It took over 200 years to build America, but takes performance artist Desiree Burch under two hours to dismantle it. Tar Baby is a retelling of America’s infamous black & white love affair, from shotgun wedding to “post-racial” open relationship. Co-written with playwright Dan Kitrosser and performed by Desiree, this solo and interactive performance piece tackles America’s black and white love affair and the story of race. Games, amusements, audience participation, and cultural atrocities meet in this interactive carnival of Race & Capitalism—where no one’s a winner, but everyone’s still playing!
In 2015, Tar Baby received a Fringe First Award for new writing at the Edinburgh Fringe. The Scotsman called it “One of the most breathtaking monologues you’ll see this entire month”. It was also shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression award.
Dan Kitrosser is an award winning playwright, composer and storyteller. His plays and musicals have appeared at P.S.122, Urban Stages, 45 Bleecker Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Brooklyn Lyceum and Bryant Park, with work developed at Rabbit Hole Ensemble, The Lark and the American Place Theatre. He adapted the national-bestselling novel We the Animals by Justin Torres with Emmy-nominated director Jeremiah Zagar at Sundance for UnionHZ films. Dan teaches playwriting to teens and tweens at Writopia Lab and received his MFA in playwriting from the New School for Drama, where he was the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Fellow. Many thanks to Desiree for the years of collaboration on this play, and a dedication to to Grandmadele, who sets the bar pretty high.
Melissa Crespo is a New York-based director of theater, opera, film and television. She has developed plays at theaters such as: The Lark Play Development Center, Ars Nova, Morningside Opera, The Civilians, The Public and Echo Theatre Company in LA. Earlier this year, she directed the world premiere of ¡Figaro! (90210) at LA Opera following the New York concert presentation hailed as “blasphemous, brilliant…realistically contemporary and timelessly comic” (NY Times), as well as the undiscovered masterpiece Voodoo, a Harlem Renaissance opera by H. Lawrence Freeman that “soared” according to The Guardian. She was also a director for the 2015 ABC Talent Showcase. Melissa has served as the Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, was a Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theatre and is a 2014 Drama League Fellow where she directed the world premiere of Maggie-Kate Coleman’s The Map of Lost Things while in residence at the Hangar Theatre. Melissa received her MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama.
Founder and principal of Platt Productions, Jacob has been working in theatre for over 15 years providing producing, production management, and lighting services that span Broadway scale productions to community theatre performances. After attending Carnegie Mellon University and returning to NYC to complete his education, Jacob worked with, and held a position on the artistic council of, Working Man’s Clothes Productions during the successful productions of She Like Girls (GLAAD Award) and To Ninevah (NY Innovative Theatre Award). He is also an Associate Designer and Project Manager at Sense Lighting, executing large scale architectural and corporate installations such as Audemars Piguet & Galerie Perrotin “Curiosity” for Art Basel Miami, Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards 2012 (Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal) and Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak (Park Avenue Armory). Jacob is thrilled to work with Desiree Burch and the rest of this fantastic team on expanding the audience of Tar Baby.
As a theater director, Isaac Byrne has worked Off Broadway in New York at DR2, ARS Nova, Joe’s Pub @ The Public Theater, The Ohio Theater, La Mama, PS122, 59E59, and many other venues. He directed The Other Mozart by Sylvia Milo for the Cherry Lane Theater in NYC. He was the devising director for Desiree Burch’s solo shows Tar Baby and 52 Man Pickup produced in Scotland, London, New Orleans, Hollywood, San Francisco, and NYC. He has directed the premieres of Bekah Brunstetter‘s To Nineveh, Green, Something True, and co-directed I Used To Write On Walls. Other directorial work includes Many Worlds, Arms and the Octopus, Fresh Kills, the cowboy is dying…, The New Normal, and True West. A founding member and Artistic Director of the award-winning Working Man’s Clothes Productions, Isaac currently serves as the Artistic Director for THEATRE 4the PEOPLE.