This production was staged as part of our 2014/15 Season

The C.A. Lyons Project

The C.A. Lyons Project

February 13 to March 8, 2015 | On the Hertz Stage
World Premiere Kendeda Winner
Part of the Hertz Series

A world premiere and the winner of the 2015 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition

Ages 16+
Contains mature content and sexual themes.

A "deeply moving" play featuring "an ensemble of seriously good actors and dancers" (Wendell Brock for the AJC).

When Lyons can no longer hide his sexuality or illness, his fledgling dance company is threatened, and the women who love him must come together to decide the best way to carry on his legacy. 

The 80’s. Black was in. They invented it. The founder of one of the city’s most important African-American dance companies is dying of AIDS, and the three lead dancers must find the strength and individual creative push to keep the company going without their charismatic leader. These are the Three Graces of the 20th Century: Chaos Unit, a tattooed hip hop phenom; Bethlehem Dunning, a ballerina raised by a deaf mother; and Amandla Sister Afrika, who seems to be in a continuous state of rebellion. A unique theatrical event where dance and theatre mingle throughout by a writer of amazing talent, this is the 11th winner of the Alliance’s prestigious Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwright Competition.

Photos & Video

Cast & Crew


  • Gracious Dunning
    Michelle is very excited to make her Alliance Theatre debut. Theatre credits: Big River (Mark Taper Forum and Ford’s Theatre), Reflections of a Black Deaf Woman (... read more »
  • Rosetta Kent
    Donna is a graduate of Clark College and happy to return to the Alliance Stage. Some of her favorite theatre credits are Right On, A Raisin In The Sun, Gee’s Bend... read more »
  • C.A. Lyons
    James is honored to be making his Alliance Theatre debut! He just finished shooting the short film Love for Passion and was most recently on Peter Pan Live (NBC),... read more »
  • Chaos Unit (née Christine Cross)
    Danielle is thankful to return to the Alliance Theatre in The Temple Bombing. She was last seen at the Alliance as Chaos Unit in the Alliance/Kendeda-winning... read more »
  • Amandla Sister Afrika (née Amy Kent)
    Dance Theater of Harlem, Principal Dancer/Ballet Frankfurt from 1994-1999. Broadway – Fosse, The Producers, The Frogs, and The Color Purple. National Tours: Helen/... read more »
  • Bethlehem "Beth" Dunning
    Tiffany is a former member of Dallas Theater Center’s Brierley Resident Acting Company where her credits include Clybourne Park, A Raisin in the Sun, Stagger Lee,... read more »
  • Clyde "Pretty Boy" Wylie
    Juel is thrilled to return to the Alliance stage. Other credits: I Dream (Assistant Choreographer). Regional: Spunk (True Colors Theatre- Choreographer), Rob Jackson... read more »
  • Richard Kent/Stan Cross
    Alliance: The C.A. Lyons Project, King Hedley II, God of Carnage, The Whipping Man. International: Jitney (National Theatre, London). Broadway: The Piano Lesson; Salome... read more »


  • Costume Design
    Upcoming: Marie Antoinette (Steppenwolfe Theatre). Selected design credits: Stagger Lee (Dallas Theatre Center); Five Guys Named Moe (Arena Stage, Cleveland Playhouse);... read more »
  • Stage Manager
    Although lark has been Stage Managing here at the Alliance Theatre for more than 25 years, she has worked for many regional theatres across the United States (Cleveland... read more »
  • Playwright
    A Northwestern University graduate, she previously studied with Barbara Ann Teer (National Black Theatre in Harlem) and earned the M.F.A.W. at School of the Art... read more »
  • Choreographer
    Dell is adjunct professor in the NYU/Tisch School of the Arts in the Department of Drama’s New Studio on Broadway. He comes to this production of The C.A. Lyons... read more »
  • Lighting Design
    Liz always enjoys her work at the Alliance. Her previous designs include Ethel; The C.A. Lyons Project; Steel Magnolias; In Love & Warcraft; The Whipping... read more »
  • Stage Management Apprentice
  • Set Design
    Recent credits: In the Next Room... (Yale Drama); Assassins (CAP21; Dir: Kent Gash); The DETAILS Collections (NY M-B Fashion Week); The Bump (The Flea, U.S. premiere,... read more »
  • Sound Design
    David is extremely pleased to be working on his first design project with The Alliance Theatre in addition to again working with Kent Gash. David’s sound design... read more »


  • Director
    Kent is founding director of NYU’s New Studio on Broadway, where he has directed The American Clock, The Wild Party, Drood, Nine, Sweeney Todd, The Seven,... read more »


  • Understudy for Clyde "Pretty Boy" Wylie
    Terrence is a young performance artist located here in Atlanta. He is an active member with the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA) where he has studied under Charles... read more »
  • Understudy for Bethlehem "Beth" Dunning
    is a Detroit native and Clark Atlanta University graduate. She is excited to make her debut with the Alliance Theatre as a part of The C.A. Lyons Project company! ... read more »
  • Understudy for C.A. Lyons/Atty. Kent/Stan Cross
    Jelani is a proud graduate of Tri-Cities High School of The Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Program. Other Alliance credits: The Project’s Project, The C.A... read more »
  • Understudy for Amandla Sister Afrika (née Amy Kent)/Chaos Unit (née Christine Cross)
    Danielle is excited to be a part of this production and working with the Alliance for the first time! She is a native of Bronx, New York, and is currently in her last... read more »
  • Understudy for Rosetta Kent/Mrs. Lyons/Gracious Dunning
    Sheryl is delighted to be back in Atlanta and at the Alliance Theatre after 15 years. Her theatre credits include Chicago, Rock Odyssey, Ananse, The African Spiderman (... read more »

Audience Feedback



We've officially hit summer here in Atlanta, and while temperatures are rising outside, we're staging the hottest dance party inside: The Dancing Granny. But with all there is to do this season, why should you grab the kids and come see the show?

A little known fact about the Alliance?
"We are the largest producing theatre in Georgia and if you break out our education department and its shows, that would be the second."

What is your hope for the future?
"For myself, I want to be happy. Motivation to succeed. For humanity, I wish for there to be more understanding, without disregard or hate."



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