Breaking: Roundabout Postpones CAROLINE, OR CHANGE & More Until Spring 2021; TROUBLE IN MIND Added to Line-Up
Roundabout Theatre Company just announced that the current theatrical season will resume in Spring 2021, and has added the Broadway debut of Alice Childress's Trouble in Mind, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, to its roster of upcoming shows. Childress was a Founding Member of the American Negro Theatre and the first African-American woman to be produced professionally in New York (Gold Through The Trees in 1952); Randolph-Wright is a celebrated director and writer whose play Blue had an acclaimed run at Roundabout in 2001. Trouble in Mind will premiere on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre in Winter 2021/22.
"With the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic and with concern for our artists, staff, and audiences, we have determined that we will not be able to reopen our theaters this fall," said Roundabout Artistic Director/CEO Todd Haimes. "While this decision brings tremendous financial challenges-and is genuinely heartbreaking-our artistic team is continuing to build and evolve our work for the future. I'm pleased to add Alice Childress to the lineup of great writers that Roundabout celebrates and to give this play its overdue Broadway premiere, directed by our Board member and friend Charles Randolph-Wright."
Following an experienced Black stage actress through rehearsals of a major Broadway production, Childress's wry and moving look at racism, identity, and ego in the world of New York theatre opened to acclaim off- Broadway in 1955. At the forefront of both the Civil Rights and feminist movements, the prescient Trouble in Mind was announced to move to Broadway in 1957...in a production that never came to be.
Roundabout's previously scheduled Spring 2020 productions sidelined by COVID-19, will return in 2021.
In Spring 2021, Caroline, Or Change, by Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner, starring Sharon D Clarke, will open on Broadway at Studio 54, directed by Michael Longhurst. ...what the end will be, by Jiréh Breon Holder, will open at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, directed by Margot Bordelon. Exception to the Rule, by Dave Harris, will also open at the Steinberg Center, directed by Miranda Haymon.
1776 will open as planned in Spring 2021 at the American Airlines Theatre, directed by Diane Paulus. All additional details including dates and casting for these productions will be announced in Fall 2020. BIOGRAPHIES FOR TROUBLE IN MIND:
Alice Childress (Playwright). Born in 1916 and raised during the Harlem Renaissance under the watchful eye of her beloved maternal grandmother, Alice Childress grew up to become first an actress and then a playwright and novelist. A founding member of the American Negro Theatre, she wrote her first play, Florence, in 1949. The script was written in one night on a dare from close friend and actor Sidney Poitier, who had told Alice that he didn't think a great play could be written overnight. She proved him wrong, and the play was produced Off- Broadway in 1950. Childress became in 1952 the first African-American woman to see her play (Gold Through The Trees) professionally produced in New York. In 1955, Childress' play Trouble in Mind was a critical and popular success from the beginning of its run Off-Broadway at the Greenwich Mews Theatre, and it immediately drew interest from producers for a Broadway transfer. In an ironic twist echoing the tribulations of the characters in the play itself, the producers wanted changes to the script to make it more palatable to a commercial audience. Childress refused to compromise her artistic vision, and the play never opened on Broadway, ending her chances of being the first African-American woman playwright to have a work on Broadway. Trouble in Mind received a well-reviewed Off-Broadway revival in 1998 by the Negro Ensemble Company and has since been produced by Yale Repertory Theatre, Centerstage, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and Arena Stage. Childress is perhaps best-known today for A Hero Ain't Nothin' But A Sandwich, her 1973 novel about a 13-year-old black boy addicted to heroin, which was subsequently made into a movie in 1978. Other plays written by Childress include Just A Little Simple (1950), Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White (1966) and Gullah (1984). Alice Childress died in New York in 1994. Throughout her career, she examined the true meaning of being black, and especially of being black and female. As Childress herself once said, "I concentrate on portraying have-nots in a have society."
Charles Randolph-Wright (Director) has built a dynamic and diversified career in directing, writing, and producing for theatre, television, and film. He directed the smash hit Motown The Musical (Broadway, National Tour, and London), the Broadway bound musical Born For This (which he co-wrote with gospel icon BeBe Winans), the Pulitzer prize winning play Ruined and the musical Sophisticated Ladies (starring Maurice Hines), at Arena Stage, the 75th anniversary tour of the opera Porgy and Bess, Brian Stokes Mitchell in Love/Life at Lincoln Center, Guys and Dolls (the 50th anniversary national tour), They're Playing Our Song (in Portuguese in Brasil), Cabaret Verboten at the Mark Taper Forum (with Bebe Neuwirth and Roger Rees), and The Diva Is Dismissed (starring Jenifer Lewis) at The Public Theater. Charles wrote the play Blue, starring Phylicia Rashad, which broke box office records at Arena Stage (where Charles is an inaugural resident playwright), and has had productions throughout the United States, including the Roundabout Theatre and The Pasadena Playhouse (which starred Ms. Rashad, Diahann Carroll, and Clifton Davis). Charles also wrote Cuttin' Up (based upon the book by Craig Marberry), The Night is a Child (starring JoBeth Williams), Love in Afghanistan, and co-wrote the Tony nominated Just Between Friends starring Bea Arthur. Television credits include directing the series Greenleaf, Katy Keene, Step Up Highwater, Lincoln Heights, SouthoOf Nowhere, and Live At Lincoln Center. He directed the award-winning film Preaching To The Choir, the European Freestyle campaign for Nike, and produced and wrote the series Linc's. Charles is the Executive Producer of the film Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back which recently won the Grand Jury Prize at the NY Doc Film Festival. www.Randolph-Wright.com
The effects of the theatre shutdown have been staggering to Roundabout and the hundreds of actors, students, writers, technicians, designers, directors, and staff members who rely on them; Thus, The Road Back to Roundabout Fund has been launched to support artists and staff, continue to provide world-class education programs to thousands of NYC students, teachers, and community members, and prepare for theatres to reopen, while enduring many more months without ticket sales.
Learn more at www.roundabouttheatre.org/roadback
Photo Credit; Jeremy Dabiel
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