The Black List has announced a live staged reading of Trey Ellis’s script “Holy Mackerel!” – the riveting true story of the rise and fall of the pioneering all-black sitcom ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy – with Mykelti Williamson as Spencer Williams, David Alan Grier as Tim Moore, and Jesse Williams as Alvin Childress. The reading will take place at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood this Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 8PM, the night before the 68th Emmy Awards.
Yvette Nicole Brown will take on the roles of Williams’s wife Eula and actress Ernestine Wade; while Reno Wilson will read comedians Johnny Lee and Nick Stewart, among others.
Summary: Set in the Technicolor TV boom years of swimming pools and movie stars, “Holy Mackerel!” is a battle royal between Spencer Williams, Alvin Childress and Tim Moore, the brilliant black actors who reclaimed Amos, Andy and Kingfish from its white creators, and Walter White, the complicated head of the NAACP whose single-minded obsession erased the show from the airwaves. “Holy Mackerel!” is the true story of the birth of the show, the NAACP’s mission to destroy it, and the devastating effect the controversy had on black comedy for decades.
“It is no coincidence that we chose this script to present the day before the 2016 Emmy Awards and as the 2016 Oscar race begins in earnest,” said Black List founder Franklin Leonard. “Race still matters – a lot – on both the big and small screen, and in the everyday lives of all Americans. Confronting those issues head on is a first step to addressing them adequately, and Trey Ellis has written an exceptional script that does exactly that.”
Trey Ellis (Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated screenwriter), who will also direct the readin, adds: “When I discovered that everything I thought I knew about AMOS ‘N’ ANDY was wrong, that it was one of TV’s first ever sitcoms and the all-black cast were some of the most brilliant comedians to ever walk the earth, I knew I had to bring their story back to life,” said Ellis. “’Holy Mackerel!’, the phrase the show invented, is a comedy about the tragedy of what happened to them.”
The screenplay was selected after being evaluated highly on the Black List’s website (www.blcklst.com).
Tickets for “Holy Mackerel!” set for Saturday, September 17, 2016 at The Montalban Theater in Hollywood, are available online at http://holymackerel.eventbrite.com.
Doors open at 7:30pm; the program starts at 8pm.
The 2016 Black List Live! series is supported by Warby Parker.
Readings are cast by Lisa Zagoria of Aquila Wood Casting. Poster art is designed by Gravillis, Inc. Black List Live! is also supported by media sponsor 89.3 KPCC