Bars and Measures

August 26 – October 9

by Idris Goodwin
directed by Marion McClinton
featuring Ansa Akyea, Darius Dotch,
Maxwell Collyard, and Taous Claire Khazem

Tuesday – Thursday 7:30pm
Friday – Saturday 8:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm & 7:30pm

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Preview performances - General Admission, $15
Wednesday, August 24, at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 25, at 7:30 p.m.

Buy preview tickets

Bars and Measures runs approximately
80 minutes, with no intermission.

A beautiful journey through faith, family, melody and time Based on a true story, this National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere is the fascinating tale of two brothers. One a classical pianist, the other a jazz bass player. One a Christian, the other a Muslim. One living in freedom, the other in jail. Separated by bars, the brothers try to reconcile their differences through the language they know best: music.

  a jump-up-and-shout salute.



  much more than just a play about music, but a play that embodies
family, race, religion, politics and justice

—Bev Sykes, The Davis Enterprise

Photos by Dan Norman, 2016 |


Visit our #JUNGLEREADS page to see the curated book list for Bars and Measures!

As a special treat, composer Justin Ellington passed along some of his favorite musical inspirations - see the list here and take a listen!


Marion McClinton (Director)

Marion McClinton has directed several critically acclaimed productions for Pillsbury House Theatre including Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet; Buzzer; The Brothers Size; The Gospel of LovingKindness; In the Red and Brown Water (at the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio); the road weeps, the well runs dry; Pa’s Hat: Liberian Legacy; Bulrusher; and Home. He has also directed on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre in London and in numerous regional theatres including the Goodman, Guthrie, Arena Stage, Mark Taper Forum, Kennedy Center, Seattle Rep., CenterStage, Pittsburgh Public and Huntington Theatre among others. He has directed in NYC at the Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, the Foundry and Juilliard. He has won numerous awards including the Obie Award for directing, two AUDELCO’s, two Beverly Hills/NAACP Image Awards, among others, and his nominations include a Tony nod and Drama Desk Award. He is a Core Member for Life of The Playwrights’ Center, an alumni of New Dramatists, a longstanding member of Penumbra and an Artistic Associate of Pillsbury House Theatre. He concluded his life-changing collaboration with the great August Wilson by giving the eulogy at his funeral. In 2014, Marion received an honorary doctorate of letters from Concordia University. He is the father of Jesse Mandell-McClinton.

Idris Goodwin (Playwright)

Idris Goodwin is a playwright, rapper and essayist. His widely produced plays How We Got On (Actors Theater of Louisville/ Humana Festival) and Blackademics (MPAACT, Crowded Fire) were both nominated for Steinberg Awards. Other plays include And In This Corner: Cassius Clay (StageOne Family Theater), This Is Modern Art (Steppenwolf), Bars and Measures (B Street Theatre, NNPN RWP), The Raid (Jackalope Theatre) and The Realness: a break beat play (Merrimack Repertory). Goodwin is one of the seven playwrights featured in Hands Up, an anthology commissioned by The New Black Fest, that’s been presented across the country and adapted for BBC Radio. His one act Black Flag will be produced in New York’s Summer Shorts Festival at 59E59 Theatre. Goodwin was a finalist for the Dramatist Guild’s 2016 Lanford Wilson Award, the recipient of Oregon Shakespeare’s American History Cycle Commission and InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Award. Goodwin is developing new plays for the Kennedy Center, The University of California Santa Barbara’s LaunchPad New Play Program and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Dept. He has been writer in residence at The Eugene O’Neil Playwrights Center, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor Program, The Lark Playwriting Center and New Harmony Project. An accomplished Hip Hop poet, his albums include Break Beat Poems and Rhyming While Black. He is the author of the pushcart nominated essay collection These Are The Breaks (Write Bloody, 2011). Goodwin was featured on HBO, Sesame Street and Discovery Channel and performed in venues across the country. Idris teaches performance writing and Hip Hop aesthetics at Colorado College.

E. G. Bailey (Associate Director)

E.G. Bailey is an Ivey award-winning spoken word artist, thespian, filmmaker, and producer. He is the recipient of a regional Emmy, LIN travel grant, and the Hughes, Diop, Knight Poetry Award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Conference. His work is featured in the Target Art Connects commercial, now archived at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC). He was an editor for the film Petting Zoo, which debuted at the 65th International Berlin Film Festival. Bailey has directed plays for well-known production houses, such as: The Guthrie, Pillsbury House, and Children’s Theatre. Titles include: Othello, Amiri Baraka’s Wise Why’s, Juno and the Paycock, The Brother Size, and Sha Cage’s N-Word and U/G/L/Y. He is the co-founder of Tru Ruts Endeavors and the MN Spoken Word Association. Bailey’s written works have been published in Solid Ground, the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue, Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center, and Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota, an anthology. Bailey’s latest work includes the co-curation of America Now!, a special film project taking place during the 2016 Tampere Short Film Festival in Finland, Sweden and Latvia, and directing his new film, New Neighbors.

