Frank Higgins (Playwright) is the author of the plays “Black Pearl Sings!” and “The Sweet By ‘n’ By,” the latter produced with Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow. His play “The Taste Test” opened the 2015/2016 season for Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix. His work has been seen in New York and across the country at the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Old Globe Theatre, Ford’s Theater in Washington DC, Northlight Theatre in Chicago, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theater, Virginia Stage Company, the Barter Theater and other places. His plays have been published by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing Company and Pioneer Drama Service. His one act play “The True Death of Socrates” is included in Best American Short Plays of 2013, published by Applause Books, and “Black Pearl Sings!” is anthologized in the Random House/Vintage anthology “Plays For Two.” Scenes from his play “Gunplay” were read on Capitol Hill prior to Congress passing what came to be known as the Brady Bill. He has also written several plays for young audiences, including “Anansi the Spider” and “The Middle Passage” and “The Country of the Blind.” He has also published two books of poetry, and two books of haiku.
Thomas W. Jones II (Director) is a director and playwright based out of Virginia. He is an Artistic Associate at MetroStage where many of his original musicals have premiered. Since 2001, he has written and directed “Harlem Rose,” “Three Sistahs,” “Two Queens One Castle,” “Bricktop,” “Cool Papa's Party,” “Pearl Bailey...by request,” “Ladies Swing the Blues,” “Bessie's Blues,” “Shake Loose,” “Blackberry Daze” and, most recently, “The Gin Game.” He received a Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Direction for MetroStage's production of “Gee's Bend.” He has directed, written and performed in more than 200 plays worldwide. In 1978, Tom founded Jomandi Productions, where, as Co-Artistic Director and Producing Director, he led Jomandi to become the third largest African-American theatre company in the United States. His work as writer, director and actor has been acclaimed nationally and internationally, receiving 42 Helen Hayes Award nominations and winning 12, including Best Director for Samm Art Williams' “Home” and his own “Bessie's Blues” (1991 production). He has also received 3 New York Audelco Award nominations, the Dramalogue Award, the San Diego Critics Award, NAACP Phoenix Award, among others. He directed Janet Langhart Cohen's “Anne & Emmett” in 2015 at MetroStage followed by a tri-city tour. His production company has launched the New Renaissance Project producing, among others, a national tour of “Cool Papa's Party” and “A Night in the Musical Life of Frankie Lyman.”