Sep 21 – Oct 1, 2023
- Black Box Theatre
- Tickets: $25, $10 with UCF ID
- Buy Tickets Now!
- Jump to Program
by Douglas Lyons
Directed by Felichia Chivaughn
This boisterous comedy follows a Black family as they celebrate the life of their recently deceased father, highlighting the beauty in the brokenness and inviting moments of connection, laughter and family love.
Sep 21 – Oct 1, 2023
- Black Box Theatre
- Tickets: $25, $10 with UCF ID
- Buy Tickets Now!
- Jump to Program
Meet the Jenkins family as they gather to remember the life of their late patriarch. This peaceful funeral is disrupted when a guest reveals a deep family secret, sending the group into a dramatic frenzy full of jabs, laughter and lots of stirring the pot. Can this family reconcile before they lay their beloved to rest?
Any video and/or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited. CHICKEN AND BISCUITS is presented by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing, LLC, servicing the Dramatists Play Service collection. (www.dramatists.com)
Chicken & Biscuits contains adult language/situations and references to drug use.
Choose a full season package to get the most savings or build-your-own package of 3 or 4 shows for the most flexibility.
- Thursday, September 21, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, September 22, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, September 23, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, September 24, 2023, 2:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, September 27, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, September 28, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, September 29, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, September 30, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, October 1, 2023, 2:00 p.m.
Production Stage Manager:
Vandy Wood, Sonya Smith-Tembe*
*Theatre UCF student
BANEATTA MABRY: Olamide Oladeji*
REGINALD MABRY : Jonathan Sommervil*
BEVERLY JENKINS, FIGHT CAPTAIN: Dominique Marshall*
LA’TRICE FRANKLIN: Micah Brown*
KENNY MABRY: Phoenix*
LOGAN LEIBOWITZ: Jake Perez*
SIMONE MABRY: Ciara Elliott*
BRIANNA JENKINS: Gabriela Phillips*
U/S BANEATTA, U/S BEVERLY, U/S LA’TRICE, U/S SIMONE, U/S BRIANNA: Sienna Weir*
U/S REGINALD, U/S KENNY: River Banks*
U/S LOGAN: Joey Fields*
*Theatre UCF student
Stage Managers: Taylor Bray*, Michael Ghysels*, Luis Williams*
Assistant Director: Pooja Singh*
Dramaturg: Rotem Miara*
Fight Choreographer: Jameson Stobbe*
Intimacy Coordinator: Desiree Montes
Organ Accompanist: Matthew Lynxwiler*
Theatre UCF Artistic Associate: Cory Kennedy*
Props Manager: Donna Bess*
Production Electrician: Griffin Greene*
Light Board Programmer: Ayana Yokie*
Light Board Operator: Izzie McKenzie*
QLab Programmer: Vicki Rezman*
QLab Operator: Maddie Moore*
Automation/Turntable Carpenter: Ryan Devane*
Deck Crew: Loganne Digma*, Gabriel Deck*, Sabrina Henson-Matheny*
Wardrobe Supervisor: Cameron Sparks*
Wardrobe Crew: Connor Harper*, Brandon Diaz*, Alexander Robinson*, Rosalind Krabil*, Bryce Lechtner*
Production Assistant: Savanah Schaller*
Director of the School and Performing Arts: Michael Wainstein
Theatre UCF Artistic Director: Julia Listengarten
Director of Production: Bert Scott
Undergraduate Coordinator: Kristina Tollefson
Faculty Stage Management Advisor: Claudia Lynch
Faculty Designer/Advisor: Vandy Wood
Faculty Dramaturg/Advisor: Chloe Spencer
Faculty Music Director: Richard Crawley
Box Office Manager: Bridget Parry
Marketing Communications Manager: McKenzie Lakey
Marketing Coordinator: Jessica Compton
Production Manager: Gary Brown
Technical Director: Tramaine Berryhill
Assistant Technical Director: Kristen Garza
Production Sound/ Advisor: Casey Deiter
