BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Some famous faces are helping Bed-Stuy’s Billie Holiday Theatre launch its two-year residency in Brooklyn’s downtown cultural district.
Starting in March, Tony-Award winning actor Wendell Pierce will perform in “Brothers from the Bottom,” a play dealing with gentrification in New Orleans.
Pierce most recently portrayed civil rights leader Hosea Williams in the film “Selma,” and is known for his role of Detective Bunk Moreland in the HBO series “The Wire.”
While the theater’s home base at Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Restoration Plaza undergoes multimillion dollar renovations, the BHT will hold performances at the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse on Saint Felix Street.
“It’s almost like a rebirth for the theater. We’re very excited,” said BHT artistic director Jackie Alexander. “This move downtown will help us invite everyone in and introduce ourselves to people who maybe wouldn’t take the A train all the way down to Bed-Stuy.”
Working with Pierce was a natural fit, Alexander said, as the actor is a New Orleans native, helped to develop supermarkets in the city’s low-income neighborhoods and started a nonprofit to build new affordable housing for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Pierce also lived around the corner from the BHT when he first moved to New York in 1981, the performer said in a statement.
“Brooklyn audiences will be able to relate to the play because gentrification is such a big subject now,” added Alexander, who penned the script in 2009. “It’s always a big subject everywhere and Pierce is perfect for it.”
In “Brothers from the Bottom,” two siblings struggle with the impact of redevelopment in their area.
“While gentrification is the hot-button topic, it’s really also a story about acceptance: of people in the neighborhood, of one another, and characters accepting themselves,” Alexander said.
“Brothers from the Bottom” also stars Emmy Award-winner Kevin Mambo and kicks off on March 6.
For more information and tickets, visit the Billie Holiday Theatre’s website.