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Director’s Note

With the exception of the final scene, the text of this production is taken verbatim from a debate that took place at The Cambridge Union, University of Cambridge, on February 18th, 1965 between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. Text from the final scene is taken from several letters, interviews, and other writings of James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry and compiled by the ensemble.

About the Show

In 1965, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. debated the resolution “The American Dream is at the Expense of The American Negro” in a provocative and profoundly insightful confrontation. Performance ensemble Elevator Repair Service stages the debate verbatim with both 1965 and 2021 in mind, presenting the encounter as real, immediate, and of this moment.

Creative and Production Team

Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge 
Conceived by: Greig Sargeant with Elevator Repair Service
Directed by: John Collins
Featuring: April Matthis*, Gavin Price*, Greig Sargeant*, Christopher-Rashee Stevenson, and Ben Jalosa Williams*
Costume Design: Jessica Jahn
Lighting Design: Alan C. Edwards
Sound Design: Ben Williams
Scenic Consultant: dots
Assistant Costume Designer: Juliann Page
Associate Lighting Designer: Alexander Le Vaillant Freer

Assistant Director and Stage Manager: Maurina Lioce
Production Manager: Aaron Amodt
Producer: Mark Rossier
Associate Producer and Company Manager: Hanna Novak

*The Actor appears through the courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Photo by Maria Baranova

About the Artists

Elevator Repair Service (ERS) is a New York City–based company that creates original works for live theatre with an ongoing ensemble. The company’s sources range from found material (transcripts of trials, old movies, YouTube videos) to literature and conventional plays (both classical and contemporary). Founded in 1991, ERS has authored an extensive body of work that includes 19 original theatrical productions. These have earned the company a loyal following and made it one of New York’s most highly acclaimed experimental theatre companies.Gatz (2006), along with The Sound and the Fury (2008) and The Select (The Sun Also Rises) (2010), form a trilogy of work based on great American novels from the early 20th Century. ERS productions share a commitment to risk-taking and reinvention, blending unusual texts with innovations in theatrical form. The finished works feature the company’s signature dynamic performance style coupled with a rigorous commitment to psychologically complex performances. ERS has received numerous awards and distinctions.

Aaron Amodt (Production Manager)
Aaron Amodt has been involved with a number of ERS productions including tours of Gatz; Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf; The Select (The Sun Also Rises); Fondly, Collette Richland. In New York City he has worked with New York Theatre Workshop on Slave Play; What the Constitution Means to Me; Othello; Hadestown; and Lazarus. He has been involved with tours such as A Billion Nights on Earth (Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental) and Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Outside of theatre Aaron collects personal ephemera and makes ghost photographs which you can find on IG @amodttech.

John Collins (Director)
John Collins founded Elevator Repair Service in 1991. Since then he has directed or co-directed all of the company’s productions while also serving as the company’s Artistic Director. ERS productions directed by John include Cab Legs, Room Tone, Gatz, The Select (The Sun Also Rises), The Sound and the Fury, Arguendo, Measure for Measure, and numerous others. The company’s work, under his direction, has been seen in over a dozen countries as well as in cities across the U.S. John is an experienced sound designer and has worked for The Wooster Group, Richard Foreman, Target Margin Theater, and others. Current projects include Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge, a new adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull, and a new project based on James Joyce’s Ulysses. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a United States Artists Fellowship, and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

dots (Scenic Consultant)
dots is a design collective based in New York City specializing in designing environments for narratives, performances and experiences. Hailing from Colombia, South Africa, and Japan, they are Santiago Orjuela-Laverde, Andrew Moerdyk and Kimie Nishikawa. They offer expertise in multi-disciplinary practices ranging from architecture, theater and performance design, graphic design, and film. They approach every project with diversity of thought and burning curiosity and, above all, believe in the value of the whole being greater than the sum of its individual parts. @designbydots

Alan C. Edwards (Lighting Designer)
Alan C. Edward’s work Off-Broadway includes the world premiere of
Harry Clarke at The Vineyard, for which he received a Lucille Lortel Award, the world premiere of Kill Move Paradise at the National Black Theatre, for which he received a Drama Desk nomination, and Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror at the Signature Theatre, which also received a Lucille Lortel nomination. Regionally, he’s had the pleasure of designing three plays by Dominique Morisseau: Pipeline, Skeleton Crew (Actors Theatre of Louisville), and Detroit ’67 (Chautauqua Theatre Co.); Twisted Melodies, a new musical about Donny Hathaway at Center Stage Baltimore; and the new musical Lights Out: Nat King Cole at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, as well as its world premiere production at People’s Light & Theatre Co. in Malvern, PA in 2017. Additional credits include The Hot Wing King by Katori Hall at Signature Theatre; American Moor (Red Bull); Native Son (The Acting Company); Bluebird Memories featuring rap-artist Common (Audible Theatre); productions of Dutchman, Antigone, and Macbeth for the Classical Theatre of Harlem; and a special collaboration between CTH and The Apollo Theatre in New York, the new musical The First Noel by Lelund Durond Thompson and Jason Michael Webb. On Broadway he was the associate to Jennifer Tipton on The Testament of Mary. He is a graduate of Yale School of Drama, where he is also an assistant professor of lighting. For more information visit

