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THE SHINE CHALLENGE, 2024 show poster

THE SHINE CHALLENGE, 2024 at Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Dates: (2/23/2024 - 4/15/2024 )


Nuyorican Poets Cafe

236 East 3rd Street NYC
New York City,CA 10009

Phone: 212-780-9386

Tickets: $25.00

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The Nuyorican Poets Café has extended the virtual showings of Ishmael Reed’s newest play, “The Shine Challenge, 2024.” The pre-recorded live reading is now available for purchase  at, to view at your convenience through April 15th, 2024.

Directed by Carla Blank, the cast includes Jesse Bueno, Maurice Carlton, Caridad De La Luz, Roz Fox, Malika Iman, Emil Guillermo, Rome Neal, Ishmael Reed, Tennessee Reed, Laura Robards, Monisha Shiva, and Brian Simmons as Shine. 

About the play: Like members of most ethnic groups, the purpose of our schooling was to have us fit into the Anglo mainstream. At home and on the playground, in the absence of books, other story-telling traditions were available, handed down through the generations as part of an oral tradition. However, there was a story-telling tradition that we kept from our parents because of the bad words. They were called “toasts” and “the dozens,” which had endless variations. "Sinking of the Titanic," heard by Langston Hughes on 8th Avenue, is one of the famous "toasts."

Mr. Reed has lengthened the 36 lines published by Hughes into a 100-page script in which he expands on the issues addressed in the original toast: race, class, immigration, engineering, and Edwardian morality. He puts Shine on trial in which he is not only the accused but acts as his own defense attorney. He called the play “The Shine Challenge, 2024,” because he expects that a future playwright will expand upon what he has accomplished. This reading does contain satirical humor, adult themes and language, and is recommended for an audience of 21 and over.

This virtual reading is available for viewing at your convenience from now through Monday, April 15th.. For information: visit nuyorican. org. and to purchase tickets:   


Ages: 21 and above

THE SHINE CHALLENGE, 2024 at Nuyorican Poets Cafe Schedule

Virtual streaming of THE SHINE CHALLENGE 2024 has is available for streaming at your convenience through April 15th.

Cast and Creative team for THE SHINE CHALLENGE, 2024 at Nuyorican Poets Cafe


Brian Simmons

S. Shine

Roz Fox

Judge Georgia St. Clair

Caridad De La Luz

Prosecutor Francis Nunez

Jesse Bueno

Captain Edward Smith

Laura Robards

Helen Smith

Emil Guillermo

J. Bruce Ismay

Ishmael Reed

Jake "The Cat" Watson

Maurice Carlton

Jack the Shark

Rome Neal

Polar Bear Sam

Tennessee Reed


Malika Iman

Court Clerk

Creative Team

Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed has authored fifteen works of fiction; seven books of poetry; fifteen plays and librettos; thirteen non-fiction books; edited fifteen anthologies and received prizes in every category. To commemorate its 50 years in print, in 2022 Scribner’s released a new edition of his novel Mumbo Jumbo, including a new introduction by Reed. Various of these works have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Czech, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Hungarian, and Korean. Reed is also a cartoonist, songwriter, musician and composer, public media commentator and publisher.

Carla Blank


Ishmael Reed


Carla Blank

Carla Blank has distinguished herself as a dancer, choreographer, author, director, dramaturge, teacher, editor, journalist, and Jazz musician. most recently she directed a virtually streamed reading of Ishmael Reed’s "The Shine Challenge, 2024." She directed Reed’s “Living Newspaper” styled play, "The Conductor," that premiered at Off-Broadway’s Theater for the New City in March 2023. In 2021, she directed and choreographed "The Slave Who Loved Caviar," also by Reed that premiered at Theater for the New City. She directed an international cast of actor/dancers and musicians in "News from Fukushima: Meditation on an Under-Reported Catastrophe by a Poet," a multimedia performance work by Yuri Kageyama, at LaMama in NYC in 2015 and Z Space in San Francisco in 2017. Yoshiaki Tago’s documentary film of the 2017 performance continues to receive international acclaim. She directed Reed’s "Mother Hubbard" in Xiangtan, China in 2016. From 2003-2012 she directed Wajahat Ali’s "The Domestic Crusaders," a Muslim Pakistani American family drama. In Spring, 2013, at the request of the American Consulate in Jerusalem, she directed Palestinian and Syrian actors at the Al Kasaba Theatre in Ramallah in an Arabic language production of "Holiday" by Philip Barry, which toured six West Bank Palestinian cities, closing at the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem.

Miles Shebar


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