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Sheldon Epps puts his director's hat back on in Pasadena

November 5, 2011 | 10:00 am

Sheldon Epps and Tessa Thompson rehearse Blues for an Alabama Sky
Sheldon Epps is in his 15th season as artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, but it has been more than two years since he last directed a show there.

For much of that time, his primary concern went from overseeing plays to engineering the theater’s survival. The playhouse closed for eight months in 2010 as it went in and out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Now a degree of normalcy is back, and theater leaders say that all six shows since the October 2010 reopening have met or exceeded their box-office targets. Epps has been able to refocus on artistry along with finances, and his staging of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” opens Sunday.

Read a profile of Epps (pictured in a rehearsal with actress Tessa Thompson), including how he handled the playhouse’s hard times and is shifting now to shepherd Robin Givens and other cast members in the current production of "Alabama Sky," Pearl Cleage’s 1995 drama about people’s aspirations during hard times in Depression Era Harlem. He picked the play because of how it resonates with widespread anxieties in today’s America -– conditions that Epps and the Pasadena Playhouse seem particularly well-positioned to address.


Pasadena Playhouse stages a sleek, 'sexy' comeback

 Sheldon Epps: Play it Again

Sheldon Epps' plans for the playhouse

-- Mike Boehm

Photo: Sheldon Epps confers with cast member Tessa Thompson during a rehearsal of "Blues for an Alabama Sky." Credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times