Justin Ellington (Composer/Sound Designer)

Justin Ellington is honored to make his Jungle Theater debut. Recent credits include: People’s Light: The Harassment of Iris Malloy, All My Sons; Guthrie Theater: Trouble In Mind; Center Stage: Detroit 67; Dallas Theater Center: Romeo and Juliet, Stagger Lee; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: The Comedy of Errors; New York Theater Workshop: Fetch Clay Make Man, The Seven; MCC Theater: The Pride, The Break of Noon; McCarter Theater: Fetch Clay Make Man, Are You There Mcfee; Broadway/Lincoln Center: Other Desert Cities; Alliance Theater: Shakespeare’s R&J, King Hedly, TopDog/UnderDog; Stratford Shakespeare Festival: As You Like It; Children’s Theater Company: Five Fingers of Funk. Justin has been awarded by: The American Society of Composers and Publishers(ASCAP), National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and The Industry Film Producers Association.

Andrea Heilman (Scenic Designer)

Andrea Heilman is pleased to be making her Jungle Stage debut. Some of her favorite local designs include Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet and The Brothers Size with Pillsbury House at the Guthrie Theatre; The New Electric Ballroom, Vinegar Tom with Frank Theatre; The Beauty Queen of Leenane with Theater pro rata; A Cool Drink A Water, Somebody/Nobody, Agnes Under the Big Top, and Red Ink with Mixed Blood Theatre. Andrea has just returned from three years teaching and designing at the American University in Cairo where The Arsonists and Tartuffe were her favorite productions. She has been teaching in higher education for the past 6 years and loves it.

Trevor Bowen (Costume Designer)

This is Trevor’s first production at The Jungle. Past projects include: Scapegoat at Pillsbury House Theatre; Lullaby and All is Calm: The Tour at Theater Latte Da; DJ Latinidad’s Latino Dance Party and Charm at Mixed Blood Theatre; Nina Simone: Four Women at Park Square Theatre; and Henry IV, Part 1 at Ten Thousand Things Theater. Regional productions include Choir Boy at Guthrie Theater, and pen man ship at the Contemporary American Theater Festival.

Michael Wangen (Lighting Designer)

Michael has been an active lighting designer for over thirty years, having designed for nearly every theater in the Minneapolis area in that time. He served as resident designer for Penumbra Theatre from 1987-2000 and is currently the resident designer with both Pillsbury House Theatre and Illusion Theater. Recent designs include Ballad of the Pale Fisherman and Emile/Euridyce for Transatlantic Love Affair; The Arsonists, Frank Theater; A Night at Olympus, Illusion Theater; Conference of the Birds, Pangea; The Gospel of Lovingkindness and Scapegoat, Pillsbury House Theatre; and Gem of the Ocean at Marin Theatre Co. in California. Regionally, his work has been seen at Trinity Rep, CenterStage of Baltimore, The Guthrie, and The Children’s Theater Company. He is a recipient of a 2012-2013 Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship. This is his first Jungle Theater show and he is very excited to be onvolved in this project.

John Novak (Stage Manager/Properties)

John has worked at the Jungle since 1997. He enjoys the roles of Season Stage Manager, Prop Manager, and Sound and Lighting Operator for four shows every season. Prior to working at the Jungle, he was a stage manager and assistant director for regional opera companies in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Dallas, Boston, Tulsa, and Pittsburgh. He has also worked as a technician at many Twin Cities venues.

Heidi Batz Rogers (Fight Choreographer)

Heidi Batz Rogers received her MFA training from the National Theatre Conservatory and extensive movement training from the Saratoga International Theatre Institute. She has worked in the theatre communities of New York, Los Angeles and Denver and is pleased to have made Minneapolis her artistic home. Locally, Heidi has provided fight direction and choreography for plays produced by the Guthrie, Gremlin, History Theatre, Mixed Blood, Mu Performing Arts, Park Square, Pillsbury House Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, and Workhaus Collective. Her passion is movement based ensemble theatre that challenges mindsets and inspires change.

"Like a good jazz solo, Bars and Measures combines force and restraint, logic and emotion. It’s likely to get stuck in your head for a long while.” — Jay Gabler, City Pages

“[Playwright Idris] Goodwin's facility with the tools of writing could well make him important by the time he's finished." — Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

“You will have a lot of questions, there will be things you may or may not like, but you WILL have a conversation, I promise you that." — Jearlyn Steele, Steele Talkin', WCCO Radio

“It's a sharp, intense, lyrical, topical play ... I cannot imagine a better production of it than the Jungle's with this incredible cast, director, and technical team." — Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon

“The acting is exactly as one would expect from the Jungle Theater - awesome." — Aly Hutcherson, No Filter Reviews

“With two outstanding lead performances and a sterling production, Jungle [Theater] gives us a work that engages in the theater and lingers long afterward in the heart and mind." — Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

