Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director) and Chris Jennings (Executive Director), and Madison Wells Live with LaChanze and Taraji P. Henson are pleased to announce the full cast for the world premiere of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, written by Jocelyn Bioh and directed by Whitney White. The cast of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding will feature Brittany Adebumola (“The Other Black Girl”), Maechi Aharanwa (The Misanthrope), Rachel Christopher (for colored girls who have considered suicide/…), Kalyne Coleman (“So Help Me Todd”), Somi Kakoma (Dreaming Zenzile), Lakisha May (Skeleton Crew), Nana Mensah (“Presumed Innocent”), Michael Oloyede (Inanimate), Dominique Thorne (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and Zenzi Williams (Mobile Unit of Henry V).
Jaja’s African Hair Braiding will begin previews on Tuesday, September 12 and open on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street).
This dazzling world premiere welcomes you into Jaja’s bustling hair braiding salon in Harlem where every day, a lively and eclectic group of West African immigrant hair braiders are creating masterpieces on the heads of neighborhood women. During one sweltering summer day, love will blossom, dreams will flourish and secrets will be revealed. The uncertainty of their circumstances simmers below the surface of their lives and when it boils over, it forces this tight-knit community to confront what it means to be an outsider on the edge of the place they call home. This extraordinary new play is by the award winning Ghanaian-American playwright Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play) and will be directed by Obie winner Whitney White (Our Dear Dead Drug Lord).
The creative team for Jaja’s African Hair Braiding will include David Zinn (Scenic Design), Dede Ayite (Costume Design), Jiyoun Chang(Lighting Design), Justin Ellington (Original Music & Sound Design), Stefania Bulbarella (Video Design), Nikiya Mathis (Hair & Wig Design), Dawn-Elin Fraser (Dialect & Vocal Coach), Caparelliotis Casting, Kelly Gillespie, & Erica Hart (Casting) and Melanie J. Lisby(Production Stage Manager).
The 2022-23 season marked Lynne Meadow’s 50th Anniversary as Artistic Director of MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB. Meadow was joined in summer 2023 by Chris Jennings, MTC’s new Executive Director. MTC’s mission, which Meadow created in 1972 and has implemented over five decades of award-winning theatrical productions, is to develop and present new work in a dynamic, supportive environment; to identify and collaborate with the most promising new as well as seasoned, accomplished artists; and to produce a diverse repertoire of innovative, entertaining, and thought-provoking plays and musicals by American and international playwrights. Since 1989, MTC Education, which uses the power of live theatre and playwriting to awaken minds, ignite imaginations, open hearts, and change lives, has also been an important corollary to MTC’s work, reaching thousands of students and educators worldwide each season.
Since its beginnings on East 73rd Street in New York City, MTC has grown from a small off-off-Broadway showcase theatre into one of the country’s most prestigious and award-winning producing companies, creating over 600 world, American, New York and Broadway premieres. MTC productions have earned 7 Pulitzer Prizes, 28 Tony Awards, 50 Drama Desk Awards and 49 Obie Awards amongst many other honors. MTC has homes on Broadway at its Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and Off-Broadway at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). MTC is an anti-racist organization that respects and honors all voices, and upholds the values of community and equity. For more information, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.