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'Slave Play' Announced as Part 2020/21 Taper Season


First Production of This Searing New Work Outside of New York
Features Original Broadway Creative Team

Jeremy O. Harris’ unflinching new work “Slave Play” will be a part of Center Theatre Group’s 2020 – 2021 season at the Mark Taper Forum. Two-time NAACP and Obie Award winner and the recipient of Center Theatre Group’s inaugural Sherwood Award, Robert O’Hara returns to direct “Slave Play,” the most talked-about and proselytized-for show in New York last season. The original creative team from the Broadway engagement will bring the acclaimed new work to Los Angeles for its first production outside of New York with casting and schedule to be announced at a later date.

“As we look forward to the moment that we can safely return to the stage it helps to be reminded of the type of transcendent experiences that continue to draw us back to the theatre,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. “Jeremy O. Harris’ revelatory and provocative new work changes the way we see the world around us. I knew Los Angeles needed the opportunity to see ‘Slave Play,’ and the promise of this remarkable work in the hands of the original creative team sets a high standard as we continue to plan the rest of our 2020 – 2021 seasons at the Taper and Kirk Doulas Theatre.”

Hailed as “the single most daring thing I’ve seen in a theater in a long time” by Wesley Morris of The New York Times and “a fascinating explosive-device of a play” by Peter Marks of The Washington Post, “Slave Play” takes place at the MacGregor Plantation, where nothing is as it seems, and yet everything is as it seems. It’s an antebellum fever-dream as three interracial couples converge to