Katori Hall's HooDoo Love, Directed by "True Blood" Star Nelsan Ellis, Begins Chicago Run Sept. 22 | Playbill

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News Katori Hall's HooDoo Love, Directed by "True Blood" Star Nelsan Ellis, Begins Chicago Run Sept. 22 Chicago-area native and The Collective Theatre co-founder Nelsan Ellis, perhaps best known for his role of Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's hit vampire series "True Blood," directs The Collective's inaugural Chicago production, HooDoo Love by Olivier winner Katori Hall, which begins performances Sept. 22.

The Mountaintop playwright Katori Hall

The production will continue through Oct. 21 at the Athenaeum Theatre.

The cast features Toni Lynice Fountain (Candy Lady), LaRoyce Hawkins (Ace of Spades), Mark Smith (Jib) and Lynn Wactor (Toulou) with Sam Bailey (Rhonda), Mark Hood (Freddie), Opal Demetria Staples (Lillie Mae) and Greg Williams (Bug Eyed Jerry).

Musicians are Leon Q. Allen (trumpet), Giles Corey (guitar) and Thomas Lowery (percussion).

Set in the 1930s, HooDoo Love, press note state, is a "moving tale of love, magic, jealousy and secrets. Toulou escapes from the Mississippi cotton fields to pursue her dream of singing the blues in Memphis. When she meets a rambling blues man, the notorious Ace of Spades, her dreams are realized in a way she never could have imagined."

In a previous joint statement, co-founders of The Collective Theatre Francois Battiste, Veronda Carey, Le'Mil Eiland, Nelsan Ellis, Metra Gilliard and Jasond Jones said, "Each of us is a testimony to the benefits of having arts in the public school system. We are thrilled to continue the work we started so many years ago and to share our creativity with such a talented cast. Our goal has always been to bring people of various backgrounds together through the use of theater and to provide a forum for meaningful dialogue and creative expression. The production of HooDoo Love accomplishes this. It is a powerful masterpiece, wrought with complexity… yet so simplistically human; it's a story that will move everyone who sees it." The production team includes Henry Behel (set designer/production manager), Noël Huntzinger (costume designer), Cat Wilson (lighting designer), Daniel Carlyon (sound designer), Julie Ritchey (props designer), Veronda Carey (assistant director) and Mallory Raven-Ellen Backstrom (stage manager). Tim McNulty is musical director.

Tickets are available online at athenaeumtheatre.org or by calling the Athenaeum Theatre Box Office at (773) 935-6875. Athenaeum Theatre is located at 2936 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago.

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