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HYPE MAN (2021 Film)

by Idris Goodwin
in collaboration with American Repertory Theater
original staged production director, Shawn LaCount
director of photography, John Oluwole ADEkoje
cinematography, John Oluwole ADEkoje & The Loop Lab
film direction, John Oluwole ADEkoje & Shawn LaCount
animator/illustrator, Barrington S. Edwards
dramaturg, Jessie Baxter

Called “Sharply directed, incredibly well-acted, and absolutely of-the-moment” by GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen, Company One’s Hype Man: a break beat play asks: who has the responsibility to speak up in the face of social injustice? This newly reimagined version of the Elliot Norton Award-winning play by poet and playwright Idris Goodwin (How We Got On) follows a rapper, a beat-maker, and a hype man on the verge of making it big when the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager shakes the interracial hip-hop trio to the core and forces them to navigate issues of friendship, race, and protest.

Hype Man: a break beat play was developed by Goodwin with Company One Theatre.

C1's Take

>> Company One Theatre is producing HYPE MAN to AMPLIFY: 

  • – Accountability and a commitment to continuously challenge the notion of white allyship 
  • – Advocacy for female artists of color in male-dominated industries 
  • – ARTivism and the responsibility of artists to respond to calls to action through their creative platforms 
  • – Partnership between arts organizations to create mentoring and leadership opportunities for youth 
  • – Black Lives Matter as a movement that is and will continue to grow, protest, and fight

"One of the most fully realized works of streaming theater."
- The Boston Globe
"Fascinating and so important."
- GBH Arts Editor Jared Bowen
"The camera doesn't lie' there isn't a false note in any of these performances."
- Joyce Kulhawik
"Company One’s [Hype Man], presented by the A.R.T., is freshly urgent, considering the past year’s debates around policing and the appropriation of historically Black art forms."
- The New York Times

Notable dates

Virtual Premiere Celebration: 4/8 at 7PM ET
Cast Meet-and-Greet: 4/11 at 5:30PM ET
Post-Show Conversation: 4/15 at 9PM ET
Closing Night Watch Party: 5/6 at 7:30PM ET
On Demand Thru: 5/6
ASL-Interpreted On Demand Thru: 5/6
Audio Described On Demand Thru: 5/6
Closed Captions: Available at all performances



  • Kadahj Bennett
    A.R.T.: Debut. Regional: Watertown Historical Moving Plays: The Charles W. Lenox Experience, New Rep; Pass Over, SpeakEasy Stage; Dream Boston, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Huntington Theatre Company; This Place Displaced, Artists’ Theater of Boston; Hype Man, Peerless, The T Party, An Octoroon, Dry Land, How We Got On, Company One; Akeelah and the Bee, Wheelock Family Theatre. Web Series: The Halls, Beyond Measure Productions. Music: Music Director: Company One, Front Porch Arts Collective; Dancelujah (Writer/Lyricist/Vocalist), Zumix (Songwriting and Performance Manage). Luminary Artist, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Education: Hamilton College, Boston Arts Academy.

  • Rachel Cognata
    A.R.T.: Gloria: A Life; Hype Man: a break beat play, Greater Good, Company One Theatre. Regional: Really, Hype Man (Elliot Norton Award), Company One Theatre; Cardboard Piano, New Repertory Theatre; The Book Club Play, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.

  • Michael Knowlton
    A.R.T.: Debut. Regional: Hype Man, Company One, Mixed Blood; Splendor, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (dir. Shawn LaCount); Come Back Little Sheba (IRNE Award nominee, Best Supporting Actor), Our Town (dir. David Cromer), Huntington Theatre Company; Distant Neighbors, Fresh Ink; Coriolanus, Commonwealth Shakespeare; References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater; The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Wax Wings. Film: Anything It Takes (Billy), 8 Productions. Michael was a regular cast member of Boston’s Shear Madness from 2015 until its closing in 2020.

  • Idris Goodwin
    A.R.T.: Debut. Idris Goodwin is a multiple award-winning playwright, breakbeat poet, director, educator, and organizer. Idris is Director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, the first Black man to hold the position in its 100-year history. Prior to this, Goodwin served two seasons as Producing Artistic Director at StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky. Idris is the author of over 50 original plays ranging from his Hip Hop-inspired breakbeat series to historical dramas to works for young audiences. Works like And In This Corner Cassius Clay, How We Got On, Hype Man: a break beat play, and the groundbreaking Free Play: Open Source Scripts for an Antiracist Tomorrow, are widely produced across the country. Several of his plays are published and licensed through Playscripts Inc. Other works like the poetry books Can I Kick It?, Human Highlight: Ode To Dominique Wilkins, and the play This Is Modern Art are available from Haymarket Books. Goodwin has appeared on HBO Def Poetry, Sesame Street, NPR, BBC Radio, and the Discovery Channel. Idris is a 2021 United States Artist Fellow, recognized as a culture bearer who celebrates community values and cultivates histories with care.