Production Electrician: Beth McAshan
Costume Shop Manager: Allison Rexrode
Costume Workroom Supervisor: Amanda Roberts
FALL 2023 FRONT OF HOUSE TEAM
House Manager for Chicken and Biscuits: Renee Doty*
Ushers for Chicken and Biscuits: Christian Polastry*, Lindsay Goldman*, Jacob Jones*, Erin Hornbach*, Ella Zarilli*, Kaitlyn Gill*, Alyne Silva Montenegro*, Natalie Werba*
Box Office: Desean Harris*, Riley Woodall*, Francisco Perez*, Mackenzie Smith*, Christian Polastry*, Isabella Fedele*, Erin Greening*, Jasmine Giles*, Dunstan Ashe*, Max Mitchell*, Tori Carson*, Kaitlyn Gill*, Taylor Stark*, Eileen Lee*, Paige Wallace*, Madelyn Dickinson*, Briana Cotton*, Ella Zarilli*, Isabel Gallman*, Taylor Brown*, Alyne Silva Montenegro*, Destiny Nihkole Gonzalez*
FALL 2023 SHOP TEAMS
Electrics Shop: Reyann Epps*, Michael O’Brien*, AJ Willis*, Madelyn Considine*, Pooja Singh,* Gil Bloom*, Toni Ghirardo*, Natalia Simmons*, Lauren Robinson*, Dennis Colbert*
Scene Shop: Ellie Dolan*, Breana Mejia*, Jameson Stobbe*, Neil Kalef*, Johnny Flannagan*, Re’Anna Love*, Morgan Barkhurst*, Nicolas Zamora*, Matthew Gennell*, Andy Ayup*, Taylor Rutledge*, Kyle Machande*
Sound Shop: Kaitlyn Gamory*, Kaitlyn Gill*, Derik Hawkins*
Costume Shop: Caleb Jones*, Sam Sherard*, Analucia Raimont*, Alan Barrett*, Nia Jenkins*, RyAnne Vazquez*, Gabriela Astwood, Dimitri Ware*, Tabi Dennis*, Amanda Hurtuk*, Shayna Wolfer*
* Theatre UCF student
Micah Brown (La’Trice) is a second-year in the BFA Acting program and this is her Theater UCF debut. She has been seen on the Project Spotlight stage in Team Spirit (Isabel) and worked as a Stage Manager in the Project Spotlight production of Shaken, On The Rocks.
Ciara Elliott (Simone Mabry) is a senior in the BFA Acting program. She has been seen on the Theatre UCF stage in Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Grandma/Ensemble) and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Young Inna/Ensemble). Her other credits include Surviving the Storm (Trina Kingsbury), Aida (Nubian Slave) and The Soul of a Woman (Vocalist). This is her third Theatre UCF production. ciara-elliott.com
Joey Fields (U/S Logan) is a first-year transfer in the BFA Acting program. This is Joey's Theatre UCF debut. Other theatre credits include Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Sabastian) and The Lesson (The Professor). He is also involved in Project Spotlight.
Dominique Marshall (Beverly) is a second-year in UCF’s MFA Acting Program. She was most recently in Pegasus Playlab’s Summertime Interlude (Kyri), other Theatre UCF roles include UCF’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Emmanuele Giri) and The Interference (Reporter/ Marcie). Prior to UCF she played (June) in HWS Colleges’ theater production of Marisol and abroad through U.E.A., U.K. she played (Dirk Gently) in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Some other HWS credits include: Isle of Slaves (Arlequin), (Older Quan/Woman) The Breach, (Sarah) Love/Sick and (assistant Stage Manager) for Aria De Capo and Servant of Two Masters.
Olamide Oladeji (Baneatta Mabry) is a second-year in the MFA Acting program. She was most recently seen in Theatre UCF’s production of Bite Me. Other theatre credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Love and Information. Olamide received her Bachelor’s in Acting from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Jake Perez (Logan) is a first-year BFA acting student. He was last seen in Theatre UCF’s Home of the Brave (Marcus) and As You Like It (William/Jake). Previous credits include Exhibits in the Zoo (Mendel), Snoopy (Woodstock), All the Great Books Abridged (Student Helper), The Crucible (Hale), and Catch Me if you Can (Hanratty).
