melody Dent.  Melody is a single mom from Staten Island who works part-time at Amalgamated with her best friend Nanette.  Both she and Nanette had a problem being seen by Badish until one fateful day when a cup of coffee sets off a chain of events that leads to Melody and Harrison coming face to face with an angel.  The angel, compassionate to their pleas, decides to bring them back to life, but there is a catch, their souls are placed into the wrong bodies.   And while the pair waits for the angel to switch them back, they discover what life is really like for each other and learn more about the trials and tribulations of the opposite sex. By the time Melody and Harrison are themselves again, they realize they can’t live without each other.

6.200111Cheeky and chock full of humor, Under My Skin lodges itself directly into the marrow of the audience’s funny bone.  Husband and wife writing team Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser harmoniously weave comedy and social commentary with this production.  The good ole “make ‘em laugh” approach is a tried and true method of slipping in points of view that require introspection.   Along with adding new layers to the age old battle of the sexes debate, they also weigh in on the state of healthcare, or lack thereof, in our nation and how it affects the everyday, working American.

6.200112The neon lights of Broadway do burn bright. But sometimes they shine even brighter Off-Broadway. Under My Skin is one of the most dynamic shows I’ve seen in a while.  If you find yourself on 42nd Street, take a walk down to The Little Shubert Theatre for an thoroughly enjoyable 90-minute laugh-fest.

Photos: Joan Marcus

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Under My Skin Ticket Giveaway

That’s right FAMERS, it’s contest time!

F.A.M.E NYC is giving away a pair of tickets for Under My Skin, the new comedy in previews at The Little Shubert Theatre.  This production takes the battle of the sexes to new heights.  And one of you FAMERS could be the lucky winner if you can answer this question…

What iconic blue-eyed singer from Hoboken N.J. recorded a rendition of “I’ve Got You under My Skin?”

 The winner will be announced on Good Friday at 5 p.m.

Happy spring and good luck!

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Under My Skin Is On Stage at The Little Shubert Theatre

They say, and John Gray Ph.D. wrote, men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  But how do we know that for sure unless we are willing to take a visit to each other’s planet, or to borrow another famous idiom, “walk a mile in someone shoes” or stilettos.

Husband and wife writing team Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser add another chapter to this ongoing debate with Under My Skin.  Sternin and Fraser are no strangers to the subject of the male/female relationship conundrum with shows like “Three’s Company” and “Who’s The Boss?” under their belts; Under My Skin takes that enigma and turns it into an out-of-body experience.

The prescription for this new comedy involves a CEO of America’s leading healthcare provider, a single mom from Staten Island and one big outrageous twist of fate.  Under My Skin is directed by Kristen Sanderson and stars Kerry Butler and Matt Walton.  Under My Skin began previews at The Little Shubert Theatre, located at 422 West 42nd Street, on April 5 and is scheduled to open on May 15. FAMERS be on the lookout for a ticket giveaway coming soon!

To learn more about the play click, www.undermyskintheplay.com.  Or click below to meet the cast!

 

Photo and video courtesy of Serino Coyne