Newark Symphony Hall welcomes its first company-in-residence, Yendor Theatre Company. Yendor’s first production with the venue will be Richard Wesley’s Black Terror, co-produced by Los Angeles-based WACO Theater Center. The production will be directed by WACO’s co-artistic director Richard Lawson and will livestream this summer.
Yendor will also be the first resident of The Lab at Newark Symphony Hall, a career accelerator and business incubator focused on the performing arts. The program is being launched with financial support from Newark Arts.
“We’re tremendously excited about the virtual staging of Black Terror and know audiences will appreciate its timeless themes,” said Taneshia Nash Laird, president and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall and show producer.
She is also the only Black woman at the helm of a performing arts center in the state.
Wesley, an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and New York University professor, wrote Black Terror when he was just 26. The gripping and militant depiction of Black revolution was originally staged as part of the Shakespeare Festival in New York City in 1971.
“Black Terror was one of my first plays but continues to resonate both culturally and historically. I very much look forward to seeing it staged for an entirely new generation,” said Wesley, who also serves on the Symphony Hall board.
“We’re thankful to be part of this bi-coastal partnership, and look forward to working with the Symphony Hall, its company-in-residence and everyone involved in the program,” said WACO’s Lawson, co-artistic director alongside Tina Knowles Lawson (Beyoncé and Solange’s mother).
Lawson is currently recurring on the hit ABC series, Grey’s Anatomy and has more than 100 stage and screen credits.
Lawson will serve as director and will mentor Yendor’s cofounder, Andrew Binger. Both Symphony Hall and WACO will host calls for auditions, and each venue will cast half of the actors. Local performing artists are invited to register and become participants in the Lab at Newark Symphony Hall program.
Black Terror is also a part of a new slate of virtual programming for Symphony Hall, including Homegrown, an interview series that shares the stories of prominent artists and entertainers born and raised in Newark. Guests will describe the impact and legacy of Brick City, along with their contributions to the entertainment industry. The program kicks off with Grammy-nominated and Tony-winning actress and R&B recording artist, Melba Moore, on April 28. Moore earned a Tony in 1970 for her role as Lutiebelle in Purlie.