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Veronans Stage NJ Premier Of Obie-Winner “Appropriate”

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Toni (right, Deshja Driggs-Hall of Montclair and Rhys (left, Will Lund of Verona) try to figure out why her brother has suddenly returned.

Appropriate​, winner of the 2014-2015 Obie Award for Best New American Play, by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, himself the recipient of a 2016 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, marks its New Jersey premier at Studio Playhouse in Upper Montclair. The production stars Verona resident Will Lund as Rhys, the oft ignored and tossed about eldest child on the verge of manhood. Appropriate ​is directed by Mark Liebert and Bill O’Brien and stage managed by Kevin Ohlweiler, all of whom are from Verona. Performances are ​Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., from May 11 through May 25.

Appropriate, which Jacobs-Jenkins, the rising African-American playwright, notes is both and adjective and a verb, is his experiment to write in “white voice.” It dramatizes every estranged member of the Lafayette clan descending upon their crumbling Arkansas homestead to settle the accounts of the newly-dead patriarch. As the three adult children sort through a lifetime of hoarded mementos and junk, a disturbing discovery surfaces among their father’s possessions, and the reunion takes a turn for the explosive, unleashing a series of crackling surprises and confrontations. Collisions over clutter, debt, and a contentious family history involving race relations, religious tension, identity, sexual impropriety, and substance abuse—to name but a few—surely keep the audience spellbound in this exciting new work.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for students and seniors; discounts available for groups of 20 or more that prepay. Opening night tickets are buy 1, get one 1 free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.studioplayhouse.org/tickets or by calling 973-744-9752. Studio Playhouse is located at 14 Alvin Place, off Valley Road near the Acme, in Upper Montclair.

The “Appropriate” production team: (l-r) Stage Manager Kevin Ohlweiler, Director Mark Liebert, and Assistant Director Bill O’Brien, all of Verona.

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