'Jaja's African Hair Braiding' Announces Talkback Series At MTC

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 present the world premiere of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, written by Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play) and directed by Whitney White (Our Dear Dead Drug Lord), with previews beginning next Tuesday, September 12 ahead of a Tuesday, October 3, 2023 opening night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) on Broadway.

Manhattan Theatre Club is pleased to offer audiences Beyond the Stage content, which is designed to enrich the audiences’ experience after attending Jaja's African Hair Braiding. Purchase a ticket and join us for "A Part of the Culture," a series of post-show conversations at the theatre on:

BLACK THEATRE NIGHT: Join us for Black Theatre Night at the Friedman on September 20! A lively discussion with playwright Jocelyn Bioh, director Whitney White, and producing partners Taraji P. Henson and LaChanze will immediately follow the performance.

“MY CROWN, MY POWER”: Join us following the performance on September 26 as we discuss The Crown Act, which empowers Black women by allowing them to make career moves without fear of discrimination based on their hairstyling, with confirmed panelist Susan Oludele (HairbySusy). 

“SHOP TALK”: October 8th is our CultureCon Night! This conversation will spotlight the essential role braiding shops hold in the African Diaspora, looking specifically at the American experience. To quote director Whitney White, the shop is "the sacred space of hands on heads.” Panelists will include filmmaker Similejesu Sonubi and Houreidja Tall with a special welcome from CultureCon co-founder and Jaja’s African Hair Braiding cast member Michael Oloyede. 

The cast of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding features 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).

This dazzling world premiere welcomes you into Jaja’s bustling hair braiding shop 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 includes 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). 


Joining MTC’s season of plays is easy! Just call the MTC Clubline at 212-399-3050 or go to www.manhattantheatreclub.com. For group sales, contact Marcia Pendelton at 917-334-9492 or marcia@walktallgirlproductions.org. Visit www.telecharge.com/ to purchase tickets.

MTC is proud to offer several on-demand and scheduled accessibility services during the run of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, including a touch tour, a live audio described performance, and an open caption performance. To learn more or inquire about tickets to these performances, please email accessibility@mtc-nyc.org.