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Folger Theatre presents Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, bringing Ovid’s classic tales of gods and mortals to life

Press release: April 9, 2024 — Washington, DC

Psalmayene 24 directs award-winning play featuring all-Black cast


Folger Theatre concludes its homecoming season with Mary Zimmerman’s Tony Award®-winning play, Metamorphoses. Directed by Psalmayene 24 (Tempestuous Elements at Arena Stage and Good Bones at Studio Theatre), this captivating play situates the timeless tales of Ovid in a modern-day setting. Through a series of interconnected vignettes, the play showcases the transformative power of myths through a rich tapestry exploring themes of love, loss, and the human experience. Folger Theatre’s production sets these stories among the African diaspora, layering in points of connection for audiences among the universal themes of the play.

Metamorphoses is on stage at Folger Theatre from May 7 – June 16, 2024. Tickets are available online at or by calling the Folger Box Office at (202) 544-7077.

For the first time in Folger Theatre’s history, the production features an all-Black cast. “This production aims to celebrate Black life—and culture—through the protean lens of Mary Zimmerman’s marvelous script,” says Psalmayene 24. “My decision to cast this production with an all-Black ensemble was precipitated by the police killing of Tyre Nichols. His death shattered me. If Mr. Nichols’ unjust and brutal killing reveals anything, it’s that the mechanisms of American power still devalue Black life. My hope is that through this interpretation of Metamorphoses, DC audiences will gain a greater awareness and appreciation of the universal commonalities that bind us all.”

“Zimmerman’s gorgeous adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses has always poetically centered on the particularities of being human, says Karen Ann Daniels, Folger Director of Programming and Performance and Artistic Director of Folger Theatre. “Psalm’s vision takes it to a new level. By pulling together an all-Black ensemble, he uplifts and celebrates the humanity of black people, our potential for renewal and rebirth, while exploring our collective transformational journey as human beings.”

The extraordinary ensemble of actors in this 90-minute production of Metamorphoses includes familiar Folger faces, as well as a number making their Folger Theatre debut. The cast of gods and mortals features Edwin Brown III, Renea S. Brown, DeJeanette Horne, Yesenia Iglesias, Billie Kirshawn, Manu Kumasi, Miss Kitty, Jon Hudson Odom, Kalen Robinson, Gerrad Taylor, and Renee Elizabeth Wilson.

The creative team bringing these tales to innovative life includes scenic designer Lawrence E. Moten III (Chicken & Biscuits on Broadway), costume designer Mika Eubanks (Flex at Lincoln Center Theater), Helen Hayes Award-winning lighting designer William K. D’Eugenio (Tempestuous Elements at Arena Stage), composer and sound designer Nick Hernandez (Folger Theatre’s Our Verse in Time to Come and Nollywood Dreams at Round House Theatre) and choreographer Tony Thomas (Tempestuous Elements at Arena Stage). The team also includes Faedra Chatard Carpenter (dramaturg), Kaja Dunn (resident intimacy director and cultural consultant), Jeanette Christensen (assistant costume designer), Deb Thomas (props designer), and Lauren Pekel (production stage manager).

Metamorphoses is a compilation of myths that touch the deepest and most elemental parts of our humanity,” adds Psalmayene 24. “These stories remind us of the unchanging nature of human existence. Our love, greed, foolishness, lust, kindness, stubbornness, creativity, violence, and generosity—the things that unite people across the eons—is reflected back to us through the prism of this play.”

Mary Zimmerman originally created Metamorphoses with students at Northwestern University and the play had its first professional production in 1998. Following a tour at several regional theaters across the country, Metamorphoses was produced on Broadway in 2002, garnering a Tony Award® for ‘Best Direction,’ as well as numerous other awards.

Ticket Information & Performance Dates:

Metamorphoses is on stage at Folger Theatre from May 7 through June 16, 2024. Tickets are $20-$84. Discounted preview performances and special rates for patrons under 35, students, seniors, members and family of the military, educators, and groups may be purchased through the Folger Theatre Box Office at (202) 544-7077 or online at

Related Programming:

The Pay-What-You-Will performance is on Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30pm. Tickets will be available to the public in-person starting at 5pm. One ticket per person.

Folger Theatre’s Stage Director Talk is on Thursday, May 9 at 6:30pm. Learn about the creative process, history, staging, and vision of Metamorphoses with director Psalmayene 24, alongside choreographer Tony Thomas and costume designer Mika Eubanks, in conversation with Folger Theatre Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels. $25, with discounts for Folger Subscribers and Members.

The Folger will host its first ever Blackout Night on Thursday, May 16 at 7:30pm. Black-identifying audiences are invited to see the performance this evening, as the Folger joins a growing movement among theaters to allow Black audiences to see themselves in theater spaces.

Inside the Season: Metamorphoses is on Wednesday, May 22 at 6:30pm. Folger Institute Director Patricia Akhimie engages in conversation with dramaturg Faedra Chatard Carpenter (American University), exploring the universal themes of Metamorphoses and the plays that make up Folger Theatre’s 2023/24 “What’s Your Story?” season. Tickets are $25, with discounts for Folger Subscribers and Members.

Relaxed performances, designed to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for neuro-diverse audiences, are Sunday, May 26 at 7:30pm and Wednesday, June 5 at 2pm.

Audience members are encouraged to stay and take part in our Post-Show Discussion with the Cast of Metamorphoses on Thursday, May 30. This interactive discussion follows the evening’s 7:30pm performance.

Folger Theatre is hosting an Affinity Night, dedicated to celebrating and honoring the LGBTQ+ community. Taking place on Friday, June 7 at 8pm, this special event invites members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community to come together for an evening of inclusivity, camaraderie, and theater.

Folger Theatre has denoted select performances during the 2023/24 season as mask-required by all audience members, staff, and volunteers. Masked Performances for Metamorphoses are Saturday, June 8 at 2pm and 8pm.

Open-Captioned performances are Sunday, June 9 at 2pm and 7:30pm. Open-captioned performances are supported by Vinton and Sigrid Cerf.

Please check the Folger website at a complete listing of related programming and events.

About the Cast:

Edwin Brown III (Third Man) – Folger Theatre: debut; Studio Theatre: Wig Out!, Three Sisters/No Sisters (understudy); Shakespeare Theatre Company: Macbeth. Regional: Alabama Shakespeare Festival: Fly; Kansas City Repertory Theatre: Freedom Rider; Kansas Classical Repertory Theatre: The Comedy of Errors; Coterie Theatre: The Freedom Trial of Anthony Burns. Broadway Workshop: Thoughts of a Colored Man. Off-Broadway: New Victory Theatre: Romeo and Juliet; 59E59: Separate and Equal. National Tour: The Acting Company: The Three Musketeers. Television: Lincoln’s War at Washington. Instagram: @kingedwinbrown.

Renea S. Brown (Third Woman) – Folger Theatre: Our Verse in Time to Come, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Arena Stage: Tempestuous Elements, Change Agent; Round House Theatre: Mountaintop; Shakespeare Theatre Company: The Tempest, Macbeth; Kennedy Center: Love Factually; Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth; Theatre Prometheus: Macbeth, Cymbeline. Regional: McCarter Theatre: The Wolves; Island Shakespeare Festival: Othello, Sense and Sensibility, and Twelfth Night (first woman to perform); QuintessenceTheatre: Wedding Band, The Little Princess; American Shakespeare Center: Much Ado About Nothing, A King and No King, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. Academy of Classical Acting, MFA. Instagram: @TheDarkLady.

DeJeanette Horne (First Man) – Folger Theatre: debut; Anacostia Playhouse: Sunset Baby; Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: Macbeth, Hamlet, Henry V, The Adventures of Pericles; The Keegan Theatre: SWEAT, Elegies: A Song Cycle, The Outsider (2022 Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble), West by God, God of Carnage; Theater Alliance: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (2024 Helen Hayes nominee, Best Supporting Performer and Outstanding Ensemble in a Play); Unexpected Stage: Sophisticated New Ones; Perisphere Theater:  Blue Door; Washington Stage Guild: My Children! My Africa!; 4615 Theatre Company: The Infinite Tales; Olney Theatre Center: The Brothers Paranormal; Valley Place Arts Collaborative: Morning After Grace. Voiceover work includes: Graphic Audio: Box of Bones, Finder Chronicles 1: Finder; and more.

Yesenia Iglesias (First Woman) – Folger Theatre: Love’s Labor’s Lost; Studio Theatre: At the Wedding; Arena Stage: POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive; Olney Theatre Center: Dance Nation; Signature Theatre: Daphne’s Dive, Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity; The Kennedy Center: Kid Prince, Pablo; Round House Theatre: The Legend of Georgia McBride; Constellation Theatre Company: The Caucasian Chalk Circle. University of Washington, MFA. Instagram: @ye_iglesias.

