Huntington Theatre and City of Boston Present an Evening at the Strand 8/27/14

Huntington Theatre Company and the City of Boston present a free community event Wednesday, August 27 at the Strand Theatre in conjunction with the Huntington's upcoming play,  “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.  Hosted by WCVB-TV’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Services, Karen Holmes Ward,  the evening will feature a screening of the Academy Award-winning 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner  followed by a conversation with director David Esbjornson and actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner of the Huntington’s production.  The event is FREE and open to the public. RSVP is encouraged.

Film Screening and
Wed Aug 27, 2014
7:00 pm
Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Rd
Free and Open to Public
Huntington Theatre Company and the Mayor’s Office of Arts + Culture will collaborate to present a free community event at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre on Wednesday, August 27 at 7pm in conjunction with the Huntington’s upcoming production of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

Hosted by Karen Holmes Ward, WCVB-TV’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Services and host and executive producer of “CityLine,” the evening will feature a screening of the Academy Award-winning 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner featuring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, and Sidney Poitier, followed by a conversation with director David Esbjornson and actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner of the Huntington’s production.

 The evening is free and open to the public.  RSVPs are encouraged at

In both the film and stage adaptation of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a young, idealistic, and very much in love Joanna surprises her liberal, white parents when she brings John, her African-American fiancé home to meet them.

Huntington Theatre & City of Boston When John’s parents also arrive for dinner, both sets of parents must confront their own unexpected reactions and concerns for their children as their beliefs are put to the test.

When the movie premiered in 1967, it pushed a private conversation about interracial marriage into the public sphere.

Playwright and adapter Todd Kreidler’s fresh adaptation captures a moment in America’s past while reflecting on the current state of race relations in America.

Esbjornson directed Warner in the role made famous by Poitier in a recent production at Arena Stage (Washington, DC) that The Washington Post called, "so darn appealing with masterly direction. Malcolm-Jamal Warner has matured into a solid leading man." The Washingtonian called it, "Riotously funny. Warner doesn't disappoint, his presence is forceful on stage." And Maryland Theatre Guide called it, "Truly uplifting. A delightfully funny, wonderfully acted evening of theatre that should not be missed."

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

The upcoming event continues the Huntington’s longstanding tradition of bringing its work beyond its homes on the Avenue of the Arts and in the South End to Boston’s neighborhoods and communities, including past events at the Strand Theatre (A Raisin in the Sun in 2013; Breath, Boom in 2003), Hibernian Hall (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in  2012), and Roxbury Community College (Fences in 2009; Radio Golf in 2006; Gem of the Ocean in 2004).

The Huntington Theatre Company’s production of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner by Todd Kreidler and based on the screenplay by William Rose plays September 5 – October 5 at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. Tickets and more information at

Find more information on the event at


David Esbjornson (Director)

Mr. Esbjornson previously directed All My Sons at the Huntington. His directing premieres include Driving Miss Daisy (Broadway, London, and Australia), Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? (Broadway) and The Play about the Baby (Off Broadway), Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (Broadway) and Resurrection Blues (Guthrie Theater), Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (world premiere), and Perestroika (first staged presentation, Eureka Theatre), and Homebody/Kabul (London), Neal Bell’s Therese Raquin (Classic Stage Company), In the Blood (The Public Theater/NYSF), and Tuesdays with Morrie (Minetta Lane Theatre). His revivals include Lady From Dubuque (Signature Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre), Death of a Salesman (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Hamlet (Theatre for a New Audience), Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing and The Normal Heart  (The Public Theater/NYSF), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Summer and Smoke (Guthrie Theater), Twelfth Night, Mud, and Drowning (Signature Theatre), A Few Good Men (London’s West End), Endgame, The Maids, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, and The Entertainer (Classic Stage Company), and Farmyard (New York Theatre Workshop). He is the recipient of two Obie Awards for Outstanding Direction, a What’s On Stage Award, two Lucille Lortel Awards, a Los Angeles Critics Award, a Friends of New York Theatre Award for Best Director, seven Bay Area Critics Awards, seven Connecticut Critics Awards, a TCG Directing Fellowship, and others. He previously served as artistic director of Classic Stage Company in New York City and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and is the current chair of Rutgers University Theatre Program.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Dr. John Prentice)

Mr. Warner is a seasoned actor, musician, director, and producer. Mr. Warner first rose to national prominence appearing in the television series “The Cosby Show.” His work on the show garnered him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Other television credits include NBC’s hit show “Community,” TNT’s “Major Crimes” and “Hawthorne,” CBS’ “The Cleaner,” Showtime’s “Dexter,” and BET’s original series “Reed Between the Lines.” As a director, he has worked on television series including “Malcolm & Eddie,” “The Cosby Show,” “All That,” “Keenan & Kel,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Sesame Street,” “Reed Between the Lines,” and the AIDS awareness video “Timeout: The Truth about HIV, AIDS, and YOU” (NAACP Key of Life Image Award). His short film This Old Man received critical acclaim on the theatre festival circuit. Mr. Warner made his feature film debut in Paramount Pictures’ Drop Zone and was also seen in Warner Bros.’ Pictures Fools Gold. He also co- starred in the independent films Restaurant with Adrien Brody, A Fare to Remember, and The List with Wayne Brady. His theatre credits include Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Arena Stage), Three Ways Home, Cryin’ Shame (NAACP Theater Award for Best Supporting Actor), and Freefall (Victory Gardens Theater), A Midsummer Nights’ Dream (La Jolla Playhouse), and the West Coast debut of his one-man theatrical production of Love and Other Social Issues. He plays bass guitar in his jazz-funk band Miles Long. The band has performed in several major jazz festivals and recently performed at the historic Apollo Theater. His CDs are available on iTunes.

Karen Holmes Ward (Host)

Ms. Holmes is the Director of Public Affairs and Community Services as well as host and executive producer of “CityLine,” WCVB-TV’s award-winning weekly magazine program which addresses the accomplishments, concerns, and issues facing people of color living in Boston and its suburbs. Many notables including Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o, Octavia Spencer, Lou Gossett, and Denzel Washington as well as Oscar nominees Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oprah Winfrey, and Quvenzhane Wallis have been interviewed by Ms. Holmes Ward for “CityLine.” “CityLine” has been a recipient of the Associated Press Massachusetts/Rhode Island ‘Best’ Public Affairs Program and numerous Emmy Award nominations.

Ms. Holmes Ward also oversees WCVB’s public service and community outreach efforts including the station’s work on Extreme Makeover: My Hometown, raising awareness about the need for affordable housing in the Greater Boston area, and WCVB’s first-of-its-kind web-based initiative, Commonwealth 5. This online project promotes philanthropy by matching viewer-donors with non-profits via the Internet. CommonWealth 5 was nominated for a National Emmy Award. WCVB’s community service efforts during and following the Boston Marathon attack were honored with a National Association of Broadcasters ‘Service to Community in Television’ award.

A graduate of Boston University’s School of Public Communications (now COM), Ms. Holmes Ward has received numerous awards for her work in the community including the Boston Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award; National Association of Black Journalists Region I Journalist of the Year; Big Sister of Greater Boston Achievement Award; Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts President’s Award; and Women of Courage and Conviction Award from the Greater Boston Section National Council of Negro Women, Inc. among others.


Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premiere cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit


The Mayor's Office of Arts + Culture fosters the growth of the cultural community; promotes public participation in the arts and public celebrations; and advances cultural tourism in Boston. Learn more at

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Posted: August 26, 2014    Nancy J Conrad