A Musical Celebration
Concept & Book by Ron Stacker Thompson
Music & Lyrics by Nolan Shaheed
Additional Lyrics by Ron Stacker Thompson
Directed by Margo Hall
Musical Director Jacqueline Hairston Choreography by Traci Tolmaire
December 2011; San Francisco, CA — Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (LHT) will continue its 31st
season with the world premiere of Rejoice! A Musical Celebration, by Ron Stacker Thompson and
Nolan Shaheed. A musical retelling of the biblical nativity story, the book is written by Ron Stacker
Thompson, who is best known to Bay Area audiences as the founder of the Oakland Ensemble Theatre,
but has gone on to write for films such as Hoodlum, Sister Act 2, The Cemetery Club, Deep Cover, A
Rage in Harlem, Funny Valentines, Split Second and America’s Dream. Songs for the production are by
Nolan Shaheed, who has worked with such names as Marvin Gaye, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Diana
Ross, Phil Collins, and Anita Baker.
Rejoice! retells the nativity story through glorious music and song. Margo Hall, who last wowed LHT
audiences as Undine in Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation; or The Re-Education of Undine, will direct the
piece. Margo also directed two earlier productions at LHT, Word for Word’s production of James
Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues, which was presented on the LHT stage; and The Story, by Tracy Scott Wilson,
which was an SF Playhouse/LHT co-production presented at The SF Playhouse. Jacqueline Hairston is
the musical director, and Traci Tolmaire will choreograph the piece.
On opening night, December 10, Ron Stacker Thompson, will be in attendance. He will be fêted
that night at a post-show VIP reception.
The principal cast for Rejoice! is Joseph: Reggie White; Mary: Kate Ball; Angéla: Margarette
Robinson; King Herod: Jeff Jones. The rest of the ensemble includes Rudy Guerrero, Mirian Halloway,
Darrius Johnson, Halili Knox, Rashaad Leggett, Amy Lizardo, Allison Payne, Traci Tolmaire, and
Luther Michael Spratt.
Tickets for Rejoice! are $43–$53. Wednesday–Saturday evening performances are at 8pm; Saturday
matinée performances are at 2pm and Sunday matinées are at 4pm. No 8pm performance Dec. 24. No
performance Dec 25. Dec. 31 performances are 2pm & 7pm. To purchase by phone or in person, call
or visit the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre box office, 450 Post Street, San Francisco, at 415 474-8800,
Tues–Fri, noon–4pm. The box office is also open one hour prior to each performance. Online tickets are
available through www.LHTSF.org. For more information, group ticket sales, or to subscribe, call 415
474-8800, or visit Lorraine Hansberry Theatre on the web at www.LHTSF.org.
Ron Stacker Thompson (concept, book & additional lyrics) has been a producer on such diverse films
as A Rage In Harlem, Deep Cover, The Cemetery Club, Sister Act 2 and Hoodlum. Other feature credits
include To Sleep With Anger and Grand Canyon. His film experience has afforded him the opportunity
to work with such stellar talent as Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Laurence Fishburne, Ellen Burstyn,
Danny Glover, Christina Ricci, Jeff Goldblum and Andy Garcia.
In television, he has written and produced America’s Dream, the highly acclaimed HBO Special
nominated for nine Cable Ace Awards, two of which Thompson won for Best Writing and Best
Producing of a Dramatic Series or Special. American’s Dream starring Danny Glover and Wesley
Snipes, was also honored with the prestigious N.A.A.C.P Image Award for Best Television Movie or
Mini-Series. Thompson has also written Nat King Cole: Loved in Return for the award winning series
Biography on the A&E Network, as well as the feature Funny Valentines, starring Alfre Woodard and
Loretta Devine for BET/Universal.
However, it is in theatre where Thompson got his start, where he developed his unique ability to
successfully blend all aspects of his talents. As founder and Artistic Director of the Oakland Ensemble
Theatre he produced and directed over fifty plays, many of which he wrote. Since that time, he has
directed national tours of Stompin’ at the Savoy starring Harold Nicholas, Some of My Best Friends
Are the Blues starring Della Reese, Soul Survivor starring Ted Lange and Achieving the Dream starring
Yolanda King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King. He has also mounted productions at the Kennedy
Center, Lincoln Center, the National Black Theatre Festival, and Off-Broadway at the Henry Street
Settlement, AMAS theatre, and the famed Apollo theatre.
