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amBroadway | New Broadway season highlights Black playwrights

A Scene From "Chicken & Biscuits" at Queens Theatre
Photo: Dominick Totino

The forthcoming Broadway season will be notable for the relaunch of numerous long-running hits and shows that were on the verge of opening at the time of the shutdown, as well as a splashy and starry revival of “The Music Man.” At the same time, the upcoming season will feature seven dramas on Broadway by Black playwrights – including four by Black women. 

“Pass Over” – Inspired by Exodus and “Waiting for Godot,” Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s 85-minute drama (which previously played Off-Broadway and Chicago, where it was filmed by Spike Lee) depicts two men on a city street corner who pass the time as they wait for change to arrive. Begins previews at the August Wilson Theatre on Aug. 4, passoverbroadway.com. 

“Lackawanna Blues” – In this OBIE-winning one-man show, which was originally produced by the Public Theater and then adapted into an HBO film, Ruben Santiago-Hudson explores his upbringing in Lackawanna, New York and his nanny’s role as a surrogate mother. Begins previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Sept. 14, manhattantheatreclub.com. 

“Chicken and Biscuits” – Norm Lewis and Michael Urie co-star in a new feel-good comedy by Douglas Lyons (whose credits as an actor include “The Book of Mormon” and “Beautiful”) in which a family secret disrupts a funeral. It premiered at the Queens Theatre right before the shutdown. Begins previews on Sept. 23 at Circle in the Square, chickenandbiscuitsbway.com. 

“Thoughts of a Colored Man” – Poet and playwright Keenan Scott II examines seven Black men on a single day in Brooklyn. Begins previews at the Golden Theatre on Oct. 1, thoughtsofacoloredman.com.

“Trouble in Mind” – The Roundabout Theatre Company will present the first Broadway production of Alice Childress’s 1955 backstage drama about racism in the professional theater, with Tony winner LaChanze leading the cast. Begins previews at the American Airlines Theatre on Oct. 29, roundabouttheatre.org. 

“Clyde’s” – In her new play, two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage (“Sweat,” “Ruined”) depicts the formerly incarcerated kitchen staff of a truck stop sandwich stop. Leading the cast is Uzo Aduba (“In Treatment,” “Orange is the New Black”). Begins previews at the Hayes Theater on Nov. 3, 2st.com. 

“Skeleton Crew” – Part of Dominique Morisseau’s (“Ain’t Too Proud,” “Pipeline”) trilogy of plays set in Detroit, “Skeleton Crew” (which was produced Off-Broadway in 2016) focuses on the workers of an auto plant at the beginning of the Great Recession. Begins previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Dec. 21, manhattantheatreclub.com.

In Other Theater News…

“Pass Over” will require theatergoers to provide proof of vaccination or negative testing in order to attend the show in August…Over in London, Andrew Lloyd Webber, in a raging fit over the government’s strict self-isolation requirements following potential COVID exposure, shut down his new musical “Cinderella” hours merely prior to opening night…Opening night of the Shakespeare in the Park production of “Merry Wives” has been postponed by two weeks to Aug. 9 due to an onstage injury sustained by Jacob Ming-Trent (who plays Falstaff)…In an attempt to increase diversity among its members, Actors’ Equity Association is dramatically easing the requirements for actors and stage managers to join the union.

 

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