‘Slave Play’ Sets Broadway Return Despite Tony Awards Snub

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“Slave Play,” Jeremy O. Harris’ searing look at racism and sexuality, will return to Broadway this fall.

The show, which was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, a record for a non-musical, was completely shut out at Sunday’s ceremony. The snub was widely decried on social media and was a surprise given that many pundits thought that “Slave Play” would edge out the eventual winner “The Inheritance” in the best play race.

“‘Slave Play’s return engagement 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,” Harris said in a statement. “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.”

The return engagement of Slave Play, directed by Tony Award nominee Robert O’Hara, will begin performances Tuesday, November 23. It will open December 2 for a strictly limited eight-week engagement through January 23, 2022.

When “Slave Play” returns it will be part of a historic season for Black artists. A record seven plays by Black writers will debut on Broadway this fall, including works by Lynn Nottage (“Clyde’s”), Dominique Morisseau (“Skeleton Crew”), and Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu (“Pass Over”). But the audience for theater remains largely affluent and white. “Slave Play” is taking steps to diversify that consumer base. For the run at the August Wilson Theatre, 10,400 tickets will be made available for just $39 and the production will continue its “Black Out” performances, which makes tickets available to private, invitation-only performances to an all-Black-identifying audience so they can experience and discuss the play.

The cast for the production’s return engagement will feature Tony Award nominee Ato Blankson-Wood, Tony Award nominee Chalia La Tour, Irene Sofia Lucio, Tony Award nominee Annie McNamara, and Paul Alexander Nolan, all of whom starred in both the Broadway and Off-Broadway run. Joining the ensemble will be Antoinette Crowe-Legacy who will play Kaneisha, a role Harris wrote for the actress when he was a student at Yale School of Drama and which she originated in “Slave Play’s” first developmental production in 2017 as part of Yale’s Langston Hughes Festival.

Additional casting for Slave Play at the August Wilson Theatre will be announced shortly.

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