Chris Thomas King (background) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson in the Center Theatre Group production of “Lackawanna Blues.”
Ruben is one of the great theatre artists of our time, and this beautiful autobiographical performance is full of humor, insight, and compassion—and, if that’s not enough, it’s totally embedded in love.
As part of our Art Goes On project, we’re curating a collection of scenes from some of our most beloved productions across the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and Kirk Douglas Theatre for your viewing pleasure. Scenes from the vault kick off with the opening of Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s “Lackawanna Blues,” which was onstage at the Taper Mar 5 – Apr 21, 2019. Enjoy Ruben’s harmonica stylings, Chris Thomas King on guitar, and an introduction to the community that raised Ruben.
“It’s uncanny; it lives so strong in so many people’s hearts and minds.” — Ruben Santiago-Hudson on reviving his play “Lackawanna Blues” for the first time in over 15 years following runs across the country and a film adaptation by HBO
LACKAWANNA BLUES Begins Rehearsals at the Taper by BWW News Desk Feb. 11, 2019
Acclaimed theatre artist Ruben Santiago-Hudson has begun rehearsals for his powerful and touching solo play”Lackawanna Blues,” which will play at the Mark Taper Forum March 5 through April 21 with the opening set for March 13 at 8 p.m.Produced by Center Theatre Group, “Lackawanna Blues” is written, performed and directed by Santiago-Hudson with live music performed by Grammy-winning blues guitarist, composer, and actor Chris Thomas King (who will be replacing formerly announced Bill Sims Jr.). Original music for the production is composed by Bill Sims Jr. with additional music composed by King. The design team includes scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Jen Schriever, and sound designer Philip G. Allen. The production stage manager is David S. Franklin. A magical, musical, and deeply personal work by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Lackawanna Blues” is a reminiscence of his 1950s childhood in a small town on the banks of Lake Erie. Santiago-Hudson takes on more than 20 colorful characters-from would-be philosophers and petty hustlers to lost souls and abandoned lovers-in a brilliant celebration of the eccentric boardinghouse he grew up in. Santiago-Hudson returns to his roots in this tour de force performance accompanied throughout by live blues music. Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles). The Mark Taper Forum is located at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012. Photo by Benedict Evans
A master class in storytelling—Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s “LackawannaBlues” starts performances at the Mark Taper Forum on Tuesday. I was at the invited dress rehearsal on Sunday night with my friend Donovan Mitchell—there’s so much beauty, power, and virtuosity in Ruben’s performance, which includes original music composed by the late great Bill Sims and also Chris Thomas King, who’s on stage with Ruben throughout the performance.
ARCHIVIST, EDUCATOR, HISTORIAN, and ARTiST
Dale Ricardo Shields is a 2017 winner of The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award®, 2017 and 2015 Tony® award nominee for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, the 2017 AUDELCO/"VIV" Special Achievement Award, 2020, 2021, and 2022 ENCORE AWARD / The Actors Fund and winner of the 2022. Recently, he won the 2022 Legend Award from his alma mater Ohio University. He is the 2021 winner of the Paul Robeson Award, presented (jointly) by the Actors Equity Association and the Actors Equity Foundation.
His extensive professional credits as a Director, Stage manager, and Actor (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and Regional) As an actor he has appeared on Saturday Night Live, Another World, Guiding Light, The Cosby Show, and the ITV television series "Special Needs" and commercials and film.
Professor Shields is a member of the Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the American Guild of Musical Artists performance unions and an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
He began his artistic academic career in New York City at Playwrights Horizon, The South Bronx Action Theatre, and Mind Builders, and then was invited to join the teaching staff at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (New York Shakespeare Festival). He represented the United States for Theatre Young Audiences at the ASSITEJ Theatre Festival in London, England.
He has taught and been a visiting artist at Ohio University, The College of Wooster, Denison University, Macalester College, Susquehanna University, and SUNY Potsdam.
He holds B.F.A and M.F.A, Degrees from Ohio University.