'True Blood' star to direct show in Chicago

Arts and CultureNelsan EllisDoltonChicago Loop

Nelsan Ellis, best known for playing Lafayette on HBO's "True Blood," is to direct an off-Loop show in Chicago.

Ellis, who was born in Chicago but raised in Alabama, will helm Katori Hall's "HooDoo Love" at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., beginning Sept. 22. Hall was represented on Broadway last season by "The Mountaintop."

This Chicago premiere of "HooDoo Love" is the first endeavor of a new  theater company called The Collective Theatre, made up of six African-American friends who attended high school together in Dolton, Ill., in the 1990s. Along with Ellis, the other founders of The Collective are Francois Battiste, Veronda Carey, Le’Mil Eiland, Metra Gilliard and Jasond Jones.

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