Tori Sampson's IF PRETTY HURTS... Extends Through April 5
Playwrights Horizons has extended the world premiere of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka, written by Tori Sampson, directed by OBIE winner Leah C. Gardiner and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, in response to overwhelming demand for tickets. The production, which opened Sunday, March 10 to rave reviews, will now run through April 5 in the Mainstage Theater at Playwrights Horizons (416 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036).
In If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka, in the village of Affreakah-Amirrorkah, no one questions that Akim is the one true, perfect beauty-not even her jealous classmates. But they'll be damned before they let her be the leading lady in this story. A decidedly contemporary riff on a Nigerian fable, Tori Sampson's explosive epic is brimming with live music and dance, as these frenemies jockey for their rank in a culture built on ideals forever out of reach.
The cast of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka features Rotimi Agbabiaka (Regional: Bootycandy; Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2, and 3)as Chorus, Maechi Aharanwa (Off-Broadway:?The Winter's Tale, An Octoroon. TV: "Show Me a Hero")as Ma, Jason Bowen (Broadway: The Play That Goes Wrong. Off-Broadway: My Mañana Comes. TV: "Blue Bloods") as Dad, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Regional: Seven Guitars, The Model American) as Massassi, Leland Fowler (Off-Broadway: Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Public; Measure for Measure, TFANA) as Kasim,Ník? Uche Kadri (Off-Broadway: School Girls..., The Death of the Last Black Man...) as Akim, Mirirai Sithole (Off-Broadway: School Girls..., The Homecoming Queen. TV: "Black Mirror," "Russian Doll") as Adama, Phumzile Sitole (TV: "Orange Is the New Black," "Elementary," "The Good Fight") as Kaya, and Carla R. Stewart (Broadway, National Tour, and Regional: The Color Purple) as The Voice of the River.
The creative team includes Louisa Thompson (Scenic Designer), Dede Ayite (Costume Designer), Matt Frey (Lighting Designer), and Ian Scot (Original Music and Sound Designer), Cookie Jordan (Hair and Wig Designer), and Alyssa K. Howard (Production Stage Manager).
As America's Eurocentric beauty standards continued to spill from the media and public figures in the form of racist comments about powerful, visible Black women, Sampson was struck by a way to bridge her interest in re-centering African storytelling in theater while applying a Brechtian analysis to contemporary American society. She began to interview women on beauty standards, and used elements of these encounters to flesh out four central young women characters in a play expanding on a folktale her uncle had related to her-and deconstructing the notions of singular, ideal beauty within it.
Performances of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka take place through April 5: Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7pm, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.
Single tickets, Flex Passes (customizable bundle, $220+), and Memberships ($45 to join, $25 preview tickets) are now on sale. Package holders receive priority booking and seating, ticket exchange privileges, parking and dining discounts, and exclusive mailings of Playwrights Horizons Bulletins. Patron packages start at $1,750. Packages are available at phnyc.org.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus