Every One of Broadway’s Seven New Plays Opening This Season Were Written by Black Playwrights

Audience members wait at the St. James Theatre for Broadway’s first performance since shutting down for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 3, 2021. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs/File Photo

Broadway is back, and its 2021 new play lineup is brimming with shows by Black writers.

Through the end of the year, new and returning shows are scheduled to hit Broadway stages after theaters closed for a year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shows are set to begin as early as August, bringing back both beloved musicals and plays that were forced to close early because of the pandemic, and new work seeing the Broadway stage for the first time.

Among the current fall lineup are seven new plays, and all of them were written by Black playwrights.

For some playwrights, a Broadway debut

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Five of these playwrights are set to see their work performed on the Broadway stage for the very first time, including Douglas Lyons, writer of Chicken & Biscuits. The comedy will begin previews in Circle in the Square Theatre in September, featuring Broadway’s youngest Black director to date, 27-year-old Zhailon Levingston.

The show was quickly forced to end its run in Queens Theatre last year because of the pandemic. Despite its non-traditional route to Broadway, however, Lyons said the ability to reopen theaters with the work now feels “right on time.”

“I think people are going to be refreshed to be back in the theater, but also refreshed with the stories they’re getting in the theater,” he said. “There’s a whole generation of artists that have not been seen, and I feel like this COVID thing stopped the world and gave Broadway no excuse to not see us.”

Written in 2018, Lyons’ play has only existed for about three years, but the new playwright will see his work go up this season alongside pieces that turned decades old before seeing a Broadway run, including the late Alice Childress’ Trouble In Mind, which was originally written in 1955.

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SOURCE: NPR, Josie Fischels

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