"Jar the Floor" - April 9-13, 2015

Published Thursday, April 02nd, 2015



BALTIMORE—Hailed by critics as “one of the wisest plays I've seen in ages…[from] a master playwright," (USA Today) Jar the Floor by Cheryl L. West will close the 2014-15 theatre season at Coppin State University. Performances are scheduled April 9-13, in the Theatre Lab of the Grace Jacobs Building, near the 2500 W. North Avenue entrance to the campus.

           Set in suburban Chicago, Jar the Floor is a heartwarming dramatic comedy that examines four generations of African American women who gather together to celebrate the 90th birthday of the family matriarch, affectionately known as “MaDear.” West’s unflinching exploration of mother-daughter relationships explodes with ferocious humor and disarming humanity. As the birthday celebration unfolds, ghosts, secrets, and a surprise guest test the boundaries of already fragile family bonds, strained by the challenges of coping with MaDear’s advancing dementia.

Cheryl Pasteur leads the cast as the nonagenarian celebrant. A retired principal of Randallstown High School, Pasteur has earned critical acclaim for her performances at Baltimore’s Arena Playhouse, has taught theatre at University of Pittsburgh and currently serves on the Baltimore County Commission for Arts and Sciences. Pam Sparks, Nickole Scroggins, Whitney Hopkins, and Kristina Coleman portray her descendants, and Esther Schwarzbauer portrays the unexpected guest.

        Cheryl L. West, 49, a Chicago native, is a successful writer for stage, film and television. Her most noteworthy plays include the Broadway musical Play On!, the adaptation Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; Addy: An American Girl’s Story; Pullman Porter Blues; Birdie Blue; Rejoice; Holiday Heart; Puddin ’n Pete; and Before It Hits Home. She has received the National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Award and the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Best Playwright Award. West has also created television and film projects at Paramount, MTV Films, Showtime, TNT, HBO and CBS.

Jar the Floor premiered on June 12, 1991, at Seattle's Empty Space Theater.  Numerous productions at other regional theatres followed this successful debut.

 Coppin’s presentation is produced and directed by Garey A. Hyatt, coordinator of the Visual and Performing Arts Program, housed in the Department of Humanities.  The production team includes co-producer Willie O. Jordan, lighting designer Allan Sean Weeks, costume designer and make-up artist Bresean Jenkins, dramaturge Eugenia Collier, technical director James A. Brown, acting coach Deletta Gillespie, and marketing specialist Daniel Wynne.   Keisha Stockett serves as stage manager.

 Curtain times for Jar the Floor are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 9th-11th and Monday, April 13th and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 12th. General admission tickets are $15.00; tickets for seniors and non-Coppin students are $10.00, and Coppin students with IDs are admitted for just $5.00. Group rates are also available.

For more information and to reserve tickets, please call Visual and Performing Arts at Coppin at (410) 951-3366. Tickets can also be purchased online through Brown Paper Tickets at brownpapertickets.com. Reservations are strongly recommended