The Hattiloo Theatre's founding director Ekundayo Bandele is often described as tireless, but that's not the case. A week before the opening of Stick Fly, the second production in the Hattiloo Theatre's new, custom-built theater in Overton Square, Bandele has the stunned look of a brand new parent of multiples.
"I'm dizzy," he says, walking into the theater bright and early after a long night of working at his new Edge district jazz venue Dizzy Bird. He's also dedicated and checks in on his set construction crew before heading back to his office to start the morning.
The new Hattiloo opened to the public in July. Since then, Bandele has struggled with an overly complicated HVAC system, commodes that conspired to back up in unison, and all the other normal, terrible stuff that happens as you settle into a new space. Between smoothing the wrinkles and launching Dizzy Bird, Bandele has also managed to sell an unprecedented number of new Hattiloo subscriptions and open a crowd-thrilling Once on This Island, showcasing everything good about the new Hattiloo and a lot of local talent.
Stick Fly, which opened last week and runs through September 14th, is a different kind of show. The classic family drama follows one eventful weekend in the life of an affluent, African-American family with secrets that are determined to come out. It's set in a posh Martha's Vineyard home and echoes of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, as brothers Kent and Flip bring their girlfriends home to meet their parents for the first time.
"Once on This Island was a pace car. Everything following is going to have to measure up," Bandele says.
Hattiloo is also hosting Broadway's Stick Fly star Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who will conduct a two-hour workshop Saturday, September 6th. Tickets and details are available at hattiloo.org.