Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum J. Riley Jr. ’16, a graduate of the Columbia College Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance with a Minor in Women & Gender Studies, and former Columbia College Theatre Department student Aisha de Haas are in the cast of an exciting new project: the world premiere of the musical SUFFS, running March 10 through April 24 at the historic Public Theatre in New York City. The show’s official press opening is April 6.
Riley‘s national theatre credits include performances at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky and at Writers Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, and Emerald City Theatre in the Chicago area. In October of 2021, Riley and fellow Columbia College alum Preston Max Allen ’13 participated in “Flipping the Script: How to Thrive as a Trans, Gender Nonconforming, or Nonbinary Performer,” a Zoom webinar presented by the Columbia College Chicago Career Center and Columbia College’s Student Diversity and Inclusion office.
De Haas‘ credits include the original Broadway productions of Rent, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, and Caroline, or Change, as well as a 2001 Broadway concert revival of Dreamgirls, the U.S. national tour of Disney’s Newsies, the Off-Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show, and roles on such TV series as Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
With book, music, and lyrics by Public Theatre Artist–in–Residence Shaina Taub, choreography by Obie Award winner Raja Feather Kelly, and direction by Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman, SUFFS brings to life a complicated chapter in the ongoing battle for the right to vote: the American women’s suffrage movement. In the seven years leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, an impassioned group of suffragists—“Suffs” as they called themselves—took to the streets, pioneering protest tactics that transformed the country. They risked their lives as they clashed with the president, the public, and each other — brilliant, flawed women working against and across generational, racial, and class divides.
The Public Theatre, founded in 1967 by Joseph Papp, is located at 425 Lafayette Street (at Astor Place), Manhattan, New York City. For tickets, click here. Student discounts are available.