‘Hacks’ Star Carl Clemons-Hopkins Playing James Baldwin in ‘Lessons in Survival: 1971’ Opposite Crystal Dickinson (EXCLUSIVE)

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Vineyard Theatre has announced the casting and design team for the upcoming premiere of “Lessons in Survival: 1971.” Carl Clemons-Hopkins will play novelist James Baldwin alongside Theatre Award Winner Crystal Dickinson as renowned poet Nikki Giovanni.

“Lessons in Survival: 1971″ follows a 1971 interview of Baldwin conducted by Giovanni. Their conversation on America’s first “Black Tonight Show” proved to be a profound dialogue on race and liberation in America. Now, building on the digital exploration of 2020’s “Lessons in Survival,” this live staging will explore the layers of intimacy and ideas between two Black revolutionary artists of different generations.

Clemons-Hopkins is known for their breakout performance as Marcus on HBO Max’s “Hacks” opposite Jean Smart. Their performance earned an Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” category. In film, Clemons-Hopkins can most recently be seen in Jordan Peele’s 2021 film “Candyman.” Other credits include a recurring role on NBC’s “Chicago Med” and Showtime’s “The Chi.” On stage, Clemons-Hopkins has performed in the Chicago production of “Hamilton” as Aaron Burr and George Washington, and they also made their Steppenwolf Theatre premiere in “For The Last Time.”

Crystal Dickinson received a Theater World Award for her performance in the Tony Award-winning “Clybourne Park.” The star also performed in the Tony-nominated “You Can’t Take It With You” alongside James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne. In film and television, she has starred in “This Is Where I Leave You,” “The Good Wife,” “New Amsterdam” and had a recurring role on Showtime’s “The Chi.”

The design team on the new project will include You-Shin Chen (scenic design), Mika Eubanks (costume design), Amith Chadrashaker (lighting design), Lee Kinney and Daniel Kluger (sound design), Daniel Kluger (original composition) and Matthew Glasner, CSA (casting director).

“Lessons in Survival: 1971” will begin previews at Vineyard Theatre May 26, 2022 and play through June 30 with an opening night set for June 9.

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