Gabriela Phillips (Brianna) is a third-year student in the BFA Acting major. Previous credits include Pegasus Playlab’s Race to Infinity (Lucia) and Orlando Shakes production of A Big Day for Baseball: A Magic Treehouse Adventure (U/S Olive). @gabyphillipss
Phoenix (Kenny) is a first-year transfer in the BFA acting program. He has done various Project Spotlight productions.
Sienna Weir (U/S Baneatta, U/S Beverly, U/S La’Trice, U/S Simone, U/S Brianna) is a Junior in the BFA Musical Theatre program. Her recent theatre credits include UCF’s production of Working as a member of the ensemble and as “Frieda” in “Sunday In The Park With George" at Titusville Playhouse. She currently has an internship with Stageworks Tampa and has experience ushering with Plant City Entertainment.
Donna Bess (Props Manager) is a transfer student from Valencia and is a senior in the BFA Design Tech Program with a focus on props. Her work can be seen in the following UCF shows: Working, First Date, Affinity Lunch Minutes and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.
Taylor Bray (Assistant Stage Manager) is a third-year transfer student in the BFA Stage Management program. Their previous Theatre UCF credits include UCF Celebrates the Arts 2023 (Company Manager), TECH-nique (Lighting Designer), Working (Assistant Stage Manager) and The Wolves (Production Assistant). They just finished an apprenticeship with the Glimmerglass Festival (Company Management Apprentice).
Sam Cutshall (Sound Designer) is a Senior in the BFA Theater Design & Technology program. Previous Theatre UCF credits include Brightstar (Production Electrician) and Working (A2).
Gabriel Deck (Show Crew) is a senior in the B.A. Media Management and Production program. Since 2018, Gabriel has held theatre close to his heart. In his two years of enrollment at Florida Gulf Coast University, he performed in shows such as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (Player) Check Please (Guy) The Addams Family Musical (Uncle Fester) The Other Room (Austin) and Mystery Cycles (Son #2 Peter Tree of Knowledge).
Ryan DeVane (Automation/Turntable Carpenter) is a Sophomore in the BFA Design & Tech program. He has also worked on the Theatre UCF set of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Fly Rail). This is his second Theatre UCF production and plans to bring the experience he gains here to a future in Off Broadway set/prop design.
Brandon Diaz (Costume Crew) is a Fourth Year in the BFA Musical Theatre program. Most recently Brandon has worked as a performer under RWS Entertainment Group as the character “Artie the Artist in Residence” at Santa’s Village. Some Theatre UCF credits Brandon has includes Bright Star (Ensemble, U/S Max), Shrek the Musical (Young Shrek, Grumpy Dwarf, Rat Tapper), and First Date (Male Swing). He was also seen at the Dr. Phillips Center in Chicago the Musical as Ensemble and Judge. brandonldiaz.com
Loganne Digma (Deck Crew) is a junior is in the B.A Theatre Studies program. She has worked Theatre UCF productions such as Indecent (House Crew) and The Interference (House Crew). LoganneDigma.com
Michael Ghysels (Assistant Stage Manager) is a third-year transfer student in the BFA Stage Management Program. His UCF credits include Welcome to the Moon (Production Assistant) Indecent, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Assistant Stage Manager), UCF Celebrates the Arts ’22-‘23. Prior to UCF, his credits include Clybourne Park (Stage Manager), Hand to God (Stage Manager), Significant Other (Assistant Stage Manager), and A Christmas Story (Assistant Stage Manager).
Conner Harper (Wardrobe) is a first year in the theatre pending program. This is his first time on a theatre production at UCF.
Sabrina Henson-Matheny (Deck Crew) is a second year in the BFA Acting program. Her previous Theatre UCF credits include As You Like It (Musician, U/S LeBeau, U/S Audrey) and The Wolves (U/S #46). Other previous credits include Little Women (Beth) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck).
Rosalind Krabill (Wardrobe Crew) is a Senior in the BFA Acting program. They were last seen in Theatre UCF’s production of The Interference (Karen’s Lawyer, Cultural Commentator) as well as Indecent (U/S Chana) and Welcome to the Moon (U/S Mary). This summer, Rosalind co-produced, co-directed, and starred in The Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio) and previously was in See Rock City (May). rosalindloren.com
Izzie McKenzie (Light Board Operator) is a junior in Theatre Studies who has worked on and off the stage, involved in stage productions during her time at the University of Manchester as well as Theatre UCF, such as Summertime: An Interlude (Trigg) for Pegasus PlayLab.
