Theatre Evolution Will Launch Inaugural Season With THE CONTRACT

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Theatre Evolution Will Launch Inaugural Season With THE CONTRACT

When a high-profile preacher's wife discovers her husband has a secret desire for men, she does what any good wife would do . . . she hires him a lover. Theatre Evolution launches its inaugural season with a production of THE CONTRACT, written and directed by James Webb (winner of Kennedy Center's Lorraine Hansberry National Playwriting Award).

THE CONTRACT follows the plight of Pastor Daryl Jackson, a southern African-American mega-church preacher, who at the height of his success holds a secret that could endanger his Christian empire and ruin his reputation-he has a sexual yearning for men. In order to ensure total discretion, save marriage and ministry, his wife, Deborah, does the unexpected . . . she hires him a lover. The contractual arrangement works well, until Daryl falls in love with one of his suitors, Paul-a brilliant and sensitive graduate student, who challenges Daryl's ideas of faith, identity, and sexuality.

"Ten years ago, it was tough for me, trying to explain to my Christian conservative friends how I could be in love with a man and love God," says playwright/director James Webb, "so I sat down and wrote a play. I thought that settled it. But then two years ago when my husband dropped on one knee and proposed to me, I felt such tremendous fear about having a public wedding that I almost missed out on one of the best days of my life." Webb hopes to use the play as a forum for dialogue and discussion. He says, "This play is not just for the Christian conservative, who needs to understand the plight of a gay man within the Black Church; this play is also for the gay man, who struggles to believe that God created you in love and loves you unconditionally and has a seat for you at the Welcome Table. This play is a conversation. So, let's have it."

THE CONTRACT's cast features Nathaniel J. Ryan, Shiro Kihagi, and Jamel Tyre Mack. Design team includes Ruben Arana-Downs (Set Design), Niiamar Felder (Costume Design), and Michael Cunningham (Lighting Design). The Producing Consultant and Stage Manager is Aaron L. McKinney.

THE CONTRACT runs for one week only, January 21 - 26 at Theatre Row's Studio Theatre, 410 W. 42nd Street, New York, NY. Tickets can be purchased at for $28.75. To learn more about Theatre Evolution, visit You can also follow Theatre Evolution on Instagram at @theatreevolution and Facebook at @theatreevolution2020.

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