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21ST CENTURY PLAYS AND MUSICALS BY BLACK WRITERS
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GenrePlay TitlePlaywrightBackgroundSummaryCasting YearContent Key WordsGet the Script
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DramaIs God IsAleshea HarrisAmericanA classic revenge tale about two sisters that blends tragedy, typography, the Spaghetti Western, hip-hop and Afropunk. In this necessary new play, emotions are laid bare through gaps in language and characters are a window into the canon as well as our own broken times.4m, 4f 2017Religion, Contemporary, Multi-media, Absurdism, Afro-Punk
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/64018/is-god-is
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DramaWhat To Send Up When It Goes DownAleshea HarrisAmericanAs lines between characters and actors – as well as observers and observed – blur, a dizzying series of vignettes builds to a climactic moment in which performance and reality collide, highlighting the absurdity of anti-Blackness in our society. Through facilitation and dialogue we must decide how to cope, resist, and move forward.4m, 4f2019Current Events Politics
https://americanrepertorytheater.org/shows-events/what-to-send-up-when-it-goes-down/?gclid=CjwKCAjw5vz2BRAtEiwAbcVIL8cQnauHYV4BsfEf-pCCo5PzE1i8OSUybekZv5L69cmfK7zSF4YnhhoCq2oQAvD_BwE https://publictheater.org/productions/season/1920/utr/what-to-send-up-when-it-goes-down/ https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/65513/what-to-send-up-when-it-goes-down
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Drama, 1-ActHe Brought Her Heart Back in a Box
Adrienne Kennedy
AmericanSet in Georgia and New York City in 1941 this heartbreaking memory tale of segregation and doomed love braids together Jim Crow, sexual hypocrisy, and the lingering shadow of a terrible crime. 1m, 1f2020One Act, Love Story, Memory Play
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/he-brought-her-heart-back-in-a-box-and-other-plays-adrienne-kennedy/1136738230?ean=9781559369657
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Musical ShortA Letter to Autie RosaAngelica ChériAmericanA Letter to Auntie Rosa is a short children's theatre piece, written from the perspective of young Sheila McCauley Keys, Rosa Parks' niece. It highlights the moment when young Sheila discovers the true meaning of her aunt's legacy, and the impact she's had on American History.1f, 3 ensemble2016Children's Theater
http://www.angelicacheri.com/plays#/letter-to-auntie-rosa
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Children's PlayLearn to Speak DollAngelica ChériAmericanSet in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, young Cadence moves from her home on the East Side to a fabulous new house on the West Side after her mother lands a high-paying new job. All seems like a wonderful upgrade until Cadence is accosted with vicious cyber-bullying on the first day at her new school. Thankfully, her mythical, poetry-quoting Godmother and talking doll come to the rescue.1f, 4 ensemble2018Children's Theater
http://www.angelicacheri.com/plays#/learn-to-speak-doll
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PlayBerta, BertaAngelica ChériAmericanAfter committing an unforgivable crime, Leroy is granted one final wish: a chance to make amends with his long-lost lover Berta. Their reunion swells from a quarrelsome conjuring of the past to an impassioned plot to escape their impending fate.1m, 1f2018Historical fiction
http://www.angelicacheri.com/plays#/berta-berta
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MusicalGun & PowderAngelica ChériAmericanGun & Powder is inspired by the true story of Mary and Martha Clarke, Angelica's great-great aunts, African American twin sisters who passed for White and were notorious outlaws. Set in Post-Emancipation Texas, the musical follows Mary and Martha's journey of defying racial boundaries and seizing what rightfully belongs to them, by any means necessary. They are successful at their charade until they each find themselves in love, but with two very different men.7m, 7f2020Post Emancipation Texas
http://www.angelicacheri.com/gun-and-powder
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SoloLet Me Down EasyAnna Deavere SmithAmericanIn this solo show constructed from verbatim interview transcripts, Anna Deavere Smith examines the miracle of human resilience through the lens of the national debate on health care. After collecting interviews with over 300 people on three continents, Smith creates an indelible gallery of 20 individuals, known and unknown—from a rodeo bull rider and a World Heavyweight boxing champion to a New Orleans doctor during Hurricane Katrina, as well as former Texas Governor Ann Richards, cyclist Lance Armstrong, film critic Joel Siegel, and supermodel Lauren Hutton. A work of emotional brilliance and political substance from one of the treasures of the American theater. Originally created as a one-person show, the author encourages multi-actor productions of the play.1 person show2008Contemporary, Politics, Healthcare, nonfiction, Sports, Rwanda Genocide, Verbatim Theatre
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4747&keysearch=anna+deavere+smith&options=all&limitResult=all&limitResult1=allgenres&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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SoloNotes from the FieldAnna Deavere SmithAmericanOne of the most hailed and provocative theatre artists of our time, Anna Deavere Smith, leads a new installation of powerful first person storytelling in Notes From the Field. Urgent and inspiring, it depicts the personal accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline. Investigating a justice system that pushes minors from poor communities out of the classroom and into incarceration, Notes From the Field shines a light on a lost generation of American youth. Drawn from interviews with more than 250 people living and working within a challenged system, Anna Deavere Smith continues her mastery of the documentary solo performance by stimulating awareness and, ultimately, change for the better.1 person show2015Education, Politics, School-to-prison-pipeline, Police Brutality, Contemporary, nonfiction, Multimedia, Verbatim Theatre
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/595278/notes-from-the-field-by-anna-deavere-smith/
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SoloHouse Arrest: A Search for American Character In and Around the White House, Past and PresentAnna Deavere SmithAmericanHOUSE ARREST is a fascinating and compelling look at nothing less than the civil rights movement, the issues of slavery and racism, and the relationship between the press and the presidency over the course of American history. In the course of over two hours, Smith weaves together historical writing and her own interviews with some 420 people both inside and outside of presidential politics. It’s a fascinating blend of history and commentary that is by turns illuminating, heartening and saddening.1 person show (flexible)2002Historical, nonfiction, politics, American History, Verbatim Theatre
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3074&keysearch=anna+deavere+smith&options=all&limitResult=all&limitResult1=allgenres&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DocumentarySevenAnna Deavere SmithAmericanA collaboration of seven award-winning women playwrights, SEVEN is based on personal interviews with seven women leaders of the Vital Voices Global Partnership network who have triumphed over huge obstacles to create major changes in human rights in their home countries. In the seven interwoven stories we see the commonality of challenge and of bravery, and in the individual monologues that follow, we experience each fascinating whole true story. (Hafsat Abiola, an advocate for human rights and democracy following the murder of her activist parents, founded the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, which provides skills-training and leadership opportunities for young women across Nigeria. She now helps build bridges between African and Chinese women, as China increases its engagement in the African continent.)7f2009Documentary, nonfiction, feminism, Sexual Abuse, Contemporary, international
