Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea

Written by Nathan Alan Davis
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

May 21, 2015 - June 06, 2015

7:00pm, James Levin Theatre

95 min, no intermission


It’s a month before his first day of college and Dontrell Jones III wakes up from a dream that will change his life. Haunted by powerful visions, Dontrell takes an unconventional journey that begins with scuba gear, swimming lessons, and ends in a boat drifting into the Atlantic Ocean to meet his ancestor’s spirit. Woven with movement, sound and song, "Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea" is a magical, modern day story about living in the moment and answering the call to connect with our past.

The Creative Production Team Includes:

Katrina Kroll- Stage Manager
Todd Krispinsky- Scenic Designer
Ben Gantose- Lighting Designer
Tesia Benson- Costume Designer
Props Designer- Christina Dennis

Featuring Kalim Hill, Sheffia Randall Dooley*, Shayla Gordon, Johnathon Jackson, Laprise Johnson, Rachel Lee Kolis, and Joseph Primes.
*Actor appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.

Remarkable Rating:

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Thanks to The Cleveland Foundation’s year of giving, free tickets are available to the preview performance of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (7 p.m. on May 21). 99 seats are available.

Click Here for more information or call the CPT Box Office at 216-631-2727 ext 501.

Meet Kalim Hill

(Left) Kalim Hill in STEP 2010, (Right) Kalim Hill in 2014

Kalim Hill, a longtime friend of the theatre and CPT artist, was introduced to CPT through Brick City Theatre and began his relationship with CPT in 2009 in the Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP). We’ve been lucky to watch him grow from a young performer, to a STEP intern, into a Teaching Artist for Brick City Theatre, and now… a Cleveland State University Student, a polished performer and poet. This Spring, we welcome Kalim to the James Levin Theatre stage for the Rolling World Premiere of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea.

Click here to read an interview with Kalim from the Summer of 2014 about his experience as a STEP student and how the program influenced him academically, professionally and personally.

What is the Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP)?

CPT’s Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) engages Cleveland teens from low-income families in a powerful 8-week intensive course on play creation, writing, performance and production. STEP was recently featured in the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture’s annual report, which included a mini-documentary on the program – we are so proud! To view the full 2014 Cuyahoga Arts and Culture report, click here.

Meet the Playwright…

Nathan Alan Davis’ play Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea receives a 2015 NNPN Rolling World Premiere with productions at Skylight Theatre (Los Angeles), Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis), Theater Alliance (DC), Cleveland Public Theatre and Oregon Contemporary Theatre. Other plays include The Art of Bowing (IU Bloomington At First Sight Festival, 2014 L. Arnold Weissberger Award nomination) and The Wind and the Breeze (Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Workshop, Lorraine Hansberry Award winner). His plays have also been produced, presented or developed at Baltimore Center Stage, Chicago Dramatists, San Diego Rep. and Source Festival (DC). Nathan is currently a fellow Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Juilliard. Other honors include: Jerome Fellowship finalist, Heideman Award finalist and Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist. He received his MFA in Playwriting from Indiana University in 2014 and holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Meet the Director…

Megan Sandberg-Zakian is a theater-maker based in Somerville, MA. Favorite recent projects include:Measure for Measure (Actors Shakespeare Project), a site-specific staged reading of Our Town at Cambridge’s Mt. Auburn Cemetery (Underground Railway Theater), the Boston premiere of Tarell McCraney’s The Brother Sister Plays at Company One (IRNE Award: Best Production; IRNE nominee: Best Director; Elliot Norton Nominee: Outstanding Production), and the Northeast premiere of Lydia Diamond’s Harriet Jacobs (Elliot Norton Nominee: Best New Play; IRNE Nominee: Best Ensemble, Best Actress). Megan has previously served as the Associate Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater (Cambridge, MA), the Providence Black Repertory Company (RI), and The 52nd Street Project (NYC). She is a recipient of the TCG Future Leaders grant, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.

About the National New Play Network…

The National New Play Network is the country’s alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. NNPN strives to pioneer, implement and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights.

Since its founding in 1998, the National New Play Network has supported nearly 150 productions nationwide through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates NNPN Rolling World Premieres of new plays; granted more than a million dollars to its Member theaters, their staffs and affiliated artists; and provided hundreds of playwrights and other theater-makers with developmental workshops, commissions and paid residencies. Now, after 17 seasons, hundreds of thousands of audience members around the world have seen plays that were created and honed with support from NNPN.

NNPN’s Four Core Values

  • New plays are vital to the cultural health of our communities and our nation.
  • Playwrights who speak with unique, essential and influential voices deserve to be championed.
  • Diversity across all definitions, throughout our Network and its members, strengthens us and the field.
  • Collaboration at all levels and among all parties is indispensable to the creation of new plays.

What is a Rolling World Premiere?

NNPN’s Flagship Initiative, the Continued Life of New Plays Fund (CLNPF), supports three or more theatres that choose to mount the same new play within a 12-month period. The result is an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, in which a playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams in at least three different communities. The playwright is part of the process, working on the script and making adjustments based on what is learned from each production.

NNPN’s CLNPF has championed the Rolling World Premiere of 50 new plays with more than one million dollars in support. With a minimum of three productions in a single year, these plays attain the momentum needed to join the repertoire of frequently-produced new American works. Plays that have completed their Rolling World Premieres have received more than 250 subsequent productions and hundreds of citations in their local markets, been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and have recently won the Steinberg/ATCA, Stavis, Pen Center and Blackburn Awards.

Thanks to our Performing Water Series Sponsors

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The cast and creative team have posted funny anecdotes, information about their process and inspiration surrounding their Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea experience.

Follow #DontrellCPT and check out what other staff members are saying… along with news and info about other upcoming CPT shows!

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