Chicago – Writer / director Arnetta Randall has the uncanny ability to recreate characters and scenarios that really touch the heart. As the creative force behind Randall Productions, the young writer may be a newbie on the scene, but she is setting her stage for real success. Her first foray into theater, “If You Are Invited to the Cookout,” starring Taneshia “Just Nesh” Rice from “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level,” and extreme funny man Brian “Da Wildcat” Smith (Fox TV’s “REL”), is slated to embark on a two-city midwestern tour. “If You Are Invited to the Cookout” will premiere March 15 in Chicago at the Harold Washington Cultural Center and continue on to Milwaukee at the MATC Cooley on March 29.
“If You’re Invited to the Cookout” follows Ally Smith, a young African American Yale graduate upon her return home to the southside of Chicago for a family cookout. She has plans to introduce her family to her fiancé, Ethan Wells, a white college graduate from a well to do family with an upbringing that is the complete opposite of Ally’s. Ally’s family is filled with colorful characters including a cousin who doesn’t approve of interracial dating; a stern disapproving father who doesn’t think anyone is good enough for his daughter; and a loud, outspoken grandmother who constantly bickers with the next-door neighbors. Ally is embarrassed by her family’s humble beginnings and rambunctious nature. Will their love be enough to survive the comedic shenanigans that ensue?
Randall is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in creative writing. The 32-year old talented writer has had her work featured in the Black Youth Project, XO Necole, and Nia Magazine. She’s written, directed and produced two short films, “Kismet” and “Illusion.” “Kismet,” her first film, is a romantic comedy that got accepted into multiple film festivals and garnered wide media acclaim. “Illusion” is a 6-minute dramatic short that was inspired by the murder of Karen Elaine Smith, a teacher murdered by her husband in San Bernardino, and explores domestic violence.
She is also the writer and director of “Hook Ups,” an episodic web-series for Open TV currently airing on YouTube. “Hook Ups” is a show that explores modern dating practices in a culture obsessed with online dating, swiping left, ‘Netflix and chill’ and casual hook-ups. “Hook Ups” showcases people from all backgrounds, gender expressions and sexual orientation, with the first season exploring straight, lesbian and gay couples.
“If You’re Invited to the Cookout” is based off a central character from another web series Randall has in development. The series, “Freaky Phyllis,” follows the carryons of a bad grandma after the death of her husband. “Freaky Phyllis” will be released in April after the last scheduled stage production.
“As a creative writer, I believe it is important to present my work across a diversity of platforms. With so much access now afforded us, I feel the world warrants the broad explorations of different mediums. I’m extremely excited to not only take an actual production on the road, but I’m encouraged by the depth of talents I get to work with. Kevin Hart saw in Just Nesh what the everyone else is finding out – and that is – she is a phenomenal comedic talent. I’ve followed Brian “Da Wildcat” Smith’s work for years, and he cracks me up every time I see him. I can hardly believe he is now performing in one of my productions. My entire cast and crew have been beyond supportive in making ‘If You’re Invited to the Cook Out’ happen and we can’t wait for the audience to taste what we been cookin’!”
Make sure you are invited to the cookout. For ticket information go to http://www.invitedtocookout.com .