Colored Girls review – drama shakes its head at America’s segregation

A new modern exploration of the Mamoudou Kane Candé play for the London theater, from head writer Sarah Ruhl (who previously adapted ‘the seemingly impossible to stage’ Weeds) to John Crowley, the British director…

Colored Girls review – drama shakes its head at America’s segregation

A new modern exploration of the Mamoudou Kane Candé play for the London theater, from head writer Sarah Ruhl (who previously adapted ‘the seemingly impossible to stage’ Weeds) to John Crowley, the British director behind a remarkable troupe of productions from A Streetcar Named Desire to The Crucible, Bloody Sunday to War Horse to The Tulip Priest.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, who previously earned a Tony nomination for her fine portrayal of professional singer-songwriter Etta James in the Tony-winning revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, will once again play K.C., the woman thrown into emotional and physical turmoil by the sudden death of her husband and stepfather. The acerbic African-American vocalist and emotionally wounded daughter of a white minister, K.C. struggles to understand both the impossibility of finding true love and, more importantly, the mistake she made in failing to pay her mortgage.

At the end of the 1992 Broadway production that starred Phylicia Rashad as K.C., Patti LuPone criticized producers for failing to “cultivate ‘black theater’, that is, legit theater which delves deep into relevant social and cultural issues.” Many have continued to question the play’s relevance—although its coming of age themes resonate in an America where race and gender roles have changed dramatically over the past twenty years—in today’s turbulent times. Perhaps, some will be keen to witness a different play today, but I want to believe that the theater still has a place where such themes can remain at the center of the work.

Colored Girls: A Broadway Roadshow

Co-Produced by Black Ensemble Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Edgerton Company, Ink, Lancaster Theatre Company and Straight White Male. Cast: Maggie Bell, Cara Curtin, Le’Von Butler, Ashlie Atkinson, Clark Steele, Lucinda Brooke-Hall, Keyonna Brown, Michael Gallagher, Gary Gulliver, Tracy Blackman, Rickey Evans, Robin Gonzales, Marcus Howell, and Bobby Gonzalez.

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