‘Slave Play’ Sets Broadway Return Despite Tony Award Shut-Out

·3 min read

Slave Play, the incendiary Jeremy O. Harris play that went rejected by Tony Award voters Sunday night two years after dazzling critics and helping start theater’s conversation about race, will return to Broadway for a limited engagement this fall.

Harris made the surprise announcement at a post-Tony party for his play last night.

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Slave Play was nominated for 12 Tonys – the most nominations ever for a single play – but won zero, losing the Best Play award to The Inheritance. All five of Slave Play’s acting nominees lost to cast members of other shows.

Perhaps expecting a better Tony showing, Harris and his producers held off on announcing the return engagement until awards night. Slave Play will begin performances Tuesday, Nov. 23, at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre, with an official opening night of Thursday, Dec. 2. The strictly limited eight-week engagement will run through Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022.

Returning with the show will be director Robert O’Hara and much of the original cast, including Tony Award nominees Ato Blankson-Wood, Chalia La Tour, and Annie McNamara, along with Irene Sofia Lucio, and Paul Alexander Nolan. Taking the role of Kaneisha, which had been played on Broadway by Tony nominee Joaquina Kalukango, will be Antoinette Crowe-Legacy. Harris wrote for the role for Crowe-Legacy actress when he was a student at Yale School of Drama – the actress originated the role in Slave Play’s first developmental production in 2017 as part of Yale’s Langston Hughes Festival.

Additional casting for the limited engagement will be announced shortly.

Slay Play’s return engagement,” Harris said in a statement, “marks for me a chance for New York and the world to re-meet a play that many met at New York Theatre Workshop and Broadway in 2018 and 2019, and that thousands of others met in its published edition in a year when theaters around the world were dark. To be doing it in 2021 with the Kaneisha who originated the role at Yale and members of the original cast fills me with the same joy I had I had watching the play for the very first time in a classroom five years ago.”

Producer Greg Nobile said in a statement, “Slave Play was a precursor to the historic number of plays on Broadway this fall written by Black artists and proudly joins them this November. I remind myself that Jeremy’s words presaged the tough and necessary conversations the American theater is having right now. We invite audiences to the August Wilson to experience this masterpiece. Slave Play challenges us in ways few other works do. It will be a work talked about and studied for generations. And that is the true measure of a great play.”

In what producers described as the production’s “guiding principle of ‘radical accessibility,'” the play will offer 10,400 tickets per week at a cost of just $39.

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