  • Shawn LaCount
    A.R.T.: We’re Gonna Die, Company One. Shawn LaCount (he/him/his) is a co-founder of Company One Theatre, where he has served as Co-Executive Director and Artistic Director since 1998. Under Shawn’s co-leadership, Company One Theatre has grown into a nationally recognized theatre at the intersection of art and social change, having served over 15,000 students, 100,000 audience members, and presenting over 80 productions in 21 years. Director: Hype Man (world premiere, Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Production), Really, Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them; The Flick (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Production); Splendor (world premiere), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Production), The Aliens (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Production); GRIMM (world premiere); The Overwhelming; After the Quake; Assassins; Mr. Marmalade. Education: MA Ed., Theatre Education, Clark University; MFA, Directing, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Teaching: Emerson College, Boston Arts Academy, Huntington Theatre Company, Tufts University, Stage One, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • John Oluwole ADEkoje
    A.R.T.: Debut. Film: Knockaround Kids (first narrative feature, available on Tubi, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Apple, and other platforms), Roxbury International Film Festival (Emerging Filmmaker Award), Urbanworld Film Festival (New York); Street Soldiers, Roxbury International Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival (Cannes, France), World Film Festival (Montreal), BronzeLens Film Festival (Atlanta). Theater: Street Walker (Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, Kennedy Center ACTF). Awards: National Tri-Annual Play Competition for Professional Writers, Brother Thomas Fellowship Award. John teaches film production and theater at Boston Arts Academy.

  • The Loop Lab
    The Loop Lab is a BIPOC-led nonprofit social enterprise specializing in media arts internships and digital storytelling in Greater Boston. Our mission is to empower Womxn and People of Color in the media arts to develop careers in audio/video through job training and job placement. As a multi-racial organization, we are committed to ending inequality and racism through digital storytelling. We are also an official sponsor for AV apprenticeships in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

  • Lawrence E. Moten, III
    A.R.T.: Debut. Off-Broadway: Stew, Page 73; How to Load A Musket, The White Chip, 59E59; Behind The Sheet, EST. Regional: Hi, Are You Single?, Woolly Mammoth; Gloria, A.C.T.; Feeding Beatrice, St. Louis Rep; Native Son, Playmakers Rep; House of Joy, Cal Shakes; A Human Being, Of A Sort, Williamstown; The Royale, Capital Rep, Merrimack Rep; Shakespeare In Love, Capital Rep. Resident Designer, National Playwrights Conference 2018-2020, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Member, USA 829, Wingspace Theatrical Design.

  • Cassandra Queen
    A.R.T.: Debut. Regional: Hype Man (Eliot Norton Award), Company One; Hype Man, Mixed Blood Theatre; For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Praxis Stage. Education: BS, Chemistry, Simmons College; MS, Chemistry, University of Oregon; Fashion Design Certificate, Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

  • Lee Schuna
    A.R.T.: Greater Good, Company One. Regional: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Hub Theatre; Hype Man (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Production, Small Theater), Company One; Heartland, Straight White Men,Two Jews Walked Into a War (IRNE Nomination, Sound Design, Small Theater), New Rep; The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; Heritage Hill Naturals, Fresh Ink Theatre. Educational: Much Ado About Nothing, Tufts University.

  • Barrington Edwards
    A.R.T.: Debut. Barrington Edwards, an artist and community activist from Boston, attended the Massachusetts College of Art and earned a BFA in Communication Design and a MSAE in Art Education. Barrington taught art at the Boston Arts Academy for nineteen years. He is an award-winning teacher and artist, a publisher of comics and graphic media, and he works as a freelance artist. He currently teaches Art Education at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Barrington consistently works to develop his practice as a maker, social interventionist, and teacher.

  • Stephanie Hakulin
    Stephanie is a Deaf Interpreter and resides in Massachusetts. She has worked as an interpreter for Boston Outdoor events and theaters. She enjoys working as an ASL consultant for American Repertory Theater and is very excited to work with this amazing team!