Maddie Moore (Show Crew) is a freshman in the BFA musical theatre program. Some of her professional theatre credits include 9 to 5 the Musical (Kathy), The Little Mermaid (Allana) and The Bridges of Madison County (Carolyn). @maddiemoore._
Bridgett Rojas (Production Stage Manager) is in her final year of the BFA Stage Management program. Her previous Theatre UCF credits include Orlando Family Stage’s Youth Academy: Magic Treehouse: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr (Production Assistant), Fabulation or the Re-Education of Undine (Production Assistant), Spells of the Sea (Assistant Stage Manager), Working (Assistant Stage Manager), and Bright Star (Assistant Stage Manager). @_xxbridgettxx_
Pooja Singh (Assistant Director) is a third-year student in the B.A. Theatre Studies Program. Other credits include Bright Star with Theatre UCF and Apocaplypseville! The Musical with Project Spotlight and at the Orlando Fringe Festival.
Sonya Smith-Tembe (Assistant Scenic Designer) is a Junior in the BFA Theater Design & Technology program. Previous Theatre UCF credits include As You Like It (Assistant Paint Charge) and Brightstar (Props Artisan).
Luis Williams (Assistant Stage Manager) is a second-year BFA Stage Manager. UCF Theatre Credits include: Working (Spotlight Operator), Home of the Brave (Production Assistant) and Summer 23’ Pegassus Playlab’s Go like Saints (Assistant Stage Manager).
Ayana Yokie (Lighting Programmer) is a fourth-year BFA Stage Manager. She is currently the Assistant Stage Manager for Metamorphoses. Previous Theatre UCF credits include UCF Celebrates the Arts 2023 (PSM), Home of the Brave (ASM), Welcome to the Moon (PSM), Sombra Del Sol (ASM) and UCF Celebrates the Arts 2021 & 2022 (Stage Manager). Last season she worked as a Stage Manager for Orlando Shakes’ Playfest. @ayanayokie
I see Chicken & Biscuits as a movement that is giving a breath of fresh air and new energy to a generation that can come out and see themselves as happy as they are in their actual life, not just as the theater has portrayed them to be.
- Douglas Lyons, playwright
Set in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of New Haven, Connecticut, Chicken & Biscuits is all about the vibrant personalities of the Mabry-Jenkins family who come together to honor the life of their family patriarch. The playwright Douglas Lyons has based these characters – loud and timid, stern and genial, unapologetically themselves and still unsure – on his own experiences with people from his own church. Chicken & Biscuits is a celebration of real people’s lives during a time of grief, which was sorely needed at the time when the show originally opened in 2021.
In that year, according to the American Psychological Association, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the prevalence of loneliness by about 5% worldwide – a small, but incredibly impactful number. In October, just after Broadway tentatively started opening its doors again, Lyons’s Chicken & Biscuits made its debut at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre. This play exudes the exact opposite of the bleak pandemic loneliness that was prevalent when the show opened. At the time, Chicken & Biscuits was the perfect reminder that we are not alone. Today, it continues to be an appreciation of togetherness, both through the family on stage and the strangers sitting around you in this very theater.
Why Chicken & Biscuits? Both are staples of soul food, a cuisine that came around through the combination of meager rations given to enslaved African people and African cooking methods and traditions. True to its name, soul food is indeed good for the soul, as today it is associated with comfort and decadence despite its humble beginnings.
Chicken & Biscuits is ‘soul food’ in many ways. This play is about bringing people together, feeling love, and appreciating family for all the good and bad that comes with it. It is a celebration of Black culture, and specifically of dynamic Black women. The play explores what it means to hurt inside – because of secrets, because of familial tension – and what it means to be a family. Finally, just as they were when this play was written, the joy, love, and laughter of this play are always relevant.
That being said, dig in!
- Rotem Miara, Dramaturg