Billie Kirshawn (Second Woman) – Folger Theatre: debut; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: The Sensational Sea Mink-ettes; Ford’s Theater: Something Moving; Arena Stage: Angels in America (Helen Hayes nomination); Everyman Theatre: JUMP; Studio Theatre: Until the Flood; Mosaic Theatre Company: The Till Trilogy (Helen Hayes Award); Olney Theatre Center: Joy That Carries You; The Kennedy Center: HERstory; Theater Alliance: Blood at the Root (Helen Hayes Award); Constellation Theatre: Company: Melancholy Play (Helen Hayes nomination, Helen Hayes Award); 1st Stage and Keegan Theatre: Airness; 1st Stage: Civil War Christmas; Synetic Theater: Treasure Island; Avant Bard Theatre: Emilie; Adventure Theatre: Jumanji, Winnie the Pooh. Film: Water in a Broken Glass (Amazon Prime). Education: Drew University and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Instagram: @AbsoluteReality.

Manu Kumasi (Fourth Man) – Folger Theatre: debut; Washington National Opera/The Kennedy Center: Lost in the Stars, Darius & Twig; Annapolis Shakespeare Company: Hamlet; Shakespeare Theatre Company: Measure for Measure. Regional: Yale Repertory Theatre: Twelfth Night. Off-Broadway: La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club: Soulagraphie. Television: EVIL (Paramount+). Yale School of Drama, MFA. Instagram: @manu.kumasi.

Miss Kitty (Water Nymph) – Folger Theatre: debut; Spooky Action Theater: Agreste; Avant Bard Theatre: Suddenly Last Summer, Illyria or What You Will, She Speaks!; Prince George’s Shakespeare in the Parks: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing; Capital Fringe Festival: Brunch with the Boys; Imagination Stage: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Film:  A Brighter Tomorrow: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (WILL Interactive), S.P.I.E.S. and S.P.I.E.S. 2 (Imagination Stage/Leapfrog Productions), Shine (ISA Group/Redmon Group Inc.), “Open to All – Three Words” (76 Words/Movement Advancement Project).

Jon Hudson Odom (Second Man) – Folger Theatre: debut; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Ain’t No Mo’, An Octoroon, Botticelli in the Fire; Round House Theatre & Olney Theatre Center: Angels in America; Olney Theatre Center: Colossal, Piano Lesson, Hay Fever. Regional: Steppenwolf Theatre Company: No Man’s Land, Describe the Night, The Seagull, Ms. Black For President; The Goodman Theatre: Toni Stone; Writers Theatre: Witch; Denver Center for the Performing Arts: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; Actor’s Theatre of Louisville: The Magic Play. Television: Lovecraft Country (HBO), Somebody Somewhere (HBO Max), South Side (HBO Max), Chicago PD (NBC). Film: The Year Between, A Savage Nature, Reporting for Christmas. Five-time nominee and recipient of the Helen Hayes Award & Jeff Award nominee. University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Kalen Robinson (Fourth Woman) – Folger Theatre: Our Verse in Time to Come, The Reading Room; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: The Sensational Sea-Minkettes; Theatre Alliance/The Kennedy Center: Look Both Ways; Imagination Stage: Nate the Great, The Hula Hoopin’ Queen; Signature Theatre: Passing Strange; Constellation Theatre Company: Once on This Island; Round House Theatre: Spring Awakening. Regional: Fulton Theatre: Cinderella, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Instagram: @k_nicole143.

Gerrad Taylor (Fifth Man) – Folger Theatre: debut; Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: Macbeth, A Raisin in the Sun, Henry IV Part 1; Constellation Theatre Company: Incognito, The Skin of Our Teeth; Mosaic Theatre Company: Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World; Washington Stage Guild: Alabama Story, Everyman Theatre: Great Expectations; Prologue Theatre: Monsters of the American Cinema. Regional: Delaware Shakespeare: The Tempest; PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre: Twelfth Night; Great River Shakespeare Festival: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Renee Elizabeth Wilson (Fifth Woman) – Folger Theatre: Nell Gwynn, Julius X; Mosaic Theater Company: Monumental Travesties (world premiere),  Native Son, Milk Like Sugar; Theater J: Intimate Apparel; Round House Theatre: Radio Golf, Nollywood Dreams; Constellation Theatre Company: Moon Man Walk; Woolly Mammoth Theatre: Ain’t No Mo’ ; Imagination Stage: The Hula Hoopin’ Queen (world premiere); Studio Theatre: Skeleton Crew, Doubt, White Noise; Arena Stage: Tempestuous Elements, Seven Guitars. International: Red Shoes (world premiere) Film: Smoke Out, Veracity. Instagram: @actpoetic88.