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4164&keysearch=anna+deavere+smith&options=all&limitResult=all&limitResult1=allgenres&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaPass OverAntoinette NwanduAmericanMoses and Kitch stand around on the corner―talking shit, passing the time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. As they dream of their promised land, a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans. Emotional and lyrical, Pass Over crafts everyday profanities into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the unquestionable human spirit of young men stuck in a cycle that they are desperately trying to escape.2m2017*Gun Shots*, Absurdism, Contemporary
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/63294/pass-over
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Anthology48 Hours in Harlem: 10-min Plays Vol. 1Anya Maia Saulsberry, Harrison David Rivers, Keith Joseph Adkins, Derek Lee McPhatter, Mfonso Udofia, Dominique Morisseau, Dominic A. Taylor, France-Luce Benson, Kevin R. Free, Zoey Martinson, Christine Jean Chambers, Marcus GardleyA groundbreaking anthology of inspired ten-minute plays by 12 new and emerging black playwrights, presented by the OBIE Award Winning Harlem9, Inc., presenters of the annual "48Hours in… Harlem" festival.Ensemble(?)2016N/A
https://www.amazon.com/10-Minute-Plays-Anthology-Presented-Harlem9/dp/153082656X/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/130-7322944-6307738?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=153082656X&pd_rd_r=e0687171-815e-4769-9cc2-ecc9caa48e3e&pd_rd_w=niOx8&pd_rd_wg=8ZCod&pf_rd_p=4e3f7fc3-00c8-46a6-a4db-8457e6319578&pf_rd_r=D9QFQA2Z5Z477JKJXYSZ&psc=1&refRID=D9QFQA2Z5Z477JKJXYSZ
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DramaMistyArinzé KeneBritishArinzé Kene's play Misty is a drama combining gig theatre, spoken word, live art and direct address, exploring contemporary inner-city London, and confronting the assumptions and expectations underpinning the act of telling a story. The play begins with a character called 'Virus' performing a routine about London, which he likens to a living organism. His account of a violent incident on a night bus and its aftermath is intercut with sequences in which 'Arinzé’ wrestles with the story he wishes to tell, derided by his friends and family who complain that he is writing a play that caters to white expectations of black lives.Solo2018Gig theater, Artistry, London, Meta, Storytelling
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/misty-iid-185879
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DramaKing Hedley IIAugust WilsonAmerican#9 in the 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle, Peddling stolen refrigerators in the feeble hope of making enough money to open a video store, King Hedley, a man whose self worth is built on self delusion, is scraping in the dirt of an urban backyard trying to plant seeds where nothing will grow. Getting, spending, killing and dying in a world where getting is hard and killing is commonplace are threads woven into this 1980's installment in the author's renowned cycle of plays about the black experience in America. Drawing on characters established in Seven Guitars, King Hedley II shows the shadows of the past reaching into the present as King seeks retribution for a lie perpetrated by his mother regarding the identity of his father.4m, 2f1999Period Piece, Justice System
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/7627/august-wilsons-king-hedley-ii
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DramaGem of the OceanAugust WilsonAmerican#1 in the 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle, Set in 1904, August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean begins on the eve of Aunt Esther's 287th birthday. When Citizen Barlow comes to her Pittsburgh's Hill District home seeking asylum, she sets him off on a spiritual journey to find a city in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Gem of the Ocean is the ninth work in Wilson's ten-play cycle that has recorded the American Black experience and helped to define generations. The Broadway run starred Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad as Aunt Esther.2f, 5m2003Period Piece, spiritual, Justice System
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/7623/august-wilsons-gem-of-the-ocean
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DramaRadio GolfAugust WilsonAmerican#10 in the 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle, Radio Golf is a fast-paced, dynamic, and wonderfully funny work about the world today and the dreams we have for the future. Set in Pittsburgh in the late 1990s, it’s the story of a successful entrepreneur who aspires to become the city’s first black mayor. But when the past begins to catch up with him, secrets get revealed that could be his undoing.1f, 4m2005Gentrification, Politics, Assimilation
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/6930/august-wilsons-radio-golf
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SoloHow I Learned What I Learned August WilsonAmericanA one-man show that chronicles his life as a Black artist in the Hill District in Pittsburgh. From stories about his first jobs to his first loves and his experiences with racism, Wilson recounts his life from his roots to the completion of The American Century Cycle. How I Learned What I Learned gives an inside look into one of the most celebrated playwriting voices of the twentieth century.Solo/ 1m2018Biography, Memory Play, Contemporary, Resilience
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/p/60599/how-i-learned-what-i-learned
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ComedyBLKSAziza BarnesAmericanBLKS centers around the story of four black millennial friends, Octavia, June, Ry and Imani, who share a New York City apartment1m, 5f2019Contemporary, Coming-of-age, LGBTQ+, Adult Themes (sex, alcohol, etc.)
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=6023
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DocumentaryThe FallBaxter Theatre CentreSouth African
As the statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes was dismantled at the University of Cape Town, eight students wrote The Fall, charting their experiences as activists who brought down a statue and then grappled with decolonizing what was left standing in its wake: the legacies of race, class, gender, history, and power 24 years after the official end of Apartheid.
3f, 4m2017Contemporary, Devised, Biography, Documentary, Activism, Decolonization, Colonialism
https://www.oberonbooks.com/the-fall.html
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SatireBelongBola AgbajeBritish- NigerianElection lost, speeches made and controversy stirred – Kayode’s hiding. He’s not even answering the door to the cleaner and Rita is not going to start getting out the Hoover in her designer heels. Escaping the political heat in London he flees to Nigeria – a British MP and a self-made man. Once there, he gets caught up in a whole new power game. Bola Agbaje’s satirical play questions our notion of home.3f, 8m2012Contemporary, Politics, Identity, Assimilation
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/belong-iid-135259
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DramaDetaining JusticeBola AgbajeBritish- NigerianDetaining Justice is an interrogatory play about illegal immigration and race, in which the urgent issues are brought to life with humour and compassion. Justice Ncube is locked in a cell, his asylum application pending. If he is deported back to Zimbabwe, he faces the violent retribution of the regime he resisted. His sister Grace is desperate to help, but after trying authorities, God, and even the bed of an immigration enforcement officer, she finds nothing but dead ends. All she can suggest is that he goes back home. Assigned to Justice’s case is Mr Cole, a celebrity prosecution lawyer who is ill at ease in his new job in the cramped office of the Immigration Advisory Centre, and haunted by his last big case. The system is impenetrable and obscure, and there’s no way out for Justice. In the offices of the immigration authorities, inside the detention centres, and out in the world where illegal immigrants are working, Agbaje examines Britain’s tangled immigration system and the lives of those who slip through the cracks.4f, 8m2009Justice System, Immigration
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/detaining-justice-iid-15779#:~:text=Bola%20Agbaje&text=Detaining%20Justice%20is%20an%20interrogatory,cell%2C%20his%20asylum%20application%20pending.
