Casting Annnounced for dance of the holy ghosts At Center Stage

Sep 9, 2013
dance of the holy ghosts

 Center Stage is excited to announce casting for Marcus Gardley's dance of the holy ghosts, which begins previews on October 9 and is directed by Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. Leading the cast are veteran stage and screen stars Michael Genet and Denise Burse.

Marcus Gardley's acclaimed play, dance of the holy ghosts, follows the story of Oscar Clifton, a Blues man living through his memories of the past until his estranged grandson Marcus pays a visit. This poetic family drama chronicles their saga through love, regret, and missed opportunities.

Denise Burse, best known for the role of Claretha Jenkins on the hit TBS series Tyler Perry's House of Payne, returns to Center Stage, having previously appeared in August Wilson's Radio Golf and Fences. Her numerous other film and TV roles include Preaching to the Choir, Basquiat, and The Sopranos, and she has performed in dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. Ms. Burse plays Viola, Oscar's estranged wife.

Broadway and film star Michael Genet takes on the central role of Oscar. Mr. Genet's many film and TV roles include working with Spike Lee on 25th Hour and She Hate Me, and his numerous Broadway productions include Fences, Lestat, Hamlet, and A Few Good Men. Also a writer, he most recently published a new book, They Must Not Know Who I Think I Am: Lessons' in Defiant Resilience.

Playing Oscar's grandson, Marcus, is Sheldon Best, whose regional credits include the U.S. Premiere of Roy Williams's Sucker Punch at Studio Theater in Washington, DC. Also in the cast is Chandra Thomas, who has appeared regionally at New York Theatre Workshop, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and the Guthrie, among others; and Jasmine Charmichael, a recent graduate of Rutgers University, who will appear in the upcoming independent film Romeo and Juliet in Harlem. Rounding out the cast is stage veteran Doug Eskew. Mr. Eskew previously appeared in Center Stage's production of Ain't Misbehavin', and his extensive credits include Broadway productions of The Color Purple, Five Guys Named Moe, and Truly Blessed.

Marcus Gardley is an award-winning poet-playwright, whose most recent play, Every Tongue Confess, received the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, and was nominated for the Steinberg New Play Award and the Charles MacArthur Award. His many honors include a 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award, the Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, and the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Scholarship. He is a professor of Playwriting at Brown University, and in 2012 was commissioned to write for Center Stage's My America.

"I am continually moved and inspired by Marcus's work," says Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. "His writing is poetic, entwining themes of spirit, history, and manhood in a way that brings to mind the work of August Wilson. We are thrilled to have actors of Michael and Denise's caliber join us for this production, and that we have assembled an extraordinary cast that can bring Marcus's poetry to life."

Dance of the holy ghosts, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, begins previews on Wednesday, October 9. The show opens officially on Wednesday, October 16, and closes November 17. Tickets start at $19 and can be purchased by calling 410.332.0033, or visiting Full information on the season can be found at