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Black Playwrights Take Broadway By Storm, 7 New Black Plays Scheduled

All eyes on Black playwrights, who are the center of attention in Broadway as seven new Black plays are scheduled throughout the remainder of the year.

All of the plays were written by Black writers, one of which technically premiered before the pandemic hit New York City, according to Deadline.

The fall lineup, according to Playbill, has an array of writers who have written comedies to coming of age stories, and it will feature its young director in the organization’s more than 250 years yet, 27-year-old Zhailon Levingston – who happens to be the Black producer behind the 2008 movie The Longshot featuring Ice Cube and Keke Palmer.

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The play Chicken & Biscuits written by Douglas Lyon, beginning previews are at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Thursday, was playing Off Broadway on February 28, 2020 at New York’s Queens Theatre – a time days before the COVID-19 shutdown started in New York City.

It officially open Sunday, October 10, and have a limited engagement runs until Sunday, January 2, 2022.

The full cast will be announced in the upcoming weeks, but stars Norm Lewis of Porgy and Bess, Da 5 Bloods fame and Michael Urie of Torch Song, Ugly Betty of fame are slated to be in project.

The play is a comedy about a fictional family called the Jenkins and secret being uncovered at a reunion of a patriarch’s funeral.

The producers of the play are Pamela Ross, Hunter Arnold, E. Clayton Cornelious and Leah Michalos, all of whom have decades of theatre production experience.

Both Lyons and Cornelious had worked together as actors in Beautiful, making this their first Broadway debuts playwright and lead producer, respectively.

Ross and Michalos also make their Broadway debuts as lead producers with Chicken & Biscuits, The Deadline reported.

“I am beyond thrilled to be making my Broadway playwriting debut, ten years and one block away from the very stage where I made my acting debut in The Book of Mormon,” playwright Lyons said. “Chicken & Biscuits is a story of love, messiness, and healing. This opportunity to bring our comedically complex Black family to the Broadway stage is a complete gift. Our batter is full of laughter, and I can’t wait to witness audiences of all backgrounds fellowshipping together. I’ll see y’all at the church—I mean, theater.”

Chicken & Biscuits was written three years ago, and Lewis play a character named Reginald, a pastor and family peacemaker, while Urie will play Logan, the white boyfriend of a Jenkins Family son and brother.

Below is a full list of the Black plays in this fall’s lineup:

Pass Over — Writer: Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu, Director: Danya Taymor

Chicken & Biscuits — Writer: Douglas Lyons, Director: Zhailon Levingston

Lackawanna Blues — Writer & Director: Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Thoughts of a Colored Man — Writer: Keenan Scott II, Director: Steve H. Broadnax III

Trouble in Mind — Writer: Alice Childress Director: Charles Randolph-Wright

Clyde’s — Writer: Lynn Nottage, Director: Kate Whoriskey

Skeleton Crew — Writer: Dominique Morisseau, Director: Ruben Santiago-Hudson

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