School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play
By Jocelyn Bioh
FOR THE LOVE OF LAUGHTER AND GROWING PAINS
Picture it. 1986. An all girls school in Ghana and there’s a new girl in town, an American, who challenges the reigning queen bee. There’s a prestigious pageant on the line, which could provide the opportunity to move up in the world to the lucky winner. This is a funny and touching story about the universal teenage struggle, and the need to feel like you belong. The Hollywood Reporter said it was “ferociously entertaining, as heartwarming as it is hilarious” and the Washington Post called it a “charming comedy of adolescent angst.”
“A ferociously entertaining morality tale that proves as heartwarming as it is hilarious…” —Hollywood Reporter
- Wednesdays and Thursdays @ 7pm
- Friday & Saturday Evenings @ 8pm
- Saturday and Sun Matinees at 2pm
Wednesday Preview, February 2, “Pay What You Can” at the door or $20 in advance
Thursday Preview, February 3, $20
Wednesday and Thursday Evenings & Saturday Matinees, $47
Sunday Matinees, $53
Friday/Saturday Evenings, $53/57
Opening Night, February 4, $75
Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj (Director/Choreographer) is a multi-disciplinary American Theater Artist, Administrator, and Activist. Mr. Maharaj was twice hailed in The New York Times as a Critics Pick for his work in the American Theater and a member of the BIPOC Leadership Circle. He is currently the Producing Artistic Director and Resident Playwright of American Stage.
Mr. Maharaj has been honored with many awards including the prestigious Woodie King Jr. Award, four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards, Barrymore Award, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Theatrical Moment of the Year, The New York International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award, Theater Communications Group Directors Grant and Playwriting Grant, Recipient of the 2020 National Alliance for Musical Theater Fifteen-Minute Musical Theater Challenge Award.
As a storyteller, Mr. Maharaj has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at many of our nation’s top Regional Theaters including the Bernard B. Jacobs, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, The Public, Second Stage Theatre, Soho Playhouse, Classical Theater of Harlem, , Nuyorican Poets Café, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Lark Play Development Center, Actors Theater of Louisville, Goodman Theater, The Kennedy Center, and Arkansas Repertory Theater.
Mr. Maharaj’s was a finalist for the 2021 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. And he is the recipient of the 2021 Negro Ensemble Company Cutting Edge Playhouse Playwriting Residency.
Phyllis Yvonne Stickney*-she/her (Headmistress Francis) was most recently seen in “Shameless” and has performed in over 30 films including “New Jack City,” “What’s Love Got To Do With It?,” “The Inkwell,” “Malcolm X.” However, Theatre is where it all began for Ms. Stickney from Harlem’s New Heritage Theatre to Lincoln Center and the various theatre festivals and events her career spans 40 years. Winning 1st place at the world famous Apollo Theatre is also one of her many accomplishments.
Ms. Stickney was named “one of the 200 African American women who has changed the World”. Comedy or drama Ms. Stickney is comfortable with any genre and aims to bring her best to any role. An AUDELCO AWARD recipient in 1998 Ms. Stickney was inducted into the Black Hall of Fame, in 2006 and various years she received the CUSTODIAN OF THE CULTURAL CONSCIOUSNESS AWARD, C.T.Vivian passed the TORCH OF LEADERSHIP among others.
Jada Austin- she/her (Nana) is a singer and actress from Clearwater, FL. She is thrilled to be returning to the stage after three years away and making her American stage debut. She was most recently seen as a character performer at ZooTampa as well as a vocalist at Disney’s Candlelight Processional. She would like to thank her family and her boyfriend, Eduardo, for encouraging her to follow her dreams. Follow her @missjadaa_
Massiel Evans- she/her (Mercy) is a passionate island girl from Nassau, The Bahamas. She recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Acting and Directing from Eastern Connecticut State University along with a film studies minor. While in The Bahamas, Massiel has starred in two local plays and one local bahamian movie. Her first year in undergrad she received the leading role in a main stage production called Chitra. Since then she has starred in four other shows as an actress, two shows as an assistant director for Eastern and for a professional theater company, Spectrum Theater and ended her college career by directing a main stage production called Blood at the Root. She has also written, directed and filmed two small pieces under her film studies minor. She made her American stage debut last year in The Odd Couple as Cecily and now she is excited to be casted in the show School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play as Mercy.