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ComedyGone Too Far!Bola AgbajeBritish- NigerianWhen two brothers from different continents go down the street to buy a pint of milk, they lift the lid on a disunited nation where everyone wants to be an individual but no one wants to stand out from the crowd.4f, 6m2007Contemporary, Racism, Culture, Identity, Dance, Music
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/gone-too-far-iid-135794
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DramaOff the EndzBola AgbajeBritish- NigerianDavid, Kojo and Sharon grew up on a London estate. Now in their mid-20s, they’re eyeing another kind of life. But how do you choose the right path when temptation lies around every corner? If your emotional or financial debt is sky high, how do you buy your way out? Bola Agbaje's smart, savvy second play for the Royal Court asks whether being out of the system might be just as good as being in it. Her characters struggle to ignore the pull of lawless gain and in their newly-respectable, adult lives, find it hard to move away from a background which both haunts them and entices them back. Agbaje's characteristically energetic, vibrant dialogue captures the dynamic rhythm of spoken language and she portrays an under-represented slice of society with skill and compassion.3f, 5m2010Contemporary, Family, Relationships, Crime, Growing up
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/off-the-endz-iid-135815
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DramaGloriaBranden Jacobs-JenkinsAmericanThis funny, trenchant, and powerful play follows an ambitious group of editorial assistants at a notorious Manhattan magazine, each of whom hopes for a starry life of letters and a book deal before they turn thirty. But when an ordinary humdrum workday becomes anything but, the stakes for who will get to tell their own story become higher than ever.3f, 3m (doubling)2015Satire, Murder, Mental Health, Workplace Toxicity
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5291&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaAn OctoroonBranden Jacobs-JenkinsAmericanJudge Peyton is dead and his plantation Terrebonne is in financial ruins. Peyton’s handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful octoroon. But the evil overseer M’Closky has other plans—for both Terrebonne and Zoe. In 1859, a famous Irishman wrote this play about slavery in America. Now an American tries to write his own.5f, 10m (Doubling 8-9 actors) (*recommended by playwright that male characters are played in blackface/whiteface/redface)2014Brecht, Melodrama, Period Piece, Satire, Slavery, Stereotypes, Identity
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5049
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DramaEverybodyBranden Jacobs-JenkinsAmericanThis modern riff on the fifteenth-century morality play Everyman follows Everybody (chosen from amongst the cast by lottery at each performance) as they journey through life’s greatest mystery—the meaning of living.9 n/s2017Morality Play, Death, Religion, Adaptation
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5633
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DramaAppropriateBranden Jacobs-JenkinsAmericanEvery estranged member of the Lafayette clan has descended upon the crumbling Arkansas homestead to settle the accounts of the newly-dead patriarch. As his three adult children sort through a lifetime of hoarded mementos and junk, they collide over clutter, debt, and a contentious family history. But after a disturbing discovery surfaces among their father’s possessions, the reunion takes a turn for the explosive, unleashing a series of crackling surprises and confrontations.3m, 4f, 1 child2016Family, Contemporary, Relationships
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5011&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaNeighborsBranden Jacobs-JenkinsAmericanHave you seen the new neighbors? Classics professor Richard Patterson is not happy. The family of black entertainers that has moved in next door is an embarrassment—loud, raucous, tacky, and shameless. They’re not just taking over the neighborhood—they’re infiltrating his perfect, interracial family and his perfect, post-racial sanity. In its scathing exploration of denial and satire of black entertainment from minstrelsy to hip-hop, NEIGHBORS is a shocking, explosive, and wildly theatrical play.4f, 4m2012Minstrelsy, Contemporary, Stereotypes, Identity
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5013
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DramaAbe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White HouseCarlyle BrownAmericanAlone in the Executive Office, President Abraham Lincoln is struggling with signing the Emancipation Proclamation when he is mysteriously visited by Uncle Tom, the fictional character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly. These two iconic characters from life and literature—one real, the other fiction—attempt to understand each other across a chasm of race in the midst of the Civil War. Throughout one late night and into the dawning day, they find themselves crossing over into each other’s world in a tale of suffering, self-discovery, and redemption.2m, 2f2018Historical fiction, Slavery, Politics, Violence
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5709&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaThe African Company Presents Richard IIICarlyle BrownAmericanEarning their bread with satires of white high society, the African Company came to be known for debunking the sacred status of the English classics (which many politically and racially motivated critics said were beyond the scope of black actors). Inside the Company’s ranks, similar debates raged about whether to mimic the English tongue, or to provide a more lively interpretation of white theater by acknowledging the vibrancy of the black experience (in the words of the African Company’s manager: “Say ya Shakespeare like ya want"). Shakespeare is the chosen cultural battleground in this inventive retelling of a little known, yet pivotal event in the African Company’s history. Knowing they are always under prejudicial pressures from white society, and facing their own internal shakeups, the African Company battles for time, space, audiences and togetherness. Their competition, Stephen Price, an uptown, Broadway-type impresario, is producing Richard III at the same time as the African Company’s production is in full swing. Price has promised a famous English actor overflowing audiences if he plays Richard in Price’s theatre. Fearing the competition of the African Company’s production, which is garnering large white audiences, Price manipulates the law and closes down the theatre. The Company rebounds and finds a space right next door to Price’s theatre. At the rise of curtain of the next performance, Price causes the arrest of some of the actors in a trumped-up riot charge. The play ends with the Company, surviving, its integrity intact, and about to launch an equally progressive new chapter in the American theatre: They’ll soon be producing the first black plays written by black Americans of their day.5m, 2 f1994Theatre History, Historical Performance, Shakespeare, Racism, Identity, American History
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=829&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaBuffalo HairCarlyle BrownAmericanDuring the night, on a dusty, sage-brush covered island on the southern plains, in the middle of the Red River, black Buffalo Soldiers capture a young warrior called Buffalo Hair, a black man who has chosen to live among the Cheyenne ever since they saved his life. The soldiers find their captive to be a foe from without and within, being so much alike and different from themselves. To Buffalo Hair, his captors are slaves to the white man and enemies of his true people, the Cheyenne. In the morning, a hundred Cheyenne warriors will come to the river to take Buffalo Hair back. Now the soldiers must choose whether to stay loyal to the army and fight, or let Buffalo Hair go and have a chance at saving themselves. Disagreement between the troopers builds to a confrontation. In the excitement a pistol is fired, bringing a hundred Cheyenne warriors down on the island. When the dust clears, the soldiers are captives and now it is Buffalo Hair’s turn to choose. He can kill and scalp the black soldiers to prove he is a true Cheyenne, or let them live and become one of them. In the end, Buffalo Hair chooses the warrior’s road, and extracts ritual atonement from the abandoned black soldiers.8m1995Native American, Historical Fiction, Slavery, Cheyenne, Wild West, Race Relations, Identity, Race, American History
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=790&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaDown in MississippiCarlyle BrownAmericanThree college students—a black man, a white woman, and a white man—travel to the dangerous world of Mississippi in 1964 to register Negro voters. Along the way, they discover that before they can change the world, they will have to change themselves. DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI is a celebration of a movement that gave birth to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.2m, 1f2018Historical Fiction, American History, Civil Rights Movement, Voting Rights Act, Politics