About the Creative Team:

Mary Zimmerman (Playwright) – debut. Metamorphoses (Tony Award for Best Direction), Argonautika, The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, The Secret in the Wings, S/M: A Dream Biography, Treasure Island, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Eleven Rooms of Proust, The Journey to the West, Silk, Jungle Book, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Candide, Galileo, Galilei.

Psalmayene24 (Director) – Folger Theatre: debut. Arena Stage: Tempestuous Elements, The Freewheelin’ Insurgents; Studio Theatre: The Colored Museum (upcoming), Good Bones, Flow, Pass Over; Ford’s Theatre: Necessary Sacrifices: A Radio Play; Theatre Alliance: The Word Becomes Flesh (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Direction of a Play). Playwriting: Mosaic Theater: Monumental Travesties, Native Son, Dear Mapel, Les Deux Noirs; Joe’s Movement Emporium: Out of the Vineyard; Imagination Stage: Cinderella: The Remix. Acting: Arena Stage: Ruined, Cuttin’ Up, Anthems; Mosaic Theater: Dear Mapel. Television: The Wire. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Mosaic Theater.

Tony Thomas (Choreographer) – Folger Theatre: debut; Arena Stage: Tempestuous Elements. Tomy is a New York based director, choreographer, and interior architect working in a wide range of arts and entertainment mediums. Tony was trained by Debbie Allen, Shawn Cosby, and Mike Malone, while working with Broadway’s David Saint and Joey McKneely, Steven Nachamie, Christopher Huggins, Tony Powell, Dancing with The Stars’ Jeffon Avin, and many others. Tony delivers innovation in dance from his core strengths in Ballet, Modern, Latin, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, and Musical Theatre. His directing technique involves movement, gesture-work, creative staging, and detailed character development – ultimately driving the story through visual interest. Always aiming to redefine the wisdom and artistry of the legends, Tony’s expressive style and pedagogy enforces focus, fluidity, innovation, and precision in the arts and entertainment industry.

Lawrence Moten III (Scenic Designer) – Folger Theatre: debut. Regional: The Old Globe: King James, Twelfth Night, Trouble in Mind; The Geffen Playhouse: Black Cypress Bayou; McCarter Theatre and Berkeley Rep: Bulrusher; Wolf Trap Opera: Faust; American Players Theater: Proof, Once Upon a Bridge, The Brothers Size; Alley Theatre: Sherlock Holmes And The Case of the Jersey Lily; McCarter Theatre and The Guthrie Theater: Blues for an Alabama Sky; South Coast Rep: Appropriate, The Little Foxes; Portland Center Stage: Gem of The Ocean; The Goodspeed: Christmas in Connecticut; Santa Fe Opera: This Little Light of Mine; The Wilma Theater: Fairview; Round House Theatre:  it’s not a trip, it’s a journey, We Declare You a Terrorist... Broadway: Circle in the Square: Chicken & Biscuits; Off-Broadway: MCC and 59E59: The White Chip; Roundabout Theater: Covenant; Second Stage, Uptown: Patience; Page 73: STEW. Member: Local USA 829. Instagram: @motendesigns.

Mika Eubanks (Costume Designer) – Folger Theatre: debut. Classical Theater of Harlem: Seize The King; Lincoln Center Theater: Flex; The Vineyard Theatre: Lessons in Survival: 1971. Regional: Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: Feeding Beatrice; Baltimore Center Stage/Long Wharf Theatre: Fires In The Mirror; The Old Globe: The XIXth; St. Louis Shakespeare Festival: King Lear starring Andre De Shields; Asolo Repertory Theater: Grand Horizons; Yale Repertory Theatre/CTH: Twelfth Night (Connecticut Critic Circle Award for Outstanding Costume Design). Film: Candace. Television: Initiative 29 (Hulu). Yale School of Drama, MFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, BA.