Siobhan Marie Hunter*- she/her (Ericka Boafo) is thrilled to make her debut at American Stage! Other credits include Diane in [cowboy face] (Dixon Place), Black in The Mis-Education of America (Letter of Marque) and Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show (JCC CenterStage Theater). She received her B.A. in Theater Arts from SUNY Fredonia. Siobhan would like to give special thanks to her Mother, Grandparents, the rest of her family and friends for always uplifting and supporting her work.
Aguel Lual*- she/her (Paulina Sarpong) is a New York based, Nebraska raised actor, and the proud daughter of South Sudanese refugees. Some of her favorite credits include Mash in Stupid F*Cking Bird (Parallel 45) and Ronny in Hair (Nebraska Repertory Theatre.)
Phineas Slaton- they/them (Gifty) is a young artist living in Brandon and St. Petersburg. While currently minoring in theatre at Eckerd College, they have been seen at St. Petersburg City Theater with credits such as Corie in Barefoot In The Park, and Sapphi Van Helsing in Dracula: The Vampire Strikes Back. Recent credits include Rafiki in The Lion King, The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui, and a directing credit of The Perfect Ending at Howard W. Blake High School of the Arts. Phineas is extremely excited to be joining American Stage with this opportunity and can’t wait to see the show come to life!
Ivy Sunflower- she/her (Ama) has recently been seen as Jenny Rappaport in the featured film “I Need I Want” . Additionally as Mom in the comedy film “What Tha Hell”, “The Decision” as Belinda, and Shaun in the comedy series “Nothing Else Matters”. However, Ms. Sunflower’s first love is the stage. Cassandra in Big Girls Need Love Too (Inkwell Centre), A Conversation With Myself as April (Outcast Theatre Collective), and behind the scenes as the Assistant Director of Dionysus On The Down Low (Outcast Theatre Collective) have been a few. Ivy also teaches improv virtually for beginner performers. She’s working to open up a black box theatre for the community. She received her degree from Broward College and has trained with Robert Nation, A TALE OF TWO CITIES and Daniel Torres, EVITA. Ivy wants to thank her partner Cash, her family and friends for their support in making this dream happen.
Jennifer Leigh Warren*- she/her (Eloise Ampohsah) is lauded for her show-stopping Broadway performances as the original Alice’s Daughter in Big River (singing “How Blest We Are” written for her by composer Roger Miller), the original Crystal in the Howard Ashman/Alan Menken hit Little Shop Of Horrors, the original Marie Christine cast and Rent: Live. In Power To The People, she made her Disney Concert Hall debut with the LA Philharmonic, appeared in Sir Peter Hall’s Shakespeare Repertory Company, won the Ovation Award in Hello Again and her solo concert, “Diamonds Are Forever: Songs of Dame Shirley Bassey” directed by Richard Jay-Alexander won two BroadwayWorld awards (seven nominations). Films include the Martin Scorsese produced/Alison Anders directed “Grace of my Heart,” Sean Penn’s “The Crossing Guard,” Garry Marshall’s “Valentines Day,” “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” Larry David’s “Sour Grapes.” TV: “Pretty Little Liars,” “Lipstick jungle,” “ER,” “Scrubs.” She is a Dartmouth College graduate and AEA/SAG-AFTRA member.
January 23, 2022 at 1pm
Take a peek behind the curtain before the opening of each production with a presentation by American Stage staff. They provide insight into the history and central themes of the play, as well as a discussion with members of the creative team who provide an insider’s perspective on their process.
Pricing: $10 for General Public.
Free for American Stage Subscribers and Act 1 Club Members
Beyond The Footlights
February 6, 10, 17, 24 (30 minutes prior to select performances)
Before experiencing the performance, join Producing Artistic Director, Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, for a conversation exploring and reflecting on the themes, connections, and ideas that ignite us. Guest panelists include relevant voices from the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay community and beyond.
Free for performance ticket holders.
Before the Show
Fridays, Saturday Matinees and Sundays (30 minutes prior to select performances)
February 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
Arrive early to explore fascinating details about the play and the artists who brought it to life in this brief pre-show presentation. Learn what to look for as you head into the theatre to experience the world of the play.
Free for performance ticket holders.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association | #Member of the United Scenic Artists union