La Bakair 1

“La Bakair”

by Elizabeth Brown-Guillory
September 20 & 20, 2014

Mamie Bush struggles amid the excitement of the opening of her New Orleans cabaret to win back her husband and child; to reconcile with her mother-in­-law and her best friend; and to succeed with the support of her white, surrogate, Jewish mother in her one-woman show dedicated to the extraordinary, iconic Josephine Baker.

Filled with the passion and turmoil of the “Big Easy,” “La Bakair” inspires and entertains while voicing the tenacity of the female heroes.

“La Bakair” by Elizabeth Brown-Guillory
Directed by Dr. Aileen Hendricks
Assistant Director: Niesha Bentley
Scenic Designer: De’Anna Ernst-Principal Ernst Design LLC

Act I

Scene I: Late afternoon at Chez Josephine, a New Orleans cabaret Scene 2: Early evening, same day

Act II

Scene l: The next morning

Scene 2: Moments later



Scene 1: Early evening, same day

Scene 2: The next morning

Scene 3: That evening


Mamie Bush  – Nancy Lynch Lewis
Bernice Klinger – Aileen Hendricks
Peter Bush – Wendell Lewis
Mildred Bush – Patricia A. Thomas
Kendra Gonzalez – Neisha Bentley

Production Crew

Director – Aileen A. Hendricks
Assistant Director – Niesha Bentley
Scenic Designer – DéAnna Ernst
Executive Producer – Sylvia LaBlanc Martinez
Manship Theatre


Stage Manager – Niesha Bentley
Set Construction – DéAnna Ernst
Music – Don Couvillion
Technical Director/Lights/Sound Operator – Michael Pinter
Properties – Melissa White
Publicity – Valeria Jackson-Jones
Costumes – Susan Fogelman
Graphic Program Design – Don Couvillion

Special Thanks

Thank you Manship theatre, staff and management, Michael Pinter, Rene’ Chatelain, and Melanie Couvillon, American Association of University Women and Karen Groves of Ameriprise.

Special Thanks

DeAnna Ernst for the design and construction of the set
Phone: (225) 926-7389

Special Thanks

Highland One LLC, HV AC & Electrical Contractor, for their generous donation to help produce this show.
Marsha Fowler
Phone: (225) 439-9520

Special Thanks 

Kristina Web Shapiro, Attorney, LA VOW Legal Agent. She is a partner in the firm Shapiro & Shapiro, LLC. On the web at

About LA VOW

LA VOW is a theatre company dedicated to nurturing female artists and to the encouragement, support, and production of innovative works that explore the unique female experience while cultivating and enhancing women’s artistic, social and personal well-being. LA VOW shall provide educational, cultural and economic benefits for Louisiana.Web

Cast Bios

NieshaBentleyNiesha D. Bentley, (Kendra Gonalez) lives for her art! She received a B.A. degree in Theatre Arts from Southern University-Baton Rouge. She is an experienced Theatre and Film Acting Instructor and Private Acting Coach for Bentley’s House of Fame. She has worked on numerous stage productions and several film sets. She has written three screenplays, one of which placed in the top 10% of both the Academy Nicholls Fellowship and the Austin Film Festival in 2013. Not a day goes by that she does not find a way to engulf herself in performance and/or writing. She currently works as a Theatre Teaching Artist for ACGBR. Niesha is delighted to have worked on LaVOWs, “La Bakair”.

NancyLynch-LewisNancy Lynch-Lewis (Mamie Bush) – Lewis serves as the Theatre and Dance teacher at Scotlandville Magnet High School. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre at Southern University, then soon after received her Master’s in Theatre History/ Dramatic Criticism with a cognate in Directing at Texas State University. She has starred in plays such as REASONS TO BE PREID, for which she was nominated for the IRENE RYAN AWARD; Fool for Love, KCACTF Region 6 Award Winning 10 Minute Play: A Long Whistle in the Distance, The School for Scandal, One Night Only, Dearly Departed, In the Blood, Florence, and Neil Simon’s Rumors. She has served as the production Theatre historian/ Dramaturg for: The Color Purple, New Venture Theatre Basilica, New Play Dramaturgy; The Yag in the Hat, James Hindman, Jack and Coconuts, New Play Dramaturgy, The Storyteller, New Play Dramaturgy, Slavemaker, Preproduction Dramaturgy, Wild Party, Team Dramaturgy. Nancy Lynch-Lewis was accepted to attend the Kennedy Center’s New Play Dramaturgy Intensive.

WendellLewisWendell Lewis (Peter Bush) aka “Trent Lou” has acted in  several plays including “Bury the Dead”, “The Original Gangsta”, and “Oh Lord why did You Make Me Black”. He aspires to act in television sitcoms, movies, and television commercials. He was a “Trainer” on the show “Shape up with Sheila” in New Orleans. He has studied acting at the Texas Acting Studio in Dallas and John Roberts Powers Acting School in New Orleans.


PatriciaThomasPatricia A. Thomas (Mildred Bush) Patricia last appeared on stage in Theatre Baton Rouge’s 2014 production of The Women (Ensemble). In 2011 she appeared in Southern University’s theatre Production of The Wedding Band (Lula Green). She has been performing on stage since 2006. She is an aspiring film actor, Voice-over Actor and Commercial and Print Ad Artist. She is excited to be part of this wonderful cast in “LAVOW’s” inaugural production. Thanks’ Dr. Hendricks.

ElizabethBrownGuillryElizabeth Brown-Guillory is a playwright, author of this play, a performing artist and a former professor of English at the University of Houston. She is presently a Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Associate Provost, Associate Vice President for the Academic Affairs and Interim Chair of the Honors College at Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas. She has had twelve plays produced in Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, New Orleans, Houston, Cleveland, and Chicago .. Her plays include Bayou Relics’, Snapshots of Broken Dolls, Mam Phyllis, La Bakair, When the Ancestors Call, and The Break of Day. Her book, Their Place on the Stage has been described as “a reference work important to anyone studying black women playwrights or black drama”.

AileenHendricks_Page_21Dr. Aileen A. Hendricks, (Berenice Klinger) is the Founding Artistic Director of LA VOW Theatre Company. Incorporated August 30, 2013 as a non-profit 501c3. She has more than 50 years experience in amateur, professional, community and educational theatre. She recently retired (December 14, 2014) from Southern University as a full professor of Speech and Theatre after 23 years of service. She has written plays; published scholarly articles; and won awards from community, professional, educational and artistic organizations. One of the first women to graduate from Texas A&M University in 1971 (1974 Masters), she earned her doctorate in theatre from LSU in 1988. She is married to Donald Luke Couvillion and the proud mother of August W. Wenck, Robert W. Wenck Jr. and Yolanda Prevost-Robinson, Aileen dedicates LA VOW and this production to her Mother Mary Frances, “Mollie,” Taaffe Hendricks who speaks through her.