Alexander Le Vaillant Freer (Associate Lighting Designer)
Alexander’s work has been seen across the United States as well as internationally. He holds an MFA in Lighting Design from California Institute of the Arts and a BFA from Stephens College. Previous design credits: #Unwanted (The Shed, NYC), Not Even The Good Things (Theatre Row, NYC), Miracle on 34th Street (Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena CA), Fruition (Theatre of Note, Los Angeles CA), Cirque Swan Lake (Mesa PAC, Mesa AZ), Fantômas-Revenge of the Image (Whuzen, China), Francesca Francesca (Edinburgh, Scotland), Ocean of Milk (Prague, CR), of Light (Reykjavik, Iceland), Titanic-A Devised Piece (Moscow, Russia). Previous Associate Credits: Detroit Red (Paramount Theatre, Boston MA), HAM: A Musical Memoir (Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena CA). Previous Assistant Credits: Hot Wing King (Signature Theatre, NYC), Fires in the Mirror (Signature Theatre, NYC), Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles CA), Lights Out: Nat King Cole (The Geffen, Los Angeles CA).

Jessica Jahn (Costume Designer)
New York: Coal Country (The Public Theatre); Gloria: A Life (Daryl Roth Theatre); The Confession of Lily Dare (Primary Stages, winner of the Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Award); Love, Loss and What I Wore (Westside Theatre); Once On This Island (Papermill Playhouse); One Night… (World Premiere, The Cherry Lane Theatre); Die Mommie Die! (New World Stages, winner of the Lucille Lortel Award); Monodramas and Mose in Egitto (New York City Opera). Regional: Rigoletto (Houston Grand Opera); Blue (Glimmerglass Festival); Dead Man Walking (Washington National Opera), Norma (Canadian Opera Company and Lyric Opera of Chicago, winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards), Life Is A Dream (World Premiere, Santa Fe Opera); The Crucible (Glimmerglass Festival); Anna Bolena (Lyric Opera of Chicago); The Manchurian Candidate (World Premiere); Maria Stuarda (Seattle Opera); Moby Dick (Utah Opera); West Side Story (Houston Grand Opera); Siege of Calais (Glimmerglass Festival); Barber of Seville (San Francisco Opera); The Road We Came (On Site Opera). International: Norma (The Gran Teatre de Liceu); Don Bucefalo (Wexford Opera Festival). Upcoming: Snowy Day (Houston Grand Opera); Fidelio (San Francisco Opera). Ms. Jahn is an Adjunct Costume Design Professor with Brandeis University’s Theatre Arts Department.

Maurina Lioce (Assistant Director and Stage Manager)
Maurina has worked with ERS on
The Sound and the Fury; Arguendo; The Select (The Sun Also Rises) (tours); Gatz (tours); Fondly, Collette Richland; Measure for Measure, and Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf.  Other New York City Stage Management credits include Half Straddle, Adrienne Truscott, Jim Findlay, David Byrne, Sibyl Kempson’s 7 Daughters of Eve Theater & Performance Co., Andrew Ondrejcak, Mike Iveson, Erin Markey, Suzanne Bocanegra, and Young Jean Lee. She has been a member of Elevator Repair Service since 2014.

April Matthis (Lorraine Hansberry)
With ERS: The Sound & the Fury; Fondly, Collette Richland (NYTW); Measure for Measure (The Public); Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf (Abrons Art Center); Gatz (Perth Festival). Off-Broadway: Toni Stone (Roundabout/OBIE Award for Performance); Fairview, LEAR (Soho Rep); Signature Plays—Funnyhouse of a Negro (Signature Theatre); IOWA, Antlia Pneumatica (Playwrights Horizons); On the Levee (LCT3). Regional: Little Bunny Foo Foo (Actors Theater of Louisville), A Streetcar Named Desire (Yale Rep). TV: “The Good Fight”; “Evil” (Paramount +), “New Amsterdam” (NBC). Film: Black Card (HBO, Showtime), Fugitive Dreams (FantasiaFest, Austin Film Festival). OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.

Hanna Novak (Associate Producer)
With ERS: Fondly, Colette Richland; Gatz (tours). In addition to her work with ERS, Hanna is a playwright and director. Her work has been performed at the New Ohio and the Performing Garage in New York and at the Elevation: 1049 festival in Gstaad, Switzerland. MFA: Hunter College, Playwriting. BFA: NYU Tisch. She has been a member of Elevator Repair Service since 2016.

Juliann Page (Assistant Costume Designer)
Juliann Page is a costume designer, assistant, seamstress, and wardrobe supervisor. Along with her work on Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge, she is also currently designing a production of As You Like It. Juliann’s other credits include Titanic the Musical and a new work entitled Daughters of the Rebellion for which she received the Second Place National Award for Costume Design from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Gavin Price (Mr. Heycock)
Gavin has performed with ERS in Gatz; Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf; Measure for Measure; The Select (the Sun Also Rises); The Sound and the Fury; Arguendo; Fondly, Collette Richland; A Sort of Joy (MoMA). His other projects include the award-winning short film Boccamazzo Construction; The Return of Adam (Metropolitan Museum of Art); XX-ID (New Museum); Merce Cunningham Retrospective (MCA); Saint Fortune, The Basics, co-founder. He has also performed and designed with CabinFever, Face the Music, Sibyl Kempson, Moises Kaufman, Mabou Mines, Pandora Boxx & Mrs. Kasha Davis, and Theater in Quarantine. Listen to his bands on Spotify & iTunes: The Witch Ones, The Tender Band, Cabin Fever.

Mark Rossier (Producer)
Mark Rossier joined ERS as Managing Director and Producer in April 2020 after being a fan of the company for 25 years. He came to ERS from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) where he held a variety of positions including, most recently, Director of NYFA Grants. He was also the Director of Development and Marketing at the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York and Marketing Director at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Capital Rep. He has served three terms on the Nominating Committee for the Lucille Lortel Awards and been on grant panels for the New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and ArtsWestchester, among many others.

Greig Sargeant (James Baldwin)
New York Theater Workshop: Bonnie’s Last Flight; Fondly, Collette Richland; The Little Foxes dir. Ivo van Hove ; The Sound and the Fury. The Public Theater: Measure for Measure; The Sound and the Fury. The Vineyard Theater: Strictly Dishonorable. BAM/Next Wave Festival: The Parable Conference. Baryshnikov Arts Center: Go Forth/Please Bury Me. ERS: Gatz. Target Margin: Uncle Vanya. Regional: The Walker Arts Center, RedCat, Axial Theater, Johnny Carson Theater, Montclair State Theater, The Spoleto Festival. International: Culturegest – Lisbon, Vienna Festival, Holland Festival, Adelaide Festival. Film: Help Me Mary dir. by Annie Tippe, The Bad Infinity dir. by Graham Sack. Company Member: Target Margin Theater, Elevator Repair Service. Training: West Virginia University (MFA), William Esper.

Christopher-Rashee Stevenson (Mr. Buford)
Christopher-Rashee Stevenson is a theater artist from Baltimore, Maryland. A current SUITE/SPACE (’20-’21) artist at Mabou Mines and an alum of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab ‘18. His work as director and performer has been featured at The Performing Garage, The Tank, JACK, HERE Arts Center, The Actor’s Studio, American Repertory Theater, Millennium Film Workshop, Lincoln Center Education, LaMaMa, and the Eubie Blake Jazz Institute. He is currently working on a post-Covid chamber version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing as well as an Afro-futurist mash-up on the vampire genre using everything from Stoker’s Dracula and Bill Gunn’s Ganja & Hess to Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgling, a piece on blood & survival.

Ben Jalosa Williams (William F. Buckley, Jr. and Sound Designer)
Ben Williams is an actor and sound designer. He produces and curates category : other (, an award-winning platform for experimental audio. Collaborators include: ERS, Minor Theater w/ Julia Jarcho, Lily Whitsitt, Christina Masciotti, Suzanne Bocanegra, Kate Benson, Geoff Sobelle, Julie Atlas Muz, and many others. Awards for sound design: OBIE, Lortel, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and Third Coast International Audio Festival’s inaugural Audio Unbound Award (for Songs of Speculation, co-produced with Jillian Walker).


Actors’ Equity Association (“Equity”), founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional Actors and Stage Managers. Equity fosters the art of live theatre as an essential component of society and advances the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. Actors’ Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.


This performance is made possible, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Elevator Repair Service is also supported with funds from The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, Edward T. Cone Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jockey Hollow Foundation, Lucille Lortel Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The O’Grady Foundation, Scherman Foundation, Select Equity Group Foundation, and Shubert Foundation.

Elevator Repair Service is a member of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York.

Festival Executive Producer: Carol Beam
Festival Producers: Larry & Ann Rosen Spector
Festival Co-Producers: Jennifer Bohnenberger; Shelley Green; Libby S. Harwitz & Burton Blender; Jane Pepper

Special Thanks

Greig Sargeant wishes to thank the following individuals whose inspiration and encouragement brought this project from an idea to a realization.

Emily Davis
In memorial: Tom Dougherty
Kim Kerfoot
Chris Megale
Ryder Smith
Quincy Troupe

Additional thanks to Aaron Landsman

Photo by Maria Baranova

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