The Best of Enemies (Best Drama of 2011) Returns to Barrington Stage Co October 5-16

John Bedford Lloyd as C. P. Ellis in The Best of Enemies

(Seen above is John Bedford Lloyd as C. P. Ellis. Kevin Sprague Photo.)

There were many memorable shows this past summer, but none more fascinating than The Best of Enemies which was named the “Best Drama” in our 2011 season roundup (link). We called it “timely, topical, and intellectually stimulating.” Our full review gives all the details of this fine production. (link).

We are delighted to welcome back this unusual story of a friendship that defied the odds. It will be performed on the main stage of Barrington Stage Company from October 5 to October 16) The Best of Enemies received its world premiere on that stage this past July 21 through August 6.

“The Best of Enemies broke all box office records for a Mainstage play in our 17 year history. But many people in the Berkshire community were not able to see this powerful new play because of its limited summer run so we’re delighted to be able to offer this fall once again.” – Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director

The original production starred John Bedford Lloyd as C. P. Ellis, Aisha Hinds as Ann Atwater, Clifton Duncan as Bill Riddick, and Susan Wands as Mary Ellis and was directed by Julianne Boyd.

The production will once again feature John Bedford Lloyd, Aisha Hinds and Susan Wands. Don Guillory joins the company in the role of Bill Riddick.

Inspired by the best-selling book by Osha Gray Davidson, The Best of Enemies is the true story about the relationship between C.P. Ellis (a Grand Cyclops of the KKK) and Ann Atwater (an African-American civil rights activist) during the desegregation of the Durham, NC schools in 1971. The Best of Enemies exposes the poison of prejudice in the hearts of Atwater and Ellis who, by facing each other, are forced to face the worst, and best, in themselves.

The Best of Enemies is designed by David M. Barber (sets), Scott Pinkney (lights), Kristina Lucka (costumes), and Brad Berridge (sound). Michael Andrew Rodgers is production stage manager.

John Bedford Lloyd (C.P. Ellis) Broadway: Some Americans Abroad, The Rainmaker, Tartuffe. Carnegie Hall: Showboat. Off-Broadway: Ethan Coen’s Offices at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Williamstown: six seasons. Guthrie Theatre: Arthur Miller’s Resurrection Blues (world premiere). Westport Playhouse: The Drawer Boy. Television: John Adams, The Bronx is Burning, Blue Bloods, Pan Am, A Legal Mind, Remember WENN (Screen Actors Guild Award nomination). Film: Super Troopers, Crossing Delancey, Tough Guys Don’t Dance, Nixon, The Abyss, Bourne Supremacy, Philadelphia, The Manchurian Candidate, The Hoax, Wall Street 2. Volunteer with Rehabilitation Through the Arts, a theatre outreach program operating inside New York State prisons.

Aisha Hinds (Ann Atwater) Brooklyn born and educated at the University of Miami, Aisha is thrilled to return to the stage in The Best of Enemies, after a nine year hiatus. Hinds work in television and film includes notably HBO’s True Blood, ABC’s Detroit 187, TNT’s HawthoRNe, Showtime’s Weeds, and recently appearing with Russell Crowe in The Next Three Days and Denzel Washington in Unstoppable, truly feels most honored to humbly pay homage to the life, work, and service of Ann Atwater in this role. Some of Hinds’ stage credits include Fences, Anything Goes, Tartuffe, Boy Times Man, Colored Museum, Mighty Gents, and Mame.

Don Guillory (Bill Riddick) BSC debut. Mr. Guillory was most recently seen in a staged reading/production of How We Got On by Idris Goodwin at the Eugene O’Neill Center. He was also seen in Berkeley Repertory’s production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone as Jeremy Furlow, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville’s production of Top Dog/Underdog as Lincoln, and Yale Rep’s production of Trouble in Mind as John Nevins. Mr. Guillory is a stage veteran of some 12 years. He received an MFA in acting from NYU (Tisch School of the Arts) and a BA in Political Science from Dillard University in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Susan Wands (Mary Ellis) has acted on Broadway, Off & Off-Off Broadway. In regional theater she has worked at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Old Globe Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Rep, Merrimack Rep, Virginia Stage and others. Favorite roles include: Margery Pinchwife in The Country Wife (directed by Julianne Boyd), Hermione, Blanche, Imogen, Camille, Rosalind, Sally Talley, Isabelle, Cressida, Helena, Doll Tearsheet and Mrs. Cheveley. Television roles include guest lead appearances on several daytime dramas, the “Law & Order” series and in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”

Julianne Boyd (Director) founded the Barrington Stage Company in January, 1995. Her directorial credits at BSC include last season’s critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Streetcar Named Desire (2009), the 2005 production of Follies, the world premiere musical The Game, based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Mack and Mabel, A Little Night Music, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Importance of Being Earnest. In 1997 she directed BSC’s smash hit production of Cabaret, which won six Boston Theatre Critics Awards and transferred to the Hasty Pudding Theatre in Cambridge for an extended run.

Ms. Boyd conceived and directed the Broadway musical Eubie!, a show based on the music of Eubie Blake which starred Gregory Hines and garnered three Tony nominations. She also co-conceived and directed (with Joan Micklin Silver) the award-winning Off-Broadway musical revue A…My Name Is Alice (Outer Critics’ Award) and its sequel A…My Name Is Still Alice. She has also worked extensively in regional theatres, including the Old Globe Theatre, the McCarter Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Syracuse Stage. From 1992 to 1998 Ms. Boyd served as President of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, the national union representing professional directors and choreographers in the U.S.

Mark St. Germain (Playwright) wrote Freud’s Last Session, Barrington Stage Company’s longest running play. Now playing Off-Broadway, with over 500 performances, Freud’s Last Session will be performed nationally and internationally next season. He’s written Ears on a Beatle (BSC), The God Committee (BSC) and Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap. Other plays include Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award) and Forgiving Typhoid Mary. Mark co-wrote the screenplay for Carroll Ballard’s Warner Brothers film, Duma.

He most recently directed and produced the documentary My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story, featuring Richard Gere, Lynn Redgrave and Glenn Close among many others. It was chosen to be the first documentary shown on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Television credits include Writer and Creative Consultant for The Cosby Show, Life Stories and Dick Wolf’s Crime and Punishment. With Randy Courts, he has written the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller, winner of an AT&T “New Plays for the Nineties Award,” both produced at the Lamb’s Theater, NYC. Jack’s Holiday was produced at Playwrights Horizons. Mark’s musical, Stand By Your Man – The Tammy Wynette Story was created for Nashville’s Ryman Theater and has toured nationally. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists where he was given the Joe A. Callaway Award, a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writer’s Guild East. He was awarded the “New Voices in American Theatre” award at the William Inge Theatre Festival. Mark is a Board Member and Associate Artist at Barrington Stage Company.

Osha Gray Davidson (Author) has been a regular contributor to Rolling Stone magazine. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New Republic, Salon.com, The Washington Post, Woman’s Day, Popular Science and Grist. He is the author of five books of non-fiction, covering topics from sea turtles (Fire in the Turtle House) to the National Rifle Association (Under Fire) to the nexus of race and class in America (The Best of Enemies). Osha also co-wrote the screenplay for the IMAX documentary Coral Reef Adventure. He publishes the The Phoenix Sun, a syndicated online news and analysis site covering solar power from the American Southwest.

The fall production of The Best of Enemies is made possible through the generous support of Sydelle and Lee Blatt.

BSC’s fall production of Lord of the Flies, originally scheduled for an October run, will be presented in October 2012.

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