William K. D’Eugenio (Lighting Designer) – Folger Theatre: debut; Arena Stage: Tempestuous Elements; 1st Stage: The Chosen, The Brothers Size (Helen Hayes Award); Studio Theatre: Good Bones; Faction of Fools: Love Like Tuesday; Mosaic Theater Company: In His Hands, Native Son; Theater Alliance: Mnemonic and Word Becomes Flesh (Helen Hayes Award); Kennedy Center: Long Way Down, Robert Glasper – Black Radio: A Duke x Dilla Celebration, Declassified: Laufey, dodie & Jacob Collier; Gavin Creel in Concert, Ledisi Sings Nina. Television: Cynthia Erivo & Friends: A NYE Celebration, Robert Glasper’s Black Radio, Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, Let My Children Hear Mingus, A Joni Mitchell Songbook (PBS/NEXT at the Kennedy Center), among others.

Nick Hernandez (Sound Designer and Composer) – Folger Theatre: Our Verse in Time to Come; The Kennedy Center: The Day You Begin, Long Way Down; Round House Theatre: Nollywood Dreams; Ford’s Theatre: Fences; Mosaic Theater: Native Son, Les Deux Noirs; Theater Alliance: Word Becomes Flesh (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Production); Imagination Stage: Havana Hop, All the Way Live (with sibling Paige Hernandez), Oyeme, The Beautiful, The Hip-Hop Children’s Trilogy; Adventure Theater: Luchadora;  Glimmerglass Opera: Stomping Grounds. Additional credits include music production for Hot 97 FM; Netflix, Smithsonian Associates, Words Beats & Life, Inc. and at DC Public Libraries.

Faedra Chatard Carpenter (Dramaturg) – Folger Theatre: debut; Dramaturgical work at: Ford’s Theatre; Round House Theatre; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Olney Theatre Company; Everyman Theatre Company; Baltimore Center Stage; The Kennedy Center; Mosaic Theatre Company; Theater J; Dance Place; Crossroads Theatre Company; Arena Stage. Stanford University, Ph.d, Washington University, MA, Spelman College, BA.

Kaja Dunn (Resident Intimacy Director and Cultural Consultant) Folger Theatre: The Reading Room, The Winter’s Tale, Our Verse In Time To Come; Arena Stage: American Prophet; Denver Center for the Arts: Choir Boy, 5th Ave; ACT Theatre: Choir Boy; The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: Private Lives, Confederates; Two River Theatre Company: Wine In The Wilderness; Penumbra Theatre: Sugar In Our Wounds; Broadway: A Strange Loop (Associate Intimacy Director); Television: The Best Man, Final Chapters, Harlem, The Equalizer; Awards: Kennedy Center American Theatre Award, Playwrights Project Excellence in Arts Education; Publications: Arden Contemporary Shakespeare, Intimacy Direction For Theatre, Theatre Symposium, HowlRound, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (UK); Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University.

Production Sponsors:

Folger Theatre’s Metamorphoses is supported by the Share Fund, and made possible in part by the generous support of:

Premier Season Sponsors — Dr. Bill and Evelyn Braithwaite and Andrea “Andi” Kasarsky

Season Sponsors — Helen and David Kenney and Family

Production Sponsors — Nancy and Steve Howard

Contributing Sponsors — Keith and Celia Arnaud, Louis and Bonnie Cohen, Denise Ferguson, Gail Kern Paster, Ian Vance, and Scott & Liz Vance

Associate Sponsors — Timothy J. Carlton, Barbra Eaton and Ed Salners, Rick Kasten, Julianna Mahley, and Peter and Mary Jay Michel

Artist Sponsors – Karl K. and Carrol Benner Kindel

Open-Captioned Performance Sponsors — Vinton and Sigrid Cerf

About Folger Shakespeare Library and Folger Theatre:

The Folger Shakespeare Library makes Shakespeare’s stories and the world in which he lived accessible. Anchored by the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger is a place where curiosity and creativity are embraced, and conversation is always encouraged. Visitors to the Folger can choose how they want to experience the arts and humanities, from interactive exhibitions to captivating performances, and from path-breaking research to transformative educational programming. The Folger welcomes everyone to connect in their own way—from communities throughout Washington, DC, to communities across the globe.

The award-winning Folger Theatre in our nation’s capital bridges the arts and humanities through transformational performances and programming that speak inclusively to the human experience. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels, Folger Theatre continues its legacy through exciting interpretations and adaptations of Shakespeare and expands the classical canon through cultivating today’s artists and commissioning new work that is in dialogue with the concerns and issues of our time. Folger Theatre thrives both on its historical stage and in the community, engaging audiences wherever they happen to be. For more on Folger Theatre, please visit

Following a multiyear building renovation, the Folger’s historic Capitol Hill home will fully reopen to the public on June 21, 2024.

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