Thompson has always been deeply involved in education, teaching subjects ranging from literature and
poetry, urban and ethnic studies to speech, theatre, dance and multi-cultural philosophy. He is presently
a professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he is chair of the Screenwriting
He dedicates the creation of REJOICE! to his two grandsons, Magnus and Thaddeus, who make him
rejoice every single day.
Nolan Shaheed (music & lyrics) was born in Pasadena, CA. He served as musical director for Marvin
Gaye from 1974 to 1976. He then played lead trumpet with the Count Basie Orchestra from 1976 to
1979. Other notable credits include work with Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Phil Collins,
and Anita Baker. He has also performed and toured with Eddie Harris, Teddy Edwards, the Duke
Ellington Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Jeannie & Jimmy Cheatham, and Francisco
Aquabea. Nolan has been one of LA’s top studio musicians since 1974 and is in great demand in the Jazz
scene. He currently owns a recording studio and is a music producer.
Mar go Hall (director) is an award winning actor/director/playwright. As an actress Margo was last seen
onstage in LHT’s production of Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation; or The Re-Education of Undine, at Fort
Mason Center’s Southside Theatre, and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet at A.C.T. Recently, Margo drew
rave reviews in the lead role in Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind, at the Aurora Theater. Other recent
productions include Marcus Gardley’s A World in a Woman’s Hands, for Shotgun Players.
She is a founding member of Campo Santo, a resident theater company at Intersection for the Arts in
San Francisco, a theater company dedicated to producing new plays by people of color. Her acting
credits for Campo Santo include Chinaka Hodges’ Mirrors in Every Corner, Jessica Hagedorn’s Fé in the
Desert and Stairway to Heaven, and Naomi Iizuka’s Hamlet: Blood in the Brain, 17 Reasons (Why) and
Polaroid Stories, floating weeds, a world premiere by Philip Gotanda, References to Salvador Dali Make
Me Hot, by Jose Rivera, Bethlehem by Octavio Solis, and Hurricane, by Erin Cressida Wilson. She has
toured France with Word for Word as Missie May in The Gilded Six-Bits by Zora Neale Hurston, and
Oceola in The Blues I’m Playing by Langston Hughes.
She debuted as a Director with the world premiere of Joyride, from the novel Grand Avenue by Greg
Sarris, which was the Bay Area Critics Circle Winner for Best Original Script; the SF Weekly Black Box
Awards for Best Production, Best Ensemble, Best Director; Drama-Logue Awards-Northern California
for Best Production, Best Ensemble; the Backstage West-Garland Awards-Northern California for Best
Production, Best Ensemble, and the Bay Guardian GOLDIE Award Winner for Stage, and directed
Mission Indians, a new play by Greg Sarris, with Nancy Benjamin. She co-directed Erin Cressida
Wilson’s award winning The Trail of Her Inner Thigh with Rhodessa Jones. She also directed Hotel
Angulo, by Luis Saguar, and Sam Shepard’s Simpatico for Campo Santo. She most recently directed The
Story, by Tracy Scott Wilson, a SF Playhouse/Lorraine Hansberry Theatre co-production. Prior directing
credits include Sonny’s Blues a story by James Baldwin, for Word for Word, which toured France. She
co-directed Bulrusher with Ellen Chang, a play by Eisa Davis, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,
and Spunk, The Trojan Women, It Falls, Ragtime, and A Streetcar Named Desire for Chabot College.
Margo completed her first writing project in April 2005 with the World Premier of The People’s Temple
at Berkeley Repertory Theater, which won the Glickman award for best new play in the Bay Area for
2005. She was a part of a collaborative team of four writers who used interviews of survivors, and
archival material to form a play exploring the People’s Temple movement and the tragic ending at
Jonestown. The play went on from Berkeley Rep. to The Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska and the
Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Margo was also part of the acting ensemble.
Margo has also embarked on producing a food show for kids: DooF (food backwards), which explores
fun ways for kids to make healthy food choices. Margo has a MFA from Catholic University of America
and teaches acting at Chabot College and the University of San Francisco.