Lynn Nottage's CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY to be Presented at Theatre Row in February

This revival is the first New York production since the play’s 1995 premiere.

By: Jan. 24, 2023
Lynn Nottage's CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY to be Presented at Theatre Row in February
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Keen Company will continue its 23rd season with Crumbs from the Table of Joy by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage. Directed by Colette Robert, this revival is the first New York production since the play's 1995 premiere, which marked Nottage's professional debut. Crumbs from the Table of Joy is scheduled to run February 21 - April 1, 2023, with an opening set for Tuesday, March 7, at Theatre Row in Theatre Five, located at 410 W 42nd St in Manhattan. Tickets are currently on sale at

Set against the social politics of the 1950s, this charming, funny, and moving play follows 17-year-old Ernestine Crump as she adjusts to life after the passing of her beloved mother. In search of spiritual answers, Ernestine's father relocates the family from Pensacola to Brooklyn where the Crumps must navigate a changing family dynamic, an unwelcoming neighborhood, and a shifting set of American ideals. Crumbs From the Table of Joy questions the limits of escapism and the power of everyday hope.

The cast for Crumbs from the Table of Joy includes Shanel Bailey (The Book of Mormon), Jason Bowen (The Play That Goes Wrong), Sharina Martin (The Piano Lesson), Natalia Payne (Fairview), and Malika Samuel (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Once on This Island).

Playwright Lynn Nottage remarked, "Crumbs from the Table of Joy was my first professional production, and marked the beginning of my career in the theater. It is a wonderful and daunting proposition to revisit an old dear friend, and I'm beyond excited."

Director Colette Robert said, "It is such an honor to finally direct a play by Lynn Nottage. I saw Intimate Apparel when I first moved to New York after college and was blown away by the richness of the world. A few years later, I saw Ruined, and I am still haunted by that play and production. Lynn writes with so much empathy and expansiveness and Crumbs from the Table of Joy is no different. It speaks to this current moment of grief, dislocation, and political awakening within a Black family. It is filled with humor, heartbreak, and most importantly, hope."

Keen Company's Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein commented, "I am thrilled to announce the talented cast and creative team for Lynn Nottage's Crumbs From The Table of Joy! Colette has assembled a stellar team and I cannot wait to witness the magic they will create. I have long been a fan of Lynn's work and am honored to be producing the first New York revival of one of her earliest works. Crumbs From The Table of Joy is a story about persevering through tragedy and change that speaks eloquently to Keen's mission of connection and hope. I am eager to share it once again with New York audiences."

The creative team for Crumbs from the Table of Joy includes Brendan Gonzales Boston (scenic design) Johanna Pan (costume design), Anshuman Bhatia (lighting design), Broken Chord (sound design), Nikiya Mathis (wig design), Caitlyn Murphy (prop design), Stephanie Yankwitt, tbd casting (casting), and Shane Schnetzler (production stage management).

Crumbs From The Table of Joy is presented with support from Rosalind Productions. Marcia Pendleton of Walk Tall Girl Productions will consult.

Performances of Crumbs from the Table of Joy will take place February 21 - April 1, 2023, at Theatre Row in Theatre Five, located at 410 W 42nd St in Manhattan. Critics are welcome as of March 2 for an opening on Tuesday, March 7. The performance schedule is Tuesday-Saturday at 7pm and Saturday & Sunday at 2pm. The anticipated running time is 2 hours, including a 10-minute intermission. Tickets, which start at $60, are available at Standard ticketing fees apply.

Please visit for more information on the production.

About the Artists

Lynn Nottage

(Playwright) was most recently nominated for a Tony Award for the book for MJ, the Michael Jackson musical. Plays include Sweat (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Evening Standard Award; Tony, Drama Desk award nominations); Ruined (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, New York Drama Critics Circle, DD, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel, Obie, and Audelco awards for Best Play); Floyd's (Guthrie); Mlima's Tale (The Public); By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, DD nom); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (Obie Award; DD, Lortel award noms); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por'knockers; and POOF!; as well as the book for the musical adaption of The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic). TV: "She's Gotta Have It" (writer/producer). PEN/Laura Pels Master Dramatist Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, a Guggenheim Grant, Lucille Lortel Fellowship, Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton. Associate professor at Columbia. Member of the Dramatists Guild.

Colette Robert

(Director) is a Los Angeles native currently based in New York. Recent directing credits include The Wanderers (City Theatre Company), Weathering (Penumbra Theatre), Egress (Salt Lake Acting Company), Celebrating the Black Radical Imagination: Nine Solo Plays (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Stew (Page 73, Pulitzer Prize Finalist), Native Son (PlayMakers Rep), On the Exhale (Chester Theatre Company, Berkshire Theater Award, Best Solo Performance), Behind the Sheet (EST, New York Times Critic's Pick), Mary's Wedding (Chester Theatre Company), The Mountaintop (Chester Theatre Company), and when last we flew (Diversionary Theatre and FringeNYC, GLAAD Media Award). She was the Associate Director for the Broadway revival of Caroline, or Change. Robert is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, a New Georges affiliated artist, an adjunct lecturer at NYU, and SDCF's 2023 Denham Fellow. An alumnus of the Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and The Civilians R&D Group. She was previously an Audrey Resident and Jam Co-Leader at New Georges, a Van Lier Directing Fellow at The Public, and The Drama League's 2018 Beatrice Terry Director in Residence.