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5707&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaThe Little Tommy Parker Celebrated Colored Minstrel ShowCarlyle BrownAmericanSix black minstrel players in a Pullman porter railroad car on a cold winter’s afternoon in February, 1895, outside the rural town of Hannibal, Missouri, wait for showtime to arrive. The chilly wind blows outside as they pass the time with stories and memories. Suddenly one member, Percy, so far absent, bursts in and collapses on the floor. When the troupe realizes their friend has been chased by a white mob, they must find a way to protect him and themselves. Fear, anxiety and deep honesty surface as these black men blacken their faces with burnt cork, trying to allow their friend to avoid detection. The white mob realizes where Percy is and shows up at the train where Percy goes out to face them, hoping to save the others.7m1992Historical Fiction, Period Piece, Blackface, Minstrelsy, American Theatre, Mob Violence
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=948&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaPure ConfidenceCarlyle BrownAmericanThe high-stakes world of Civil War–era horse racing is the stage for this riveting drama of slavery and Reconstruction. Both Simon Cato, a smart, cocky 'colored’ jockey, and his horse, Pure Confidence, are owned by Colonel Wiley Johnson. Cato uses his wits and his championship winnings to buy his and his wife’s freedom. But the Civil War changes everything, and the passage of time doesn’t bring Cato the success he expects in this surprisingly funny, daring and emotionally moving look at the complexity of race, humanity, love and dignity in the second half of the nineteenth century. With a vivid backdrop of fast horses, gritty racetracks and high-stakes betting, PURE CONFIDENCE is an extraordinary tale of human triumphs and failings that explores the true meaning of freedom.4m, 2f2004Historical Fiction, Slavery, Reconstruction Era, Civil War Era, Horse Racing, Period Piece
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3834&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaAn Ocean In My SoulCharise SowellsAmericanAn Ocean In My Soul is a one act play about Alexander, a biracial man who is torn between two worlds that span space and time, united by the waves of the Black Atlantic. In the beginning of the play, he is a young man facing a difficult decision as an employee of his plantation owning father of European descent and a son to his enslaved African American mother. Later on, Alexander is a high schooler struggling to navigate who he is and where he fits into the world. The context is different, but the issues remain the same; nothing is ever as black and white as it may seem. Conveying a universalism in the oversimplified matters of life, An Ocean In My Soul acts as a relevant and timely reminder, especially in today’s political environment.6-9(Premiered 2019)black lives matter, interracial, biracial, biracial identity, biracial marriage, biracial relationships, mixed race, mixed race families, mixed race marriage, mixed race relationships
Unpublished! Venmo to support: venmo.com/charisesowells Email for PDF: charise.sowells@gmail.com
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Drama562Charise SowellsAmericanAfter spending two years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Phoenix reenters the real world only to discover he's more alone than ever. Dealing with race dynamics and the crystal meth epidemic in Long Beach, California, this is the story of a young, multiracial man figuring out who he is and how he fits into the changed world around him.9(1st Reading 2016)black lives matter, Multiracial, interracial, addiction, drug abuse, alcoholic mother, drug dealer, drug dealing, prison, biracial identity
Unpublished! Venmo to support: venmo.com/charisesowells Email for PDF: charise.sowells@gmail.com
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DramaFlightCharlayne WoodardAmericanIn 1858, on a plantation in Georgia, a young mother is suddenly sold, leaving behind her husband and their five-year-old son. Through a magical evening of storytelling, music and dance, the enslaved community comes together, not only to comfort father and son but to heal and strengthen themselves. FLIGHT is an inspirational theatrical experience for the whole family. These empowering stories, based on actual slave narratives, as well as African and African-American folktales, celebrate the African-American oral tradition as it passes from generation to generation…to you.2m, 4f2008Historical Fiction, Music, Dance, Slavery, Community, Identity, African Folktales, African Culture, African-American Culture, Oral Storytelling, Tradition
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4020&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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Solo Drama/ComedyIn Real LifeCharlayne WoodardAmericanAfter graduating from drama school in Chicago, Charlayne Woodard, a young African-American woman, eagerly packs her bags and heads for New York City to live with her boyfriend and pursue an acting career. Her family is concerned about this move—to say the least. IN REAL LIFE cannily chronicles Charlayne’s initial seduction into the thrills of stopping a show as well as the physical and emotional price of sustaining the energy to do so night after night.1f2002Contemporary, American Theatre, Coming-of-age, drugs, family, relationships, Memory Play, Auto-biography
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3202&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
43
Solo Drama/ComedyNeatCharlayne WoodardAmericanIn the oral traditions of West Africa and the African diaspora, Charlayne Woodard is a modern-day griot. On a bare stage, this magnificent storyteller spins her own exquisite real-life remembrance of her brain damaged aunt, Neat, and the profound change she brought to Charlayne’s life. Neat, with her enormous love, energy, simplicity and magnificent clarity, teaches the young Charlayne what it is to cherish life. A magical, compelling, personal portrait of a young woman’s coming of age, NEAT is the story of an urban African-American girl bursting into adulthood, experiencing first love, and embracing both black-pride and feminism.1f2000Memory Play, Oral Storytelling, Tradition, Family, Coming-of-age, Auto-biography, Black Pride, Feminism, Contemporary
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3200&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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Solo Drama/ComedyThe Night WatcherCharlayne WoodardAmericanSimultaneously a best friend, mentor, psychologist, and surrogate mother to the many young people who call her “Auntie,” Charlayne Woodard is childless only by biological standards. Told with penetrating grace, candor and wit, THE NIGHT WATCHER is the story of a woman who chooses not to have children—only to be pulled into the real-life struggles of kids of all ages, races and backgrounds.1f2012Family, Contemporary, Relationships, Chosen-Family, Children, Childhood Neglect, Community, Memory Play, Auto-biography
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4215&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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Solo Drama/ComedyPretty FireCharlayne WoodardAmericanThe stage is bare except for a wooden loveseat and a young African-American woman. Then the lyrical, lifting words of Charlayne Woodard begin weaving stories of two young sisters in the small world of Albany, New York; of Ku Klux Klan riders burning a cross—the ironic “pretty fire” of the title—in the hilltop black town of Rosignol Hill, Georgia; of three generations of family love, struggle and triumph. And suddenly that empty stage becomes crowded with the authentic, mesmerizing experience of contemporary African-American life. 1f1995family, Ku Klux Klan, contemporary, traditional storytelling, auto-biography, memory play, relationships, generational
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3201&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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Drama (historical)Behind the SheetCharly Evon SimpsonAmericanIn 1840s Alabama, Dr. George Barry is on the verge of a miraculous cure: treatment for fistulas, a common but painful complication of childbirth. To achieve his medical breakthrough, Dr. Barry performs experimental surgeries on a group of enslaved women afflicted with the condition. Based on the true story of Dr. J. Marion Sims, the “father of modern gynecology,” BEHIND THE SHEET remembers the forgotten women who made his achievement possible, and the pain they endured in the process.6f, 5m2019historical fiction, American history, slavery, medical abuse, childbirth
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=6007&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaJumpCharly Evon SimpsonAmericanAs Fay copes with the death of her mother and loss of her childhood home, she seeks solace by visiting the bridge her mother took her to as a child. There she meets Hopkins, who walks the bridge as a balm for his own grieving. JUMP is a play full of flickering lights, vapes that fall from the sky, and the magic of hope in the midst of loss.2f, 2m2020childhood, family, death, grief
