‘Chicken & Biscuits’ on menu for Essential Theatre

Photo courtesy: FAMU.edu

FAMU’s Essential Theatre is preparing to present “Chicken & Biscuits,” written by
Douglas Lyons.

The Broadway comedy comes to campus as an eventful feel-good performance. The
upcoming play is directed by Luther D. Wells, an Essential Theatre professor and
associate director of theater.

Performances will take place Oct. 19-23 in the Charles Winter Wood Theatre.

The play features the Jenkins family commemorating the life of their father until things
take a turn for the worse when an unexpected surprise arrives at the funeral.

Wells says he aims to provide extraordinary experiences to further the success of the
theater and to promote talented students.

“Hopefully this will be a quality production that audiences enjoy and continue to support
the Essential Theatre understanding that we do quality work and that we are training
students to go out in to the world and impact the world through the entertainment
industry,” he said.

Azhariyha Vaughan, 22, is a music performance major at FAMU with a minor in theater.
Vaughan is performing as Baneatta Mabry, the super religious, strict, loving first lady,
wife, mother and sister. She described her role and the influences that the performance
will have on the production.

“Wonderful, I thoroughly enjoy my cast mates. They are a real family. And there’s not a
moment nor a day where we aren’t laughing. It’s always positive vibes, and we all love
telling a good story. So, what better cast could you ask for? Our director has provided
us the opportunity to learn what true deep character development is so that we can
portray the most accurate and engaging story, which I’ll be able to take into my future
projects,” she said.

“Because this show is so realistic, I believe it will allow the audience to relate strongly.
The dynamic relationships are based on real genuine people and relationships; a
relationship between a mother and her son and a relationship between siblings. It’s
important to consider the individual paths we take that make us the way we are, which
affect our relationships and how they are formed. I hope in seeing these relationships
and individual paths play out, people will be able to listen more, step outside of
themselves more, judge less, and open their hearts to be better and more excepting,”
Vaughan added.

The play reveals themes of suspense while also incorporating comedy through one’s
family tree.

Todd Bellamy II, 21, is a theater performance student at FAMU. Bellamy is performing
as Reginald Mabry, Baneatta’s husband and the pastor giving the eulogy.

“The experience has been fun; the cast and I have been learning more and more about
these characters, how they’re feeling, the choices they make, and how to flow through
and really touch the heartstrings. And more updates are coming into the process every
day, so it’s been hard work and great times working the chemistry,” Wells said.

“I think it’s a show people will enjoy. It’s a comedy about family, and the love within a
family, but also family secrets. Hopefully, the impact will leave more support of the
Essential Theatre,” he added.