Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Photo Flash: SLAVE PLAY Creator Jeremy O. Harris Hosts 'Black Out'

Yesterday evening in New York City, Broadway's Slave Play and its creator, playwright Jeremy O. Harris hosted BLACK OUT during the show's previews. BLACK OUT dedicated the 804 seats of 45th Street's Golden Theatre to an audience of black identified artists, writers, activists, creatives, and students in celebration of the critically-acclaimed, Robert O'Hara directed play and in recognition of Broadway's rich, diverse, and fraught history with black work. The event was followed by a Talk Forward moderated by VULTURE Staff Writer Hunter Harris and Author Casey Gerald, during which playwright Jeremy O. Harris discussed the work, buzz, and questions around this play - as well as Broadway's history of work created by black artists.

The production aimed to create an environment through which a black audience can experience and discuss the play. Since beginning previews on September 10th, guests such as Rihanna, Tessa Thompson, Roxane Gay, and Zendaya have all burst through the doors of the Golden Theatre to experience what has been noted as "the single most daring thing I've seen in theater in a long time" (as per, Wesley Morris, The New York Times). During BLACK OUT in specific, notables such as Jesse Williams, Kelela, Joy Bryant, Keke Palmer, Kelsey Lu, Tonya Pinkins, Paloma Elsesser and Norm Lewis all showed in attendance to support the monumental Broadway debut. Organizations such as the Alvin Ailey School of Dance, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, NYU's Organization of Black Women, Pace University's Black Student Union and more, were also extended a handful of tickets for their black identifying students and staff.


The impetus for the evening was inspired by playwright, Jeremy O. Harris himself, who wrote:


"This May, in conversation with the musician Kelela, I was challenged to curate one performance of Slave Play for a fully black audience. At the time, not knowing when or where I would next see a performance of the play I quickly accepted. When I was told the play would move to Broadway this season this challenge felt even more imperative. In my short time working in literary theatre it has felt exceedingly rare to be in any theatrical space like the ones I grew up around in Virginia that felt free of the white gaze. This night gets to be a chance to build that space myself, in the hopes that once the space is built more like it will appear like many of the affinity theatres that lived in and around 42nd street in the wake of the black arts movement like the Negro Ensemble Company."


In conjunction with BLACK OUT, Jeremy O. Harris teases a soft launch of his latest brainchild - a website titled Black Work Broadway. Birthed from Jeremy's curiosity and frustration, Black Work Broadway is a site-in-progress that will act as an exhaustive record of the performed scripts written and conceived by black artists that have been presented at the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. The repository will represent works ranging from the inception of the 'Broadway Theater,' dating back as far as the late 19th century to the present. The list and website will be developed through Slave Play's opening night, October 6th. You can follow the network on Instagram via @BlackWorkBroadway.

Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid

Slave Play
Jeremy O. Harris, Hunter Harris and Casey Gerald

Slave Play
Black Out

Slave Play
Jeremy O. Harris and Kelela

Slave Play
Ato Blankson-Wood and Deray McKessen

Slave Play
Jeremy O. Harris, Kelsey Lu and Tyler Mitchell

Slave Play
Jeremy O. Harris, Jesse Williams and Taylour Paige

Slave Play
Jeremy O. Harris, Keke Palmer and Joaquina Kalukango



Related Stories
SLAVE PLAY Will Be Recorded Tonight By Lincoln Center for the Theatre on Film and Tape Arc Photo
Slave Play, written by Jeremy O. Harris and directed by Robert O'Hara, will be recorded tonight for the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, part of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, at Lincoln Center.

BWW Flashback: SLAVE PLAY Concludes Broadway Run Today Photo
Jeremy O. Harris's Slave Play, directed by Robert O'Hara, will conclude its Broadway run at the John Golden Theatre today, January 19. The show played 29 previews and 121 regular performances.

Photo Flash: Jeremy O. Harris Visits National Black Theatre For Town Hall Convening on SLA Photo
National Black Theatre (NBT) hosted a special evening of community gathering on Slave Play on Monday as it convened a town hall to discuss the critically acclaimed Broadway phenomenon by playwright Jeremy O. Harris. The intimate event, which included nationally recognized notables, was designed to create an opportunity for New Yorkers who had seen the controversial show to discuss the play and its themes.

SLAVE PLAY Launches New Ticket Gifting Service Photo
An offhand tweet from Jeremy O. Harris turned into an organic movement during the NYTW run of SLAVE PLAY. It started with his artist friends and active community members writing him to say they couldn't afford the ticket prices for his show. He responded by putting out an appeal to his 'rich friends' on social media, asking them to go to the box office, buy tickets to SLAVE PLAY, and leave them there for others to use.


More Hot Stories For You


Photos: First Look at Ashley Blanchet, Graham Rowat, Gavin Lee, and More in Paper Mill's THE SOUND OF MUSICPhotos: First Look at Ashley Blanchet, Graham Rowat, Gavin Lee, and More in Paper Mill's THE SOUND OF MUSIC
December 3, 2022

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director; Michael Stotts- Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, has released production photos for The Sound of Music. 

KPOP Producers Issue Letter in Response to New York Times ReviewKPOP Producers Issue Letter in Response to New York Times Review
December 3, 2022

In response to Jesse Green's review of KPOP from the New York Times, the producers of KPOP have issued a response letter, requesting that Green 'issue an apology to the cast and creators of [KPOP] for the insensitive and, frankly, offensive review.'

Suzan-Lori Parks' PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR to Return to The Public in April 2023Suzan-Lori Parks' PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR to Return to The Public in April 2023
December 2, 2022

After a truncated run as a result of several COVID-19 cases in the company, Suzan-Lori Parks’ theatrical concert PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR will be returning for an engagement in The Public Theater's Joe’s Pub in April 2023.

Broadway Actor Quentin Oliver Lee Passes Away at 34Broadway Actor Quentin Oliver Lee Passes Away at 34
December 2, 2022

Broadway actor Quentin Oliver Lee, who most recently starred Off-Broadway in Heather Christian's Oratorio For Living Things, has passed away at age 34 from colon cancer. 

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Faces New Legal TroublesTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Faces New Legal Troubles
December 2, 2022

In 2019 the producers of the Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird sought to prevent small theaters around the country from staging an earlier dramatization of the novel. Now, the publisher of the earlier adaptation of the novel is seeking the stop the Broadway version of To Kill a Mockingbird from being staged at a variety of venues.