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Events and Happenings

Raisin The Musical Opens First NYC Production After 35 Years

Jerrica White



Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun debuted on Broadway in 1959 and later received two staged revivals in 2004 and 2014. Raisin, the musical adaptation of the play, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1974, but ask yourself the last time you’ve seen it on stage in NYC.

The answer: 35 years ago (35!?!?!).

Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) proudly presents a strictly limited engagement this month, and we couldn’t be more excited to see the stirring story of a Black family’s struggle, in the face of change, back on stage.

With a book by Robert Nemiroff and Charlotte Zaltzberg, Raisin tells the story of Walter Lee Younger and his mother, Lena, as they argue over the spending of insurance money. He wants to start a business with friends, while she eagerly hopes to move the family out of the South Side and into Clybourne Park, a middle-class white neighborhood. Pulsing with the beat of Judd

Pulsing with the beat of Judd Woldin’s music and lyrics penned by Robert Brittan, Raisin shows two sides of a coin on the idea of the “American Dream” in the context of the segregated 1950s Chicago.

Under the direction of APAC’s Artistic Director, Dev Bondarin, the cast includes: Maia Bedford, Aaron Casey*, Shabazz Green*, Chris Gwynn*, Marcie Henderson*, Greg Horton*, Brandi Knox*, Billy Lowrimore, Ebony Marshall-Oliver*, Sarita Amani Nash, Warren Nolan, Jr.*, Chinua B. Payne, Tony Perry*, Joi Danielle Price*, Vanessa Robinson, Alicia Thomas, Cartreze Tucker.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and NYSCA, with special thanks to Council Member Costa Constantinides. This program has been proudly supported by a grant from Investors Foundation. APAC presents Raisin by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

Raisin runs from May 4 through May 27, at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent Street at 30th Road, Astoria, Queens. Performances take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, with $12 tickets for students and seniors.

But for our dedicated Broadway Black followers:

APAC is so excited to see you at the show that they’re teaming up with Broadway Black to offer readers a special discount of $3 off adult tickets — just enter code BWAYBLACK at checkout to get your discount!

Purchase tickets and learn more information at APAC.

(* denotes member of the Actor’s Equity Association)

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Events and Happenings

Erika Dickerson-Despenza Addresses Flint Water Crisis with Cullud Wattah

Drew Shade



Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza

There is limited seating left for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play CULLUD WATTAH at The Public Theater. Opening today, Thursday, March 7th and running until Sunday, March 10th in the Public Studio is about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

“It’s been 936 days since Marion’s family has had clean water. When local activists file a class action lawsuit against the city, Marion—a third-generation employee at General Motors—must decide how best to support her two daughters, sister, and mother while lead seeps into the community, their home, and their bodies. As corrosive memories and secrets rise among them, the family wonders if they’ll ever be able to filter out the truth.”

2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist and poet-playwright makes her Public Theater debut with CULLUD WATTAH directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones; the cast includes Deonna Bouye (Marion), Alana Raquel Bowers (Reesee), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Big Ma), Nikiya Mathis (Ainee), and Kara Young (Plum).

The creative team includes Production Stage Manager Gregory Fletcher, Stage Manager Priscilla Villanueva, and Movement Director Adesola Osakalumi. Along with scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, Costume Design by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, and sound design by Megan Culley

We believe in this work so much we’re giving away 4 tickets to the performances on March 10th. 2 tickets to the matinee and two the evening performance thanks to our founder Drew Shade and actress/playwright Jocelyn Bioh. Go to our Instagram to find out how!

Also, find out more about how you can help the Flint Water Crisis and support this show HERE.

Listen to Erika talk about her work on an episode of Off Book Podcast below

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Events and Happenings

Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson Begins Off-Broadway

Broadway Black



Performances begin today, Tuesday February 26th, for the New York premiere of  Surely Goodness and Mercy, presented by Keen Company. A story about an exceptional boy living a troubled life in Newark, NJ who does a good deed for an often unnoticed person.   Sarita Covington, Jay Mazyck, Brenda Pressley, Courtney Thomas, and Cezar Williams star under Jessi D. Hill’s direction.

Set in an under-funded public school in Newark, Surely Goodness and Mercy by rising playwright Chisa Hutchinson, tells the story of a bible-toting boy with a photographic memory who befriends the cantankerous old lunch lady. Against all odds, Tino and Bernadette help each other through the mess of growing up and growing old.  

Surely Goodness and Mercy has spent the last year charming audiences across the country: “Notably absent from Hutchinson’s frank and sobering story: cynicism” – Chicago Reader; “(Surely Goodness and Mercy has) a soul-stirring quality, touching audiences with its sincerity” – Daily Utah Chronicle; “it’s impossible not to like it” – The Salt Lake Tribune. Now, Keen is honored to bring this big-hearted new play to New York for the first time.

Performances for this limited Off-Broadway engagement of Surely Goodness and Mercy will continue through Saturday, April 13th only, with opening night set for Wednesday, March 13th.

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