  • Shonnese Grant
    Shonnese was born in New Bern, North Carolina, and raised in Palo Alto, California. She received a Bachelor’s degree in African-American studies and Political Science from Duke University and then went on to receive a Master’s degree in Deaf Education from Boston University before making Boston her home. In addition to being an educator and mother of three, Shonnese has interpreted for such venues as Boston University Theatre, Central Square Theater, Broadway in Boston, Wheelock Family Theatre, and Huntington Theatre. She is tremendously excited for this opportunity to work with the A.R.T.

  • Michael Sullivan
    Michael is an ASL interpreter and performer based in Southern California. He was recently seen at A.R.T. interpreting WARHOLCAPOTE. Other interpreting credits include: A.R.T.: The Glass Menagerie, Bedlam’s Sense & Sensibility, 1984; As You Like It, King Lear, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. He has also tactile-interpreted (for a Deaf-Blind audience member) Kafka’s The Trial: “An Extraordinary Rendition” at Pilgrim Theatre. Michael is honored to be a part of this incredible production.

  • Brent Tracy
    Brent is a dual-certified ASL interpreter, native ASL user, and the CEO of Equal Access Resources Inc. For over twenty years, he has served as an interpreter, educator, mentor, and artist at various venues including New Repertory Theatre, Boston Opera House, and Emerson Colonial Theatre. Recent credits include Richard III, The Play That Goes Wrong, and The Lion King. He is humbled to be working with a great team of talented professionals to provide access on this show.

  • Jan Stankus
    Jan Stankus has been providing description for blind and visually impaired audience members for A.R.T. shows for a number of years, including Jagged Little Pill, Waitress, and Moby-Dick. For twenty years at WGBH, she described TV shows including “Arthur” and “Masterpiece Theatre,” as well as feature films, art exhibits, theme parks, national parks, museums, walking tours, online courses, and cruise ships. She serves on the ACVREP national committee establishing standards for Describer certification.

  • Paris Alston
    Paris Alston has been providing description and narration for blind and visually impaired audience members for A.R.T. shows since 2018, when she worked on The Black Clown. She is a multimedia journalist in Boston, and currently works as a producer for WBUR’s Radio Boston, and host of WBUR’s “Consider This” podcast.

  • Johnathan Carr
    A.R.T.: Projections Design: HEAR WORD!; HEAR WORD! International Tour 2016, Harvard Dance Center; Pulitzer Prize 100: Centennial. Additional Media: Pippin, The Lily’s Revenge. OBERON: Searching for Signal, ToUch Performance Art. Off-Broadway: H4, Resonance Ensemble; Same River, Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble. Regional: Hold These Truths, By The Way Meet Vera Stark, Into the Woods, Red Hot Patriot, City of Angels, Lyric Stage Company; An Octoroon, Company One. Educational Productions: Proclamation 4 and 5, A.R.T. Education & Community Programs; Working, Terra Nova, Wellesley College; The Man Who, Harvard College Theater, Dance & Media; Our Town (upcoming), A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training. Johnathan teaches in Harvard College’s Theater, Dance & Media concentration.

Virtual Premiere Celebration
Join us on April 8 at 7PM ET to celebrate the virtual premiere of Hype Man! Interact with fellow audience members and the creative team, and hear from A.R.T. and C1 staff about our longstanding partnership. Patrons with tickets to any performance are welcome to join. Invitation to RSVP issued following purchase.

Cast Meet-and-Greet
Kadahj Bennett, Rachel Cognata, and Michael Knowlton will join audiences on April 11 at 5:30PM ET for a post-show conversation following the matinee of Hype Man. Patrons with tickets to any performance are welcome to join. Invitation to RSVP issued following purchase.

Post-Show Conversation with Lisa Simmons and John Oluwole ADEkoje
On April 15 at 9PM ET, following the evening performance, Roxbury International Film Festival Director Lisa Simmons and Co-Film Director/Cinematographer John Oluwole ADEkoje chat about filmmaking, ADEkoje’s relationship to RoxFilm, and his work on Hype Man. Patrons with tickets to any performance are welcome to join. Invitation to RSVP issued following purchase.

Closing Night Watch Party
Tune in for a closing night watch party of Hype Man. Experience this “absolutely-of-the-moment show” with friends, family, and community. Starts at 7:30PM ET sharp!

Stay tuned for information on special events!


April 8, 2021

April 15, 2021
THEATER/ HYPE MAN: a break beat play by Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce's Choices

April 15, 2021
Arts This Week: 'Hype Man' And 'Beethoven In Beijing' by GBH Arts Editor Jared Bowen, GBH