Playbill: Uncommon Voices, December 2, 2019

En Garde Arts
presents

Lena: A Moment With a Lady

Conceptualized & conceived by Syndee Winters
Written by Mfoniso Udofia
With music by Andromeda Turre
Directed by Logan Vaughn

Performers:
Kyle Taylor Parker
Dana Watkins
Syndee Winters

Musicians:
Piano – Kelly Green
Bass – Tony Lannen
Drums – Orion Turre

Artist Bios

Mfoniso Udofia (Writer)
is a 1st Generation Nigerian-American storyteller and educator, attended Wellesley College and obtained her MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater. During her stay in the Bay, she co-pioneered youth initiative, The Nia Project, providing artistic outlets for youth residing in Bayview/Huntspoint.

Mfoniso is a former Playwrights Realm Page One Resident and, in January 2016, Playwrights Realm produced the World Premiere of Sojourners, the origin story of the Ufot Family Cycle.  In Spring 2016, The Magic Theater in San Francisco produced the West Coast Premiere of Sojourners and the World Premiere of the third installation in the Ufot Family Cycle, runboyun, in repertory with each other. New York Theatre Workshop produced the return of Sojourners to New York City in Spring 2017, which ran in repertory with the World Premiere of Her Portmanteau, and was previously developed at the National Black Theatre in an I Am Soul Residency in 2015. Her Portmanteau had its West Coast Premiere at Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, CA. Mfoniso is also currently at work on a commission from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival translating Shakespeare’s Othello, through their Play On! program. She has four upcoming productions: Her Portmanteau (American Conservatory Theater, Winter 2019), In Old Age (A Magic Theater World Premiere, Spring 2019), runboyrun (A New York Theatre Workshop East Coast N Premiere, Fall 2019) and In Old Age (A New York Theatre Workshop East Coast Premiere, Fall 2019); and, she is a staff writer on the 3rd season of Netflix’s, 13 Reasons Why. Mfoniso’s plays have been developed at and/or presented/produced by Playwrights Realm, The Magic Theatre, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre, Hedgebrook, Sundance Theatre Lab, NNPN, Space on Ryder Farm, NNPN New Play Showcase, Makehouse, Soul Productions, terraNOVA, I73, The New Black Fest, Rising Circle’s INKTank, At Hand Theatre Company, The Standard Collective, American Slavery Project, Liberation Theatre Company and more. Mfoniso was a finalist for the 2015 PoNY Prize, the Eugene O’Neill NPC, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Many Voices Fellowship, Page73 Development Programs, Jerome Fellowship, NYTW’s 20/50 Fellowship & Lark Playwrights’ Week. Mfoniso is the recipient of the 2017-2018 McKnight National Residency and Commission at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists.

Syndee Winters (Creator/ Performer)

Recently seen in Hamilton: An American Musical and as “Nala” in Disney’ The Lion King on Broadway, Veteran Syndee Winters celebrates the life of American Icon, Lena: A Moment with a Lady. 

Her debut Jazz vocal album Lessons: From A Lady, inspired by Lena Horne, is available now on iTunes, Spotify, and all digital platforms. 

Other Broadway credits include: 
Motown: The Musical 
Pippin
NBC Jesus Christ Superstar Live!

Logan Vaughn (Director)
is a New York based Artist and Director. In 2008 Logan was awarded the Goodman Theater’s prestigious Joyce Arts Fellowship in Casting and subsequently worked as an Associate in the Tony Award winning theater’s casting department for five seasons. In addition to the Goodman she has cast for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory, Cardinal Stage and Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival.

Logan was Playwrights Horizon’s Director in Residence 2012-2013. In 2012 Logan was also named a Member of the Director’s Lab, Lincoln Center. As a Director she has worked with The Public Theater, MCC Theater, Kansas City Rep Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Theatre, Geva Theatre, Playwright’s Center, Playwrights Realm, Mosaic Theatre, 59E59, National Black Theatre and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her work in film includes assisting the Academy Award winning producing team behind Precious and Monster’s Ball as well as serving as head of casting for several award winning independents. Logan received a 2019 Outer Critics Circle nomination for Best Direction of a Play for the New York premiere of Loy A. Webb’s The Light at MCC Theater. And most recently directed the world premiere of Stacey Rose’s America V. 2.1 The Sad Demise and Eventual Extinction of the American Negro, at Barrington Stage Company. And was newly named the, Associate Artistic Director, of Ojai Playwrights Conference.

In television she has shadowed for the FOX Network (APB) and the Paramount Network (WACO Mini-Series). Logan trained professionally as a dancer for fifteen years with various companies including Gus Giordano and Visceral Dance. She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Film from Columbia College Chicago and has been featured in national and international publications including Glamour, Essence, Lucky and Globetrotter Magazine. https://www.loganpvaughn.com

Andromeda Turre (Composer / lyricist / music director)
New York City native Andromeda Turre started writing songs at the piano at age two and never looked back. After attending The Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, Andromeda got her professional start singing background vocals for Ray Charles. This incredible opportunity inspired her work ethic. Being that she was able to transcribe vocal parts which had never been done for Mr. Charles before, she secured her position as vocal director at age 23. 

From there, Andromeda has lived and worked in 17 countries using her pen and her voice to create music throughout the world. Her voice has been used in recordings for Disney, Saturday Night Live, Nickelodeon, OWN network, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Viacom, NBC and many more. As a composer and songwriter, her music has been featured by Abercrombie & Fitch, Bebe, H&M, MTV, VH1, and several other major corporations and video games. She has released eight albums and many singles of original music. 

She continues to work as a composer, songwriter, music director and vocalist creating everything from custom songs for corporate clients to writing one woman shows and scoring musicals. She is honored to be a part of the incredible team of women putting together Lena: A Moment With a Lady. 

Kyle Taylor Parker (Performer) Broadway: Kinky Boots (OBC), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory(OBC), Television : NBC Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. National Tours: Kinky Boots (IRNE Award best visiting actor), In the Heights. Off-Broadway: Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Finnian’s Rainbow.  Regional: My Very Own British Invasion (World Premiere), Dreamgirls, Hair. Kyle has performed as a concert artist on some of the worlds most celebrated stages including The Apollo and Radio City Music Hall. Kyle’s debut album, Broadway Soul, vol. 1 is available on all music platforms.

Dana Watkins (Performer)
Theatre includes Edwin (Edwin Booth) Theatre at St Clements , Culture Project’s production of Tennessee Williams’ In Masks Outrageous and Austere , My First Timeat New World Stages, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Allan Knee’s The Jazz Ageat 59E59 (world premiere), Marat/Sade (Corday), Native Son (Jan Erlone), Macbeth(Banquo) and The Cherry Orchard (Trofimov) at CTH, Charles in The French Lieutenant’s Woman at The Fulton (world premiere), Kafka in Stanley Walden’s Letter to My Father at the Kaye Playhouse, Hal in Henry IV, Poe in the one man show An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe.  TV: Loosies (pilot), Christmas with Holly, OLTL, Guiding Light. Film: The Stuff, Falling to Pieces, How to be a Man, The Empath, Dreamgirl. Graduate of SUNY Purchase.


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