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=6080&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaBefore it Hits HomeCheryl L. WestAmericanWendal, a jazz musician who has never managed to make it big, has just been diagnosed with having the AIDS virus. To a string of questioning doctors, he indignantly denies having had any sexual relations with others but by the end of the first act we see him in two simultaneous bedroom scenes, one between him and his fiancee, Simone, who is pregnant, and one between him and his male lover, Douglas, who is actually a married man and father. In these combined scenes, Wendal’s denial and confusion are painfully obvious as he tries to hide the truth about his health from both of his partners; he seems especially intent to hide from Douglas the extent of his undisclosed promiscuity. In the second act, Wendal has drifted away from both Simone and Douglas, unable to sustain the lies that had been keeping his two worlds apart and in balance. He returns home to his mother and father, but upon confiding the truth to them, he is abandoned by his mother who, in a wrathful explosion of raw emotion, indicts Wendal for immorality and takes with her his teenage son from a previous marriage. Wendal’s father, however, overcomes his facade of masculine pride and takes up caring for Wendal in his final days, eventually enacting a tentative reconciliation between the family members only in time for Wendal to die. The final image of the play lingers as Simone reappears, her own health and the life of her unborn child in question.4m, 5-6 f, 1 boy1998Jazz, sexuality, identity
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=906&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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Dramatic comedyJar the FloorCheryl L. WestAmericanA quartet of black women spanning four generations makes up this heartwarming dramatic comedy. The four, plus the white woman friend of the youngest, come together to celebrate the matriarch's ninetieth birthday.5f2002generations, lgbtq+, family
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=2995&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=&male=&female=&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramaBirdie BlueCheryl L. WestAmericanTimes are tougher than ever, but Birdie welcomes us in, tells it -- and we mean all of it -- like it is, and then does what she has to do in this lyrical and jazzy reflection on love, marriage, and the passage of time.(1m/Ensemble, 1f)?2005Alzheimer’s, aging, the passage of time
https://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/reviews/birdie-blue_6226.html
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Drama, Children's TheaterAddy: American Girl StoryCheryl L. WestAmericanSet on a North Carolina plantation in 1864, Addy: An American Girl Story brings to life the tale of a young girl and her mother who flee the oppressive life of slavery, their terrifying separation from their family and their journey to freedom. We are afforded a look at the excitement and challenges brave Addy faces once she has that freedom and strives to reunite her family. Addy: An American Girl Story is recommended for ages eight and older.5m, 11f2007Civil war, history play, slavery, southern plantations
https://www.theatermania.com/shows/seattle-theater/addy-an-american-girl-story_126206
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DramaLizzie Bright and the Buckminster BoyCheryl L. WestAmericanTurner Buckminster III can’t win: he’s the new kid in town, he plays baseball differently, and he stumbles upon trouble at every step. Turner’s only friend is Lizzie Bright Griffin from Malaga Island, an impoverished community founded by former slaves. The town (and Turner’s father) disapproves of their friendship, but Turner and Lizzie remain friends regardless. When powerful forces threaten Lizzie and her kin, Turner faces the ultimate test of his character—and learns a hard-earned lesson about courage and loss.7m, 4f2012Plays for Young Audiences,
https://playsforyoungaudiences.org/scripts/lizzie-bright-and-the-buckminster-boy/
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Children's Musical/PlayMwindoCheryl L. WestAmericanMwindo is an epic Central African tale passed on for centuries featuring heroic beings and fantastical creatures. Mwindo, born as a full-sized boy, is an unwitting threat to his father, a Chief whose heart is corrupted with greed and hatred for the son who will grow to take his place. Mwindo journeys on a quest to battle enemies and overcome obstacles, to triumph and forgive, to bring his people compassion and the richness of joy. With plenty of action and adventure, music and dance, Mwindo teaches us what it’s like to search for and find one’s warrior spirit.2m, 5f2015Plays for Young Audiences,
https://playsforyoungaudiences.org/scripts/mwindo/
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Children's TheaterAkeelah and the BeeCheryl L. WestAmericanAkeelah has a crazy passion for words: the more abstruse and labyrinthine, the better. But this gift is almost overwhelmed by the challenge of her daily life in a tough, Chicago neighborhood. Akeelah’s aptitude earns her a spot in the National Spelling Bee, which inspires the people in her neighborhood with her courage and tenacity. 7m, 7f2015Plays for Young Audiences, overcoming odds, prejudice, bullying
https://playsforyoungaudiences.org/scripts/akeelah-and-the-bee/
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Jukebox MusicalShout Sister Shout!Cheryl L. WestAmericanA musical based off of the book of the same name about rock legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe. “Sister Rosetta Tharpe was anything but ordinary and plain; she was a big, good-looking woman and divine, not to mention sublime and splendid. She was a powerful force of nature –a guitar-playing, singing evangelist.” - Bob Dylan2m, 3f, Ensemble2019Sister Rosetta Tharpe, rock & roll, music, godmother of rock
https://www.seattlerep.org/about-us/inside-seattle-rep/a-conversation-with-shout-sister-shout-playwright-cheryl-l-west/
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Historical MusicalPullman Porter BluesCheryl L. West, Music Composed by JMichaelAmericanSet in 1937 on the Panama Limited train, Pullman Porter Blues centers on three generations of porters working the sleeping cars the night of the famous Joe Louis/James Braddock boxing match. As the train chugs from Chicago towards New Orleans, grandfather, father, and son spar; racial tensions flare; and Midwest blues flavor the night."8m, 2f, Ensemble2012Joe Louis vs. James Braddock boxing match, racial tension, blues, historical fiction
https://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/pullman-porter-blues/
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Musical ComedyLast Stop on Market StreetCheryl L. West, Musical score by Lamont Dozier and Paris Ray DozierAmericanSix-year-old CJ is (reluctantly) staying with his (extremely over-the-top) Nana, in a world considerably different from the one he’s used to (his phone and tablet). The disagreeable (and let’s just admit it, whiny) child is dragged on a bus ride that’s loud and gritty and weird. Guided by his veritable force-of-nature Nana, CJ travels a little closer to his roots and sees that things are not always what they seem. This is one hip-hop, eclectic, heart-thumpin’, toe-tappin’ joy ride.3 female, 3 male (with Doubling)2018Plays for Young Audiences, family, hip hop, finding one's roots
https://playsforyoungaudiences.org/scripts/last-stop-on-market-street/
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DramaGood GoodsChristina AndersonAmericanThe protagonist of Christina Anderson’s Good Goods (2009), Stacey Goods, physically returns to the black south, where he tends to his family’s general merchandise store that his father has recently abandoned. Rather than the store’s sole employee, Truth, assuming the store’s proprietorship, Stacey seizes the reins, setting up a battle between the two men. The play also follows the homecoming of Patricia, who is Stacey’s partner in their touring cabaret act and grew up in the same town as him, with her new companion, a runaway bride named Sunny.2f, 4m2009Family, Filial Obligations, small town intrigue, Mystical contingencies of the home
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/good-goods-iid-131080
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DramedyHow To Catch CreationChristina AndersonAmericanA wrongly convicted man is released from prison after 25 years. As he settles into a new life he begins the quest to become a father. Spanning more than 40 years, this play explores family, connection, parenthood, and right to start over. 3m, 4f201960s/70s, LGBTQ+, Friendship, Family, Coming of Agehttps://www.christinaandersonwriter.com/plays-inner
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Drama with MusicNina Simone: Four WomenChristina HamAmericanSeptember 16, 1963. The day after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama led Nina Simone to shift her career from artist to artist-activist as she believed, "An artist's responsibility is to reflect the times." Nina Simone: Four Women uses the framework of one of her most blistering songs "Four Women" to give voice to a group of women who suffered from self-hatred due to the different hues of their skin: Aunt Sarah, Sephronia, Sweet Thing, and Peaches.4W, 1M (optional)2016Historical, Activism, Civil Rights
http://www.christinaham.com/new-page
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DramaWild With HappyColman DomingoAmericanFrom the mind of Colman Domingo (a Tony Award nominee for The Scottsboro Boys and an Obie Award winner for Passing Strange) comes a deeply imaginative and utterly outrageous new work that explores the bizarre comedy that lies within death and healing. Gil, an actor who’s struggling to carve out his own new life, finds his worlds colliding when his mother dies and he decides to have her cremated. But where should he scatter the ashes? And can he make a fairytale ending for her in the one place that made her WILD WITH HAPPY?3m, 1f2013family, theatre, death, relationships, journey
