By UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp & William Ruiz, aka Ninja)
Directed/Developed by Liesl Tommy
Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission
A BREAKTHROUGH SHOW ABOUT THE ACTIVISTS THAT BROKE THROUGH
UNIVERSES, the award-winning ensemble known for their fusion of theater, poetry, jazz, hip-hop, politics, down home blues and Spanish boleros, makes their Public Theater premiere with an explosive new work about the complicated legacies of the original Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Org/Party. Developed and Directed by Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed, The Urban Retreat).
UNIVERSES created PARTY PEOPLE based on dozens of interviews with members of these ground-breaking, society-changing groups. PARTY PEOPLE imagines a present-day reunion at an art opening curated by two young counter culturalists; but the curators themselves have complex relationships with the Party members, who fought injustice and provided free food and medical care for their communities—often at the expense of the people who loved them most. Old wounds and generational divides collide in this astonishing, multi-media theatrical event about the price of being a revolutionary, and what it means for those who come after.
Breaking the bounds of the expected, the members of UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and William Ruiz aka Ninja) and Liesl Tommy —invite audiences of every age, color and creed to join them as they continue to revolutionize American theater and explore the fight to bring power to the people, and the people to power.
Party People @ Berkeley repertory Theater - 2014
“The most exciting piece of theater now up! Heartbreakingly timely and intensely necessary!” – New York Times
“Thrilling…A relentlessly kinetic musical memoir about the ambitions and regrets of 1960s revolutionaries…Powerful and raw…Millicent Johnnie’s choreography is haunting, evoking complicated themes with simple movements. The music, which incorporates salsa, hip-hop, gospel and blues, is flat-out hypnotic…Let the production wash over you like a jagged theatrical collage, [and] Party People will leave its mark on you.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“This show is all about feeling and, more generally, humanity…Takes the standard musical formula and completely rips it up, unceremonious shreds it to pieces, and thankfully refuses to acknowledge the restrictions of standard theater convention. And thank our lucky stars for that. This is pure adrenaline.”—Stark Insider
“You’re in for an exhilarating evening…Under the direction of Liesl Tommy, the evening’s insistent and infectious music, including the hip-hop (of which I confess, I am not a fan), the choreography, scenic and lighting design, camera projection and general stage craft are all original and all first rate. The talented actors make the topnotch writing come alive. Party People has outstanding visceral, emotional and intellectual impact. That’s very rare in one piece of theater.”—Berkeleyside
“A dazzling creation by the New York-based theatre collective known as UNIVERSES…Party People is an artful mixture of spoken poetry, hip-hop theatre, blues, jazz, gospel and rap. Mesmerizing monologues punctuate this well-balanced theatrical potpourri.”—KLCC Radio Eugene