Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play has certainly proven to be one of the most talked-about plays of the 2019-2020 Broadway season. Heralded by critics and named on the top-ten lists of 2019 by the likes of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, Time Out New York, EW, Paper Magazine, and The Guardian, the limited-engagement was extended. Now, the Broadway production will be recorded tonight by the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, part of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, at Lincoln Center.
Greg Nobile lead producer, shared his thoughts, “Six months ago when the question on everyone’s mind was ‘Is Broadway ready for Slave Play?’, we knew that Jeremy’s groundbreaking new work demanded to be seen, whether Broadway was ready or not. The reception we received from the theater community and from our audience has been astonishing. This play has opened doors and welcomed new audiences, many of whom thought theater wasn’t for them. We are thrilled that Robert’s brilliant production will live in the archive alongside such icons as Albee, Wilson, Sondheim, and Hansberry.”
Slave Play, which is directed by Robert O’Hara, features an ensemble cast that includes Ato Blankson-Wood, James Cusati-Moyer, Sullivan Jones, Joaquina Kalukango, Chalia La Tour, Irene Sofia Lucio, Annie McNamara, and Paul Alexander Nolan. The creative team for the production includes Tony Award® winner Clint Ramos (scenic design), four-time Drama Desk Award nominee Dede Ayite (costume design), Drama Desk Award nominee Jiyoun Chang (lighting design), three-time Drama Desk Award nominee Lindsay Jones (sound design and original music), Amauta Marston-Firmino (dramaturg), Byron Easley (movement), and Drama Desk Award winner Claire Warden (intimacy and fight director).
The play is described as follows:
“The Old South lives on at the MacGregor Plantation — in the breeze, in the cotton fields…and in the crack of the whip. It’s an antebellum fever-dream, where fear and desire entwine in the looming shadow of the Master’s House. Jim trembles as Kaneisha handles melons in the cottage, Alana perspires in time with the plucking of Phillip’s fiddle in the boudoir, while Dustin cowers at the heel of Gary’s big, black boot in the barn. Nothing is as it seems, and yet everything is as it seems.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, released on October 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.