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4639&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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DramedyDotColman DomingoAmericanThe holidays are always a wild family affair at the Shealy house. But this year, Dotty and her three grown children gather with more than exchanging presents on their minds. As Dotty struggles to hold on to her memory, her children must fight to balance care for their mother and care for themselves. This twisted and hilarious new play grapples unflinchingly with aging parents, midlife crises, and the heart of a West Philly neighborhood.3f, 4m2016Aging, Love, Memory, Parenting/Family
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/60374/dot
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SoloA Boy and His SoulColman DomingoAmericanWhere do you get SOUL? From watching your parents sell the house you grew up in? From discovering the family secret about your crazy cousin? Or from the childhood records found in your parents’ basement? From Stevie, Aretha, Marvin, Chaka, Barry, Gladys…and Colman. Propelled by the beat of classic soul, smooth R&B and disco, this is the soundtrack of a boy’s coming of age in 70s and 80s Philadelphia.1m2009memory play, coming-of-age, growing up, family, relationships, music
https://www.amazon.com/Boy-Soul-Oberon-Modern-Plays/dp/1783190582
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MusicalLights Out: Nat "King" ColeColman DomingoAmericanWhen his groundbreaking NBC variety show failed to attract a national sponsor, Nat “King” Cole famously declared that “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.” In this theatrical exploration into the soul of an American icon, Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor imagine Nat as he faces his final Christmastime broadcast, and weighs the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to “go out with a bang.” This world premiere, replete with hits and holiday standards like “Nature Boy,” “It’s A Good Day,” “Unforgettable,” and “Joy To The World,” also features appearances by Eartha Kitt and Peggy Lee. Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.4f, 5m2019nonfiction, biography, jukebox musical, racism, entertainment industry
https://www.theatermania.com/shows/los-angeles-theater/lights-out-nat-king-cole_324952
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SoloBeauty's Daughter Dael OrlandersmithAmericanOne woman’s journey with many obstacles stacked against her. The heroine or “anti-heroine” can choose to be a victim of the violent cards life has dealt her or she can use her poetry and music as a creative means to deal. The audience sees the character’s inability and ultimate ability to deal with other people and triumph in the end.1f1995One Act, poetry, love, relationships
https://www.amazon.com/Beautys-Daughter-Monster-Gimmick-Three/dp/0375708715
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SoloBlack N Blue Boys/ Broken MenDael OrlandersmithAmericanIn an arresting one-woman show, Dael Orlandersmith gives us five unforgettable male characters whose outward dissimilarities belie their inescapable link: a traumatic past plagued by a cycle of violence and abuse. Taking us from Coney Island to Manchester, England, and back, Ms. Orlandersmith brings to life a series of harrowing stories that weave together each character’s friends, family, lovers and counselors into an explosive narrative that uncovers the darkest corners of humanity—and shatters our notions about predators and their victims. At once powerful and heartbreakingly poetic, BLACK N BLUE BOYS/BROKEN MEN will leave you breathless.1f2013abuse, violence, toxic masculinity, cyclical abuse, resilience
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4871&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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SoloForeverDael OrlandersmithAmericanInspired by her experiences in Paris at the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery—the final resting place of such legendary artists as Richard Wright and Jim Morrison—award-winning playwright/performer Dael Orlandersmith explores the strange way we form powerful bonds with people who, though unrelated to us by blood, come to feel like family. Observing strangers from around the world making pilgrimages to their favorite artist’s grave, Orlandersmith investigates the complex legacy she received from her mother—a legacy of bitterness, abuse, and frustration, but also of poetry, music, and art.1f2015family, relationships, legacy, poetry, art, abuse, growing up, bonds, legacy,
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5267
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SoloUntil the FloodDael OrlandersmithAmericanUNTIL THE FLOOD was written in response to Michael Brown’s death. Having interviewed scores of St. Louis residents, Orlandersmith portrays the many faces found within the community, giving each a chance to take center stage.1 n/s2018Black Lives Matter, police brutality, interview theatre, verbatim theatre, documentary theatre, racism
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=5815&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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SoloThe GimmickDael OrlandersmithAmericanTHE GIMMICK tells the story of Alexis and Jimmy, a pair of outsiders who forge a friendship through their shared passion for art. Theirs is a love more powerful than the ghetto gimmicks that devastate much of the Harlem of their youth. When one falls, the bond that has kept them whole threatens to destroy them both.1f1999One Act, friendship, art, relationships, growing up, Harlem
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3104&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
70
DramaYellowmanDael OrlandersmithAmericanYELLOWMAN is a multi-character memory play about an African-American woman who dreams of life beyond the confines of her smalltown Southern upbringing and the light-skinned man whose fate is tragically intertwined with hers. The play explores the negative associations surrounding male blackness as well as the effect these racial stereotypes have on black women.1f, 1m2002memory play, racial stereotypes, domestic violence, toxic masculinity, colorism
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3103
71
DramaHorsedreamsDael OrlandersmithAmericanHORSEDREAMS explores the breakdown of the family unit as a result of addiction. After his wife, Desiree, dies of an accidental overdose, Loman faces the harsh reality of raising their son, Luka, alone.2m, 2f2011family, addiction, substance abuse, death
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4382&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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SoloMonsterDael OrlandersmithAmericanA violent family history passes from one generation to the next. The narrator, a young woman, uses stories, poetry and characters to introduce and juxtapose situations. Through her powerful eyes we witness violence, friendship, alienation, family love and loyalty.1f2003One Act, family, legacy, friendship, violence, poetry, identity, community
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3105&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
73
DramaMy Red Hand, My Black HandDael OrlandersmithAmericanThis play tells the story of one girl’s courageous search for belonging and acceptance in the two very distinct cultures that make up her heritage—African-American and Native-American. The play unfolds as the girl describes the past, present and future of her parents’ cultures and their fusion into her own. She tells us about the “Red” Tlingit and Lakota parentage of her father, who leaves the reservation to play blues rock in Boston. And the “Black” rural Virginia Background of her mother, who goes to Boston seeking the big-city life. Her parents meet at a dance and fall in love, but not without the complications of prejudice from their families.1 man [Native American] 2 women [1 black, 1 mixed race]2002One Act, Native American, mixed-race, identity, legacy, generations, culture, family, growing up, coming-of-age
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3123&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
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SoloStoop StoriesDael OrlandersmithAmericanDael Orlandersmith, combines theatre, poetry and music in a powerful, sizzling, fierce symphony of the diverse voices that make up her neighborhood—people drawn from both her life and her imagination. She introduces us to a range of characters—from an elderly Polish Holocaust survivor who has a chance meeting with Billie Holiday; to a poetic young junkie; to a teenage Puerto Rican punk; to a washed-up rock 'n’ roll star; to a seventy-year-old New Yorker from Harlem heading to the West Village to see Nina Simone.1f2011poetry, music, community, family, diversity
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4237&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
75
