LOGAN – If you’re been wondering what the Lyric Repertory Company has up its sleeve for its usual InterACT shows this season, don’t feel bad.

The managers of the local performing arts troupe have been wondering too! That’s particularly true of visiting artist Herb Newsome, who is scheduled to direct the five performances of the InterACT shows starting on July 12.

But that waiting and wondering is finally over, according to Newsome, who announced at the Lyric “Page to Stage” gathering on June 4 that the theatre troupe would produce staged readings of two original one-act plays entitled Do You Trust Me? by Summer S. Session and Destiny’s Date by Gido Lorenz.

Richie Call, the Lyric’s artistic director, says that his company has gone back to the original idea for the InterACT shows; that is, to provide a showcase for material from members of its 2024 company that have never been previously produced or published.

The only other hard-and-fast criteria for InterACT play selection is that, given the Lyric’s audience of mostly retirement-age summer citizens, the new works have to be at least PG-13 equivalent, without gratuitous profanity, Call explains.

Now in its fifth season, the InterACT series has in the past presented a varied collection of works in progress, play readings and one-man/woman shows while giving audience members an opportunity to talk back to the creators of those productions.

On June 4, Newsome explained that Do You Trust Me? and Destiny’s Date are both contemporary works about modern relationships.

Session is another of the visiting artists in the Lyric company, where she is scheduled to direct Newsome in the drama Driving Miss Daisy this summer. Now, in one of those interesting reversal of roles that can only happen in an artistic community, Newsome will return the favor by directing Session’s play Do You Trust Me?

A native of California, Session holds undergraduate degrees from Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California – Irvine. She has worked in both the technical and performance aspect of theater, but found her true passion in directing.

The second one-act show that Newsome will direct, Destiny’s Date, was written by one of Session’s former students at Fresno State which she happily recommended as a companion piece to her own work.

Newsome is no stranger to the director’s chair.

A native of Staten Island, the versatile actor/playwright now divides his time between New York and Los Angeles. As a young boy, Newsome appeared in the John Sayles’ film “Brother from Another Planet” and on-stage with Angela Bassett in the off-Broadway production of Black Girl.

Newsome’s stage credits include A Raisin in the Sun, The Meeting, News to Me, Macbeth, Richard III and five August Wilson plays (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Jitney, The Piano Lesson and Radio Golf).

As a director, he has guided productions for the New York International Fringe Festival; the Philadelphia Fringe Festival; the National Black Theater; the Hollywood Fringe Festival; the Kuntu Repertory Company; the New Horizons Theater; and National Arts Festival in South Africa.

Newsome has also authored a full-length play, Revenge of a King, which is a hip-hop musical based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He has written and performed in three solo shows — In Devil’s Heaven, Break It Down and Freeman in Paris. Those latter two works received local debuts during the Lyric’s 2022 and 2023 summer seasons.

The InterACT staged readings – which are slated for July 12, 16, 19, 22 and 26 in the Black Box Theatre on the campus of Utah State University – will feature the talents of Megan Bedell, Mia Gatherum, Cameron Neeley, Mitch Shira, Sumner Jones Shoell and Brett Terrell.

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