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Tori Sampson’s If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka Announces Cast

Drew Shade



The world premiere of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a MuhFucka written by Tori Sampson, who is making her New York City professional debut, and directed by Leah C. Gardiner has found its Off-Broadway cast.

Tori Sampson photo by Zack DeZon

The all-Black cast, choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, begins performances February 15 and will run for a limited engagement until March 31, 2019, in the Mainstage Theater at Playwrights Horizons (416 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036)

The cast features:

Rotimi Agbabiaka (Regional: Bootycandy; Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2, and 3) as Chorus,

Maechi Aharanwa (Off-Broadway: The Winter’s Tale, An Octoroon) as Ma,

Jason Bowen (Broadway: The Play That Goes Wrong. Off-Broadway: My Mañana Comes) as Dad,

Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Regional: Seven Guitars, The Model American) as Massassi,

Ian Duff (Off-Broadway: Dutch Masters) as Kasim,

Nike Uche Kadri (Off-Broadway: School Girls…, The Death of the Last BlackMan ) as Akim,

Mirirai Sithole (Off-Broadway: School Girls…, The Homecoming Queen) as Adama, and

Phumzile Sitole (TV: Orange Is the New Black, Elementary, The Good Fight ) as Kaya.

Sampson says “I wanted to use a folktale in a contemporary way to interrogate why, for instance, Viola Davis isn’t ‘classically beautiful’ and why the country had such a hard time aesthetically with Michelle Obama. The first time I saw her I was awestruck; this was a beautiful black woman whose hair is like mine; her skin is like mine; and to see the attributes of her that I really admired, to see the media tear them down really troubles me. I wanted to examine the impact of colonization on Black beauty, and to ask what is Black beauty, in a way that speaks specifically to Black women.”

The creative team includes Louisa Thompson (Scenic Designer), Dede M. Ayite (Costume Designer), Matt Frey (Lighting Designer), and Ian Scot (Original Music and Sound Designer), Alyssa K. Howard (Production Stage Manager), and Noah Silva (Assistant Stage Manager).


“Black is beauty, Black is me, Black is what I want to be.” A line from a poem that Brittney, my elder sister, wrote in elementary school. My mother was so proud she insisted that all her daughters recite the phrase as we left home and entered the world.

– Tori Sampson from Playwright’s Perspective: If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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Cast List

35th Powerhouse Season: Casting Announced for Musical Workshop Goddess & More!

Broadway Black



Cast of Goddess for 35th Powerhouse Theater Season

Vassar & New York Stage and Film have announced additional casting for the 35th Powerhouse Season in Poughkeepsie, NY, which continues through SundayJuly 28. Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse collaboration continues to be the launching pad for some of the most groundbreaking new works for the American theater. Dozens of celebrated projects trace their roots to Powerhouse and New York Stage and Film, including Hadestown, currently on Broadway; the Lynn Nottage musical The Secret Life of Bees off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company, & Colman Domingo’s Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole at the Geffen Playhouse.

Musical Workshop – Goddess

Goddess, the third musical workshop presentation of the 2019 Powerhouse season (July 26-28), conceived by Saheem Ali, music and lyrics by Michael Thurber, book by Jocelyn Bioh, additional lyrics by Mkhululi Z. Mabija, and directed by Saheem Ali; will feature Phoenix Best (Dear Evan Hansen), Rodrick Covington (Once On This Island), Amber Iman (Shuffle Along…, Soul Doctor), Janelle McDermoth (A Bronx Tale), Drama Desk Award winner Abena Mensah-Bonsu (School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play), Adesola Osakalumi (Fela!), Lance Roberts (My Fair Lady, “Yo Gabba Gabba!”), Avery Smith (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), and Antoine L. Smith (CarouselMiss Saigon).

A young man returns home to the African coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya, to marry his betrothed and step into his family’s political dynasty. But when he visits Moto Moto – a steamy afro-jazz club and the stomping ground of his youth – he finds himself drawn to a beautiful, mysterious new singer. Soon, he must decide whether to fulfill the legacy of his lineage, or give in to his love of music and a newfound attraction.  A story of love, destiny, the spirit world and the power of passion, inspired by the ancient myth of Marimba, the goddess of music.

July 26th at 8pm
July 27th at 8pm
July 28th at 2pm
July 28th at 7pm

Play Workshop – The Best We Could

The Best We Could (a family tragedy), the second ‘Inside Look’ Play Workshop of the season (July 25-27), by Emily Feldman and directed by Daniel Aukin, will feature Drama Desk Award winner Eboni Booth(Dance Nation), Drama Desk Award nominee Kristin Griffith (The Fatal Weakness), Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Much Ado About Nothing), Drama Desk Award nominee Lisa Joyce (“Insecure,” The Ugly One), and Tony Award winner Frank Wood (NetworkThe Iceman Cometh).

A daughter’s road trip with her father becomes a theatrical journey across more than just state lines. This funny, wise, and heartbreaking debut from an exciting new writer will be brought to vibrant life by director Daniel Aukin.

July 25th at 8pm
July 26th at 8pm
July 27th at 2pm


July Reading – The Excavation of Mary Anning


The Excavation of Mary Anning, the seventh reading of the season (July 21 at 4pm), by Ian August and directed by Sammi Cannold, will feature Sami Bray (1984School of Rock), Alejandra Escalante (Tee’d Off), Vanessa Kai (credits), Amy Jo Jackson (Theresa & Allison), Nike Kadri (credits), and Patrena Murray (Gloria: A Life).

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Cast List

Shoshana Bean Will Return To Broadway In Waitress

Drew Shade



Now, this may seem off-kilter but trust me, it’s not. The producers of Broadway musical Waitress have announced today that Shoshana Bean will take over the role of Jenna on March 18 and will be in the show through May 12, 2019.

Shoshana Bean is a treasure. Her vocal ability and overall presence is a gift that keeps on giving.  She was last seen in concert with Cynthia Erivo at The Apollo Theatre and also slaying all the tracks with Mykal Kilgore on the new Songs for a New World remake album. Her latest album Spectrum landed her at #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts & she made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Hairspray and starred as the first replacement for Elphaba in Wicked. Most recently in the theatre, she appeared as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and as Cee-Cee Bloom in the new musical adaptation of Beaches.

Shoshana Bean said, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the New York stage in such a special role and show! To get to tell this beautiful woman’s story and sing this extraordinary score is an honor.”

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life such as “ The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Betrayed By My Eggs Pie.” When a baking contest in a nearby county — and a satisfying run-in with someone new — show Jenna a chance at a fresh start, she must find the courage to seize it. Change is on the menu, as long as Jenna can write her own perfectly personal recipe for happiness. 

Shoshana will take over the role of Jenna from Stephanie Torns and joins Charity Angél Dawson as Becky & Lenne Klingaman as Dawn. Find out more at waitressthemusical

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