DramaEclipsedDanai GuriraZimbabwean-American2003, civil war is raging in Liberia. At a rebel army base four young women are doing their best to survive the conditions of the war. Yet sometimes, the greatest threat comes not from the enemy’s guns, but from the brutality of those on your own side. With the arrival of a new girl, who can read, and an old one, who can kill, how might this transform the future of this hard-bitten sisterhood?5f2010Sisterhood, rape, kidnapping, survival, peace
https://offscriptbooks.com/product/eclipsed-revised-tcg-edition/
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DramaIn the ContinuumDanai Gurira, and Nikkole SalterZimbabwean-AmericanIn the Continuum puts a human face on the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa and America through the lives of two unforgettably courageous women. Living worlds apart, one in South Central LA and the other in Zimbabwe, each experiences a kaleidoscopic weekend of life-changing revelations in this story of parallel denials and self-discoveries.2f2008Parallel denial, self discovery, South Central LA and Zimbabwe
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/2354/in-the-continuum
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DramaThe ConvertDanai GuriraZimbabwean-AmericanWestern cultural impositions and Ancient African traditions make strange bedfellows. Never sleeping with both eyes shut for fear the other will strike. It’s 1896 in Rhodesia and Jekesai has just been given her new, Catholic name. Chilford, the only black Roman Catholic teacher in the region, has decided she’ll now be known as Ester, wear European clothing and speak only in English. She’s torn away from everything that she knows by her fellow African who earnestly believes the promises of the White man. The Convert is a compelling exploration of a pivotal moment in history, when resisting the invading Western culture could mean death.4m, 3f2012Rhodesia, western imperialism, the iron claw of colonisation, 1896
https://www.amazon.com/Convert-Oberon-Modern-Plays/dp/1786820706
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DramaFamiliarDanai GuriraZimbabwean-AmericanFamiliar takes place in the winter of late 2011 at the home of Marvelous and Donald Chinyaramwira in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The story focuses on a Zimbabwean family that is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Tendikayi (addressed as Tendi) who is first generation American. The play opens on Marvelous (often called Marvi by other characters), Donald, and their youngest daughter Nyasha awaiting the arrival of Tendi and her fiance Chris (who is white). We are introduced to Margaret, Marvelous’s youngest sister who comes to join in the pre-wedding festivities. Tendi and Chris arrive along with Anne, Marvelous’s eldest sister, who still lives in Zimbabwe. Tendi and Chris tell Marvelous and Donald that they wish to perform the Roora ceremony (or bride price), a Zimbabwean wedding tradition, and have it facilitated by Anne. This angers Marvelous who wishes to keep the family rooted in American, Christian tradition. 3m, 5f2015African-American identity, the clashing of ideals, tradition
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/61698/familiar
79
Dramaborn baddebbie tucker greenBritishDawta wants the family to talk. Furious, she calls out each member of her family, demanding they join in her outrage or, at the very least, recognise it. Some long-ago horror has occurred, and she demands information from her sisters, her mother and her brother. Meanwhile, the perpetrator – Dad – stays nearly silent.2m, 4f2003Viscious family disputes, stylized drama, poisonous family secrets, betrayal
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4320
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Dramadirty butterflydebbie tucker greenBritishListening through their thin walls, Amelia and Jason are drawn into the dark and compelling world of their mutual neighbour, Jo. Something very nasty is going on next door, and Jason and Amelia know it, but do nothing.1m, 2f2003voyeurism, power, guilt
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/dirty-butterfly-iid-142080
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Drama, Short Playgenerationsdebbie tucker greenBritishThe play is set in the kitchen of black South African family. A family meal for three generations – from teenage daughters to grandparents – is being lovingly prepared with much story-telling and competitive banter. An onstage Choir (a stage direction states that a 'black South African choir would be great') sings. The family scene is enacted five times over. The dialogue is the same each time, but the scenes become shorter as gradually, beginning with one of the teenage daughters whose off-stage courtship provides a comic sideshow, members of the family leave the playing area, and their section of the dialogue is excised. Finally, the Choir sings the South African national anthem, 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika'.3m, 4f2005Disease, multi-generational families, black South Africans
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/generations-iid-153961
82
Drama, Short Playtradedebbie tucker greenBritishOn a circle of sand under a beating sun, three women are at odds: the Local, whose trade is plaiting tourists' hair; the Regular, a reserved older British woman who returns once a year for two weeks with a local man whose way she pays; and the Novice, a young woman on her first Caribbean jaunt looking for sun and sex.3f2005female sex tourism, to be paired with Generations,
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/trade-iid-153956/
83
Dramastoning marydebbie tucker greenBritishdebbie tucker green’s Stoning Mary is a play that explores everyday reality in an unstable, war-torn country, and asks what it would be like if these things were happening here. A husband and wife row about a prescription. A mother and father row about their son, who has become a child soldier. Two sisters row about which one is superior to the other. It emerges that the younger sister, Mary, has killed the child soldier and is to be stoned to death. A stage direction states that ‘The play is set in the country it is performed in. All characters are white.’7m, 6f2005White privilage
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/stoning-mary-iid-151129
84
One Woman Showrandomdebbie tucker greenBritishRandom follows a day in the life of a black London family, with a focus on the minutiae of domestic life until their lives are shattered by a random act of violence when one of them becomes the victim of a knife crime. The play is intended to be performed by one black actress, with lines attributed to characters including Sister, Brother, Mum, Dad, Teacher and others.1f2008One woman show, violent crime
https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/random
85
Dramatruth and reconciliationdebbie tucker greenBritishdebbie tucker green's truth and reconciliation is a play about the aftermath of violence, sometimes genocidal, in the years from 1976 to 2007. It was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London, on 1 September 2011. The play is structured as a series of vignettes. In South Africa, a black family testily awaits a white witness at a formal hearing. In Rwanda, a Tutsi widow angrily confronts her husband's Hutu killer. In Zimbabwe, a man deals with the fatal consequences of his wife's political outspokenness. In Bosnia, two Serbian ex-soldiers come face to face with a pregnant rape victim. And in Northern Ireland, two mothers, both of whom have lost their sons, vehemently argue about where responsibility lies for their deaths.11m, 11f2011Brutal conflicts, remembrance, testimony
https://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4410&keysearch=&options=&limitResult=&limitResult1=&total=all&male=all&female=all&limitFull=&limitShort=&limitMusical=&limit1Drama=&limit1Comedy=&melodrama=&romantic=&tragedy=&dark=&farce=&satire=&mystery=&thriller=&historical=
86
Dramanutdebbie tucker greenBritishElayne, a young black woman, is an obsessive, list-making semi-recluse who refuses to replace the batteries in her non-working doorbell. In Act One, we see Elayne speculating with her friends, Aimee and Devon, on the subject of funeral eulogies, each insisting that their own laying to rest will be the classier and better attended of the two. A young boy, Trey, floats into the action, singing; he is largely ignored by the other characters. In Act Two, the action switches to a furious row between a separated married couple – Elayne's younger sister and her former husband, Tyrone – over the husband's one-day-a-week custody of their 11-year-old daughter, Maya. The concluding act is a scene between Elayne and her sister, making clear the connections between the earlier scenes, and also the significance to Elayne of the burning cigarettes that conclude each segment.3m, 3f2013
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/nut-iid-139257
87
Dramahangdebbie tucker greenBritish
debbie tucker green's play hang is a drama exploring justice, and the point at which punishment for a crime becomes revenge. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, on 11 June 2015. The play is set in the 'nearly now', in an undefined space in which three unnamed characters (One, Two and Three) are engaged in a judicial process. One and Two are officials overseeing the process, while Three (a Black woman) is there to decide the fate of a man who has committed an unspecified crime against her family. She must choose the punishment he is to face. But the perpetrator has written her a letter and, having made her choice, she must now read his letter.
