“Windows,” a new play directed by former Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps, who’s now Senior Artistic Director of Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., is making its Broadway premiere next spring.
Epps was affiliated with Pasadena Playhouse for two decades starting in 1997, becoming one of the first Black artistic directors in American regional theater.
He still serves as artistic director emeritus at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Epps is an accomplished Broadway and West End director who grew up in Los Angeles and New Jersey and started as a stage actor. He co-founded a small theater company in New York and got his Broadway breakthrough in 1982 with the musical revue “Blues in the Night” which he created and directed. He later moved into TV while continuing his theater work, directing episodes of “Friends,” “Frasier,” and “Girlfriends,” among other shows.
After stepping down from his full-time role in Pasadena in 2017, Epps spent a few years staging plays in various venues, among them his adaptation of Reginald Rose’s 1954 play, “Twelve Angry Men.” The revamped play started at the Pasadena Playhouse starting in 2013, after the man who killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was acquitted and outrage about racism in America was widespread.
In 2019, Epps brought “Twelve Angry Men” to Ford’s Theater. The next year, he signed on as Ford’s senior artistic adviser.
Epps now actively works with Ford’s Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault to improve the theater’s diversity efforts and bring more artists of color to its stage.
With Tetreault, Epps spearheads the Lincoln Legacy Commissions, a new artistic initiative by Ford’s for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) playwrights that will broaden the American theatre canon.
The Lincoln Legacy Commissions will serve as an artistic incubator for stories about social justice and racial history and explore the varied experiences of underrepresented characters and lesser-known historical figures and their contributions to American life.
Casting for “Windows” is currently underway and announcements are forthcoming.
Written by Tawni O’Dell, “Windows” is produced by multiple award-winning producers Mitchell Maxwell and Valerie Smaldone, in association with the Audio Drama Initiative. It is adapted from the highly acclaimed top-rated audio drama “Closing the Distance,” which documents through art a period when the world was united by unprecedented circumstances and time stood still.
The “Closing the Distance” podcast series was performed and recorded by celebrated actors during the early days of the lockdown. The cast included Jason Alexander, Tony Danza, William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Kelli O’Hara, among others.