About the Cast

Shanel Bailey

(Ernestine) is a proud NYC native, hailing from Queens, and a Syracuse University Musical Theatre graduate. She is thrilled to be joining Keen Company at Theatre Row as a part of this production! Recently completing her Broadway run in The Book of Mormon as a Nabulungi understudy and ensemble member, she can also be seen on an episode of the hit show, "The Equalizer" starring Queen Latifah. As well as "The Good Fight", and "That Damn Michael Che" on HBO Max. She will be making her series-regular debut as Hazel in the upcoming Paramount + series "Grease: Rise Of the Pink Ladies" premiering April 6th! Shanel is represented by HCKR Agency. Ma'hanibu Eebowai.

Jason Bowen

(Godfrey) previous credits include Broadway: The Play That Goes Wrong. Off-Broadway: Long Day's Journey Into Night (Audible Theater), Native Son (The Acting Co.), If Pretty Hurts (Playwrights Horizons), Alternating Currents (Working Theater), My Mañana Comes (Playwright's Realm). Regional: Native Son (Yale Rep.), Skeleton Crew (Studio Theatre), Jazz (Baltimore Center Stage), As You Like It, Black Odyssey (Denver Center Theatre Co.), June Moon (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Ruined (La Jolla Playhouse), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (IRNE Award for Best Actor - Drama, Huntington Theatre Co.). TV/Film: "Orange Is The New Black" (Netflix), "Blue Bloods," "Madam Secretary," "Elementary," "Braindead" (CBS), "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC), "The Good Fight" (Paramount Plus), "Mother/Android", "The Upside", "What's Your Number?"

Sharina Martin

(Lily) Broadway: The Piano Lesson, Off-Broadway: Confederates (Signature Theatre/US), Round Table (59E59), The Talk, Showtime Blues, The Extinctionist (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Manhood, Untamed (National Black Theatre), The Beautiful Beautiful Sea Next Door (ArsNova). Regional credits include Black Moon Lilith (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Doubt (Westport Playhouse - CT Critics Circle Award), Everybody Black (Humana Festival), Familiar (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co), A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre), Dracula (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Metamorphoses (Arden Theatre Company), All's Well that Ends Well (American Players Theater), Black Diamond, Fedra (Lookingglass Theatre), Macbeth (Lady M, greasyjoan & co.). Other credits: Richard III (Lady Anne, Boomerang Theatre Co), Heartbreaker (Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center). Film: Queen of Glory, Blind, Requited, Nowheresville, Happily After. Television: "Dear Edward" (Apple), "Z: The Beginning of Everything" (Amazon), "The Outs", "Redrum" (Discovery ID), "In Between Men". BTA Award Nomination, Best Actress. Training: Northwestern University, Steppenwolf Theatre, LAByrinth, Esper. Sharina is a proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Natalia Payne

(Gerte) New York Theater: Fairview (Soho Rep, TFANA - 2019 Pulitzer Prize), The Last Match (Roundabout), Me, Myself & I (Playwrights Horizons), Aliens with Extraordinary Skills (WP Theater), Jailbait (Cherry Lane), New Jerusalem (Classic Stage Company), deathvariations (59E59). Regional: Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep, Arena Stage, The Old Globe, Studio Theater (Helen Hayes Award nomination), New York Stage & Film, The O'Neill. TV: Recurring roles on "Workin' Moms" (CBC/Netflix) and "Cardinal" (CTV/Hulu), and guest appearances on "Law & Order: S.V.U." (NBC), "Sensitive Skin" (HBO Canada), "Ransom" (CBS), "Murdoch Mysteries" (CBC), "Reign" (CW), "Dark Matter" (SYFY). Film: The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, The Word, Crazy Love. Natalia has also narrated numerous audiobooks (AudioFile Earphone Award winner) and is a frequent narrator for Apple News+ Audio. Originally from Toronto, Natalia speaks Ukrainian and French, in addition to English. BA in Theater Studies from Yale University.

Malika Samuel

(Ermina) is an interdisciplinary storyteller, teaching artist, and facilitator with a career spanning over two decades. Published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, Malika has applied her creative experiences, personal skills, and multiple professional proficiencies to medical and healthcare curriculum and research. She is presently faculty at her alma mater NYU Tisch. Love and Gratitude to family, friends, and team, A3 and Paradigm! Select Credits: Broadway: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (OBC), The Music Man. NY Theater: Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (WP/2ST); Bernarda's Daughters (The New Group/ Audible Theater) TV: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", "EVIL", "Orange Is the New Black", "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt", "Chicago P.D.", "Law & Order: SVU", "The Good Wife", "Person of Interest", "The Big C" Hosting: "Nick Studio 10", "2013 Kids' Choice Awards Pre- Show", "Kidz Bop Kidz Star USA". Film: Holiday Rush, Submission, Central Park, Hello Apartment, Kilimanjaro. Directing: Bloom Bloom Pow (A.R.T./NYT/New Georges; movement direction)

About Keen Company

Keen Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway company creating theater that connects. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, we celebrate the complexities of hope and the joys of the human condition. Keen also fosters mid-career playwrights through our Keen Playwrights Lab and mentors students from all five boroughs of NYC through our Keen Teens education program. In everything we do, Keen Company thrives through our welcoming ethos and community commitments.