2f, 1 neutral2015satire about privatisation, justice, vengeance,
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/hang-iid-187847
88
Radio Playlamentdebbie tucker greenBritishThe play is structured as a series of vignettes. In South Africa, a black family testily awaits a white witness at a formal hearing. In Rwanda, a Tutsi widow angrily confronts her husband's Hutu killer. In Zimbabwe, a man deals with the fatal consequences of his wife's political outspokenness. In Bosnia, two Serbian ex-soldiers come face to face with a pregnant rape victim. And in Northern Ireland, two mothers, both of whom have lost their sons, vehemently argue about where responsibility lies for their deaths.Flexible, 1-102016Radio play, international, racism, violence, death
Link to Radio Episode: https://archive.org/details/DebbieTuckerGreenLament
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Dramaa profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (– noun)debbie tucker greenBritishdebbie tucker green's play a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (– noun) portrays a series of couples in their attempts to communicate. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, on 28 February 2017. The play is structured in three parts. In Part One, a woman (A) and a man (B), both of them black, pick over the intimate details of their marriage. In Part Two, a woman (black or Asian) angrily confronts her black partner, simply identified as Man. In Part Three, the male character from the previous section reappears, some years older, now besotted with a young woman who is the daughter of the pair from the first section.3m, 3f2017relationship drama, dark love story, communication
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/a-profoundly-affectionate-passionate-devotion-to-someone-noun-iid-182993
90
Dramaear for eyedebbie tucker greenBritishdebbie tucker green's play ear for eye is a dissection of racial injustice, exploring experiences of oppression and protest, and asking whether progress has really been made. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, London, on Thursday 25 October 2018. The play is in three distinct parts. Part One comprises a series of encounters between both African Americans and Black British people, exposing generational and political divides over the response to oppression. In Part Two, a Caucasian academic in his fifties and an African American pupil in her twenties argue over the impulses behind a mass shooting. Part Three comprises filmed testimony detailing US segregation laws and British-Jamaican slave codes, spoken by Caucasian performers. Finally, in a brief Epilogue, some characters previously encountered return to offer a direct provocation.8m, 8f2018experimental, current events, raising children, police brutality, activism, police abuse, protest generational divides, mass shootings, Jim Crow laws, slave codes
https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/ear-for-eye-iid-187752 Directly from the producing company, available until 9/3/2020: https://royalcourttheatre.com/earforeyeplaytext/
91
Short Plays48 Hours in Harlem: 10-min Plays Vol. 2Dennis A. Allen II, Shaun Neblett, Jocelyn Bioh, Nambi E. Kelley, Nathan Youngerberg, Myla Francene Churchill-Barrett, Jesse Cameron Alick, Lucy Judith Adong, J. Holthem, Pia Wilson, James Scruggs, Nikkole Salter AmericanA groundbreaking anthology of inspired ten-minute plays by 12 new and emerging black playwrights, presented by the OBIE Award Winning Harlem9, Inc., presenters of the annual "48Hours in…™ Harlem" festival.Flexible/Ensemble2017N/A
https://www.amazon.com/10-Minute-Plays-Anthology-Presented-Harlem9/dp/1548746657/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/130-7322944-6307738?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1548746657&pd_rd_r=4ba6a700-1953-4d93-a6c3-a33e19451238&pd_rd_w=vqt1h&pd_rd_wg=9jKoj&pf_rd_p=4e3f7fc3-00c8-46a6-a4db-8457e6319578&pf_rd_r=9NG3KQWH4YKKTD6X5CM6&psc=1&refRID=9NG3KQWH4YKKTD6X5CM6
92
SoloTar BabyDesiree BurchAmerican (living in London)Tar Baby is a retelling of America’s infamous black & white love affair, from shotgun wedding to “post-racial” open relationship. Co-written with playwright Dan Kitrosser and performed by Desiree, this solo and interactive performance piece tackles America’s black and white love affair and the story of race. Games, amusements, audience participation, and cultural atrocities meet in this interactive carnival of Race & Capitalism—where no one’s a winner, but everyone’s still playing!solo2015interracial relationships, racial relations, family, identity, mixed-race, racism, stereotypes, interactive, capitalism
https://www.desireeburch.com/tar-baby
93
Solo52 Man Pick-UpDesiree BurchAmerican (living in London)a salacious evening of storytelling about sex and self-discovery. With hilarious stand-up, elegant storytelling and a dose of risk-taking and randomness, Desiree and the audience ‘go fish’ through these 52 hilariously true and unadulterated stories. Each card is a story of an encounter, a mystery of intimacy and a chance to win, lose or draw. Each deal is an encounter with the audience, a dance of taboo and human connection. Shuffling through feats of risk-taking and randomness, Desiree exposes what we reveal when we take off our clothes. Like a jazz master, Desiree mixes lush language, bold stage presence and epic perspective as she goes from virgin to veteran in the city that never sleeps… with the same person twice.solo2009sex, intimacy, interactive, feminism, stand-up
https://www.desireeburch.com/52-man-pickup
94
SoloDesiree's Coming EarlyDesiree BurchAmerican (living in London)Comedian and storyteller Desiree Burch (Netflix, Live at the Apollo, Radio 4) was born late, bloomed late, and generally has difficulty with the present moment. At a moment in recent history where decades of societal progress swung right back around to authoritarianism and disintegration, Desiree embarks on a spiritual journey of mythically ridiculous proportions into the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, to figure out how she, and all of us, have gotten here, and maybe, possibly, hopefully fix the suckiness for us all. solo2019magic, wild west, spiritual, journey, politics
https://www.desireeburch.com/desirees-coming-early
95
DramaDetroit '67Dominique MorisseauAmericanIn 1967 Detroit, Motown music is getting the party started, and Chelle and her brother Lank are making ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours joint. But when a mysterious woman finds her way into their lives, the siblings clash over much more than the family business. As their pent-up feelings erupt, so does their city, and they find themselves caught in the middle of the '67 riots.3f, 2m2013historical fiction, race riots, race relations, parenting/family, music, violence, memory, politics, death
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/12567/detroit-67
96
Comedy/ DramaMud RowDominique MorisseauAmericanTwo generations of sisters navigate class, race, love, and family on “Mud Row,” an area in the East End of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Elsie hopes to move up in the world by marrying into “the talented tenth,” while her sister Frances joins the fight for Civil Rights. Decades later, estranged sisters Regine and Toshi are forced to reckon with their shared heritage, and each other, when Regine inherits granny Elsie’s house. 4f, 2 m2019Legacy, Memory, Parenting/Family, Economic/Financial Interest
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/92313/mud-row
97
DramaPipelineDominique MorisseauAmericanNya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away?3f, 3m2017education, school-to-prison pipeline, realism, contemporary, economic/financial interest, parenting/family
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/62834/pipeline
98
DramaSkeleton CrewDominique MorisseauAmericanThe third play in Dominique Morisseau’s cycle of plays called The Detroit Projects, Morisseau’s undertaking to examine the socio political history of Detroit, Skeleton Crew explores the effects that the Great Recession had on the people of Detroit. Skeleton Crew focuses on three workers, Faye, Shanita, and Dez, and their fear of being laid off when there are rumors of their auto-plant closing. Faye, who is coming up on 30 years at the plant, has to decide where she will live and how, Shanita has a baby on the way and nobody to help her support it, and Dez must figure out how to follow through with his ambitious dreams. Reggie, the manager of the plant, has to support himself and his family while simultaneously trying to soften the blow for his workers. The factory’s downfall doesn't only affect the futures of these workers we get to know and love, but we see how it brings people closer or begins to tear them apart. The desperate decisions that they have to make gives audiences a first hand view of how the economy affects a hardworking, blue collar community such as the auto-plant workers of Detroit. The experiences of the characters in Skeleton Crew can be applied to many industry towns in America that struggled through the Great Recession of the 2000s.2f, 2m2016contemporary, Great Recession, economic/financial interest, worker's rights, class, industrialism, family
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/60200/skeleton-crew
99
DramaSunset BabyDominique MorisseauAmericanKenyatta Shakur is alone. His wife has died, and this former Black Revolutionary and political prisoner is desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Nina. If Kenyatta truly wants to reconcile his past, he must first conquer his most challenging revolution of all – fatherhood. Sunset Baby is an energized, vibrant, and witty look at the point where the personal and political collide. One of the most exciting and distinctive voices in America1f, 2m2012politics, activism, death, parenting/family, contemporary
https://www.concordtheatricals.com/s/17373/sunset-baby
100
MusicalAIN'T TOO PROUD—THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONSDominique MorisseauAmericanThis musical follows The Temptations' extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Five guys. One dream. And a sound that would make music history. With their signature dance moves and unmistakable harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one. The rest is history — how they met, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the United States fell into civil unrest.6m, Ensemble2017biography, nonfiction, musical, music, dance, jukebox musical
https://www.ainttooproudmusical.com/