By Donja R. Love
Directed by Saheem Ali
Preview by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
Performances begin tomorrow – Tuesday, June 5 – for Manhattan Theatre Club’s world premiere of Sugar in Our Wounds, a new play by Donja R. Love, directed by Saheem Ali (Twelfth Night for the Public Theater’s Mobile Unit), ahead of a Tuesday, June 19, 2018 opening night at The Studio at Stage II – Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Series at New York City Center – Stage II (131 West 55th Street).
The production stars Stephanie Berry (Drowning Crow, The Hummingbird’s Tour) as Aunt Mama, Sheldon Best (Romeo and Juliet) as James, Fern Cozine (Off-Broadway debut) as Isabel, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time) as Mattie, and Chinaza Uche (Sojourners/Her Portmanteau, Nigerian Prince) as Henry.
On a plantation during the Civil War, a mystical tree stretches toward heaven. It protects James, a young slave, while he reads newspapers about the imminent possibility of freedom, as the battle rages on. When a brooding stranger arrives, James and his makeshift family take the man in. Soon, an unexpected bond leads to a striking romance, and everyone is in uncharted territory. But is love powerful enough to set your true self free? This lyrical and lushly realized play is part of poet, filmmaker and playwright Donja R. Love’s exploration of queer love at pivotal moments in Black history.
Sugar in Our Wounds’ creative team includes Arnulfo Maldonado (scenic design), Dede Ayite (costume design), Jason Lyons (lighting design), Palmer Hefferan (sound design), Michael Thurber (original music), Darrell Grand Moultrie (movement), and Cookie Jordan (hair & makeup design).
Special “Sugar” Events:
- To connect with audiences at the intersection of Queerness, Blackness, and Culture, Bridging Access to Care will host a breakfast and panel discussion with Donja R. Love, Saheem Ali, and members of the Sugar in Our Wounds cast this Saturday, June 9 from 11am – 1pm at Restoration Plaza (1360 Fulton Street, Brooklyn). Seating for the event is limited; please RSVP to Spencer Casseus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 347-505-5181.
- Also this Saturday, the Black Theatre Network will honor Donja R. Love for his breakthrough play and production of Sugar in Our Wounds. Other honorees include Patrick A. Bradford, Esq.; Ty Jones & Classical Theatre of Harlem; and Antoinette Nwandu. The free event will be held from 5:30-8:00pm at Spoonfed NYC Restaurant (331 W. 51st Street). For more information, please contact Marcia Pendelton at Marcia@walktallgirlproductions.com or 917-334-6492.
- Following three performances, Manhattan Theatre Club will present Beyond the Stage, a series of discussions on themes at the intersection of Queerness and Blackness in support of Donja R. Love’s powerful story. The discussions are scheduled to happen on Saturday, June 9 and Saturday, June 23 after the 2:30pm matinee performances and on Thursday, June 14 after the 7:30pm evening performance. Guest speakers include Donja R. Love (playwright) and Saheem Ali (director), members of the cast of Sugar in Our Wounds, and Andrew Shade (founder of BroadwayBlack.com).
Manhattan Theatre Club, under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over the past four and a half decades, MTC productions have earned numerous awards including 7 Pulitzer Prizes and 23 Tony Awards. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and two Off-Broadway theatres at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). Renowned MTC productions include the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner Cost of Living by Martyna Majok; Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes; August Wilson’s Jitney and The Piano Lesson; Heisenberg by Simon Stephens; The Father by Florian Zeller with translation by Christopher Hampton; Fool For Love by Sam Shepard; Airline Highway by Lisa D’Amour; Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein; Outside Mullingar and Doubt by John Patrick Shanley; The Commons of Pensacola by Amanda Peet; Murder Ballad by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash; The Assembled Parties by Richard Greenberg; Wit by Margaret Edson; Venus in Fur by David Ives; Good People and Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire; The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez; Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies; Ruined by Lynn Nottage; Proof by David Auburn; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife by Charles Busch; Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terrence McNally; Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley; and Ain’t Misbehavin’, the Fats Waller musical. For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.
Single tickets are available for purchase online at www.nycitycenter.org, by calling CityTix at 212-581-1212, or by visiting the New York City Center box office (131 West 55th Street). New and renewing subscribers can join MTC’s 2018-2019 season by calling The MTC Clubline at 212-399-3050. For more information, please visit www.manhattantheatreclub.com.
To sign up for MTC’s “30 Under 30” program, offering $30 tickets for theatregoers age 30 and under, visit www.manhattantheatreclub.com/30under30/.
- TUESDAY, JUNE 5 – SUNDAY, JUNE 17: Tuesday-Sunday at 7:30PM; Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30PM. There is no performance on Sunday evening, June 10.
- TUESDAY, JUNE 19 – SUNDAY, JUNE 24 (WEEK OF OPENING): Wednesday-Sunday at 7:30PM; Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30PM. The opening night performance on Tuesday is at 7:30PM.
- TUESDAY, JUNE 26 – SUNDAY, JULY 1: Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30PM; Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:30PM.
- MONDAY, JULY 2 – SUNDAY, JULY 8: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:30PM; Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30PM; Dark on Wednesday for Independence Day.