Party People (2012)

Party People

  • July 3 - November 3, 2012
  • Directed by Liesl Tommy | By UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz Sapp and William Ruiz, a.k.a. Ninja)
  • PARTY PEOPLE was commissioned as part of "American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle".
Run Time:Two hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

Party on!

Prepare for a high-energy, infectious mix of theatre, poetry, jazz, blues, hip-hop, boleros and salsa as UNIVERSES digs into the story and legacy of an American revolution. Four decades ago, the Black Panthers and Puerto Rican Young Lords were young activists providing food and health care in their impoverished communities while in a desperate struggle to survive the systematic dismantling of their movements. Now they are 60-somethings untangling a traumatic past and an unclear future. In ensemble, OSF actors and UNIVERSES toggle between then and now in this meticulously researched, compelling work of fiction.

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An opening at an art gallery of works inspired by the 1960s and ’70s activities of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords presents a unique opportunity for members of both groups to gather and reflect on the past and present. As those from younger generations confront party members, they wrestle with how the ideals of yesterday are reflected in the present.

Old lovers reconnect, and friends who haven’t talked in 25 to 30 years reunite. Meanwhile, former frenemies—and informants, too—meet and catch up. As the evening proceeds, however, certain facts that were taken as truths come into question. Songs and poetic monologues flare up to reveal the inner thoughts of party leaders as well as rank and file who had contributed to the party’s cause. By evening’s end, history does not seem as black and white as it sometimes reads in history books.

Artistic Team

 Broken Chord
Julie Felise Dubiner
Voice and Text Director
David Carey
Millicent Johnnie
Liesl Tommy
Scenic Designer
Clint Ramos
Costume Designer
E Sosa
Lighting Designer
Marcus Doshi
Video Designer
Pablo N. Molina

Cast List

G. Valmont Thomas*
Mildred Ruiz-Sapp*
William Ruiz, a.k.a. Ninja
Jadele McPherson
Mateo Gomez*
Peter Macon*
Steven Sapp*
Michael Elich*
Kimberly Scott*
Robynn Rodriguez*
Christopher Livingston*
Miriam A. Laube*
* Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)
**AEA Professional Theatre Intern
  • Party People

    Sneak Peek

    Get a sneak peek of our 2012 production of Party People, directed by Liesl Tommy and written by UNIVERSES (Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, Steven Sapp, William Ruiz a.k.a. Ninja).

  • Liesl Tommy

    Early Thoughts

    Director Liesl Tommy shares early thoughts on the style of Party People.

  • Steven Sapp

    Framework for the Play

    UNIVERSES talk about the style of the new play.



    The members of UNIVERSES discuss their motivation for developing Party People.

  • Liesl Tommy

    The Production

    Director Liesl Tommy discusses the process of bringing Party People to the stage.



    UNIVERSES describes the interview process for their new play, Party People.

  • KLCC logo

    KLCC Radio Eugene

    “The world premiere of 'Party People,' the latest play to open at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s New Theatre, is a dazzling creation by the New York-based theatre collective known as UNIVERSES…'Party People'is an artful mixture of spoken poetry, hip-hop theatre, blues, jazz, gospel and rap. Mesmerizing monologues punctuate this well-balanced theatrical potpourri." (scroll to end of the audio news cast for the review)

  • Daily Tidings logo

    Ashland Daily Tidings

    "'Party People,' which opened Saturday in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's New Theatre, is a high-energy, vibrant, roller coaster ride — via dialogue, monologue, poetry, music and dance — of the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords, two minority-based revolutionary groups of the 1960s and 1970s. Commissioned by OSF as part of its American Revolutions: The U.S. History Cycle series, Party People is a creation of the New York City-based performance group Universes. The play is based on interviews the group conducted with former members of the Black Panthers and Young Lords. Using those stories, "Party People" explores the myths and the realities of The Revolution.”

  • Daily Kos

    “I'm back after a week-long visit to Oregon, where I got to see the incredible production of Party People, at the Ore-gon Shakespeare Festival. Obviously, a play about the Black Panthers and Young Lords isn't Shakespearean. It is the vision of a talented group of artists, UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, William Ruiz, a.k.a. Ninja) directed by Liesl Tommy. It was commissioned as part of the OSF American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle. I went to see it three times. I pray that it is given the chance to go on the road and be staged across the U.S. in all our communities.” Daily Kos