“Ansa Akyea and Darius Dotch do a beautiful job of playing Bilal and Eric….The pair has a wonderful chemistry, playing well off each other’s energy." — Katie Fraser, MNfusion

“... [D]irector Marion McClinton’s two lead actors make Bars and Measures an illuminating experience." — John Townsend, Lavender

“Bars and Measures is a fascinating play that introduces us to complex, layered characters navigating a complicated relationship." — Julie Jackson, MN Theater Love

“The writing here is wonderful and profound..." — Becki Iverson, Compendium

“In this time of change for the Jungle Theater, and the attempts at altering the theater scene as a whole, Bars and Measures was another homerun." — Anni Caylor, Mpls/St.Paul

"...a thought-provoking show about the power of music to connect, and the discord of the world.” — Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page

YOUR NAME HERE: Tell us what you think of the show! Email us at, comment on our Facebook, Tweet us @JungleTheater, and follow us on Instagram @jungle_theater.

Carol: Outstanding performances. Wonderful play. Scott: Everyone at the Jungle - Bars and Measures was outstanding! I continue to be impressed with the production quality which seems to be getting better and better. You are on a real roll! I made the comment on the way out that I thought Ansa and Darius' performances were of Broadway quality!.






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Ansa Akyea (Bilal)

Ansa Akyea was last seen in The Guthrie’s Production of Harvey. Ansa is the 2011 recipient of The Playwright Center’s McKnight Fellowship, as well as PWC Many Voices Fellow, and City Pages “Best Actor” in 2007. He has appeared at The Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things, Children’s Theater Company, Mixed Blood Theatre, History Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Frank Theatre, and many others around the country. He can be seen and heard in film, television and radio spots for the Minnesota Twins, Gillette Hospital, Goodwill Industries, Great Clips, Buffalo Wild Wings and on the big screen in movies such as Memorial Day and the upcoming Kid West, and The House of Tomorrow. Ansa is a proud graduate of the University of Iowa’s Acting Masters of Fine Arts program (2000).

Darius Dotch (Eric)

Ivey Award winner Darius Dotch is thrilled to be making his debut at The Jungle Theater! His most recent engagement was with The Children’s Theatre Company in Akeelah and the Bee by Cheryl West. He also starred in the role of Lank in Detroit 67 by Lydia Diamond at Penumbra Theatre. Other notable performances include the role of Harpo in Park Square Theatre’s production of The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Mixed Blood Theatre’s Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker, and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet by Tarell Alvin McCraney for Pillsbury House Theatre (Ivey Award for “Best Ensemble”). He also performed in A Civil War Christmas by Paula Vogel and The Lombardi by Eric Simonson, both at History Theatre. Other performances include The Road Weeps the Well Runs Dry by Marcus Gardley and Broke-ology by Nathan Louis Jackson, both produced by Pillsbury House Theatre. In his debut at Big Top Chautauqua, Darius performed the role of Satchel Paige in Warren Nelson’s Play Ball.

Taous Claire Khazem (Sylvia)

Taous Claire Khazem has worked as a theatre artist in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, France and Cameroon in addition to her work in the Twin Cities (Minnesota). She stars in the hit Algerian sitcom Sultan Achour 10. Closer to home she has performed with Theatre Unbound, Pangea World Theater, Frank Theatre, Savage Umbrella, Workhaus Collective, Interact Center and Off Leash Area and has appeared in numerous local television commercials and print ads. She teaches theatre to youth with Children’s Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre and is on the COMPAS artist roster. She toured her first one-woman show Tizi Ouzou nationally and internationally. She was awarded an Artist Initiative Grant in 2015 to create her second solo show In Algeria They Know My Name. Taous trained at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris, France and holds a B.A. in theatre and French from Macalester College.

Maxwell Collyard (Wes)

Maxwell is an actor, director, and playwright based in the Twin Cities and is ecstatic to make his debut with the Jungle Theater in Bars and Measures. Recently he performed in Sons of the Prophet (Park Square Theater) and originated the role of David in Lemonade for the Lawnboy (Arts Center on 7). Favorite assistant directing credits include Midwinter Night’s Revel (Walking Shadow), Great Expectations (Park Square Theater), and C. (Latté Da). Maxwell created/performed You Don’t Have To Leave But You Can’t Stay Here (Bedlam Theatre & Bryant-Lake Bowl) with Francisco Benavides, and his play Ferguson, USA premiered in the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival. Maxwell also composes and performs music as a vocalist/pianist around Minneapolis. He holds a B.A. in Theatre and Physics from St. Olaf College.

The Jungle thanks Jazz88, KBEM 88.5, for their sponsorship of Bars and Measures!

The National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters dedicated to the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has supported more than 200 productions nationwide through its innovative National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere program, which provides playwright and production support for new works. Additional programs have helped cement the Network’s position as a vital force in the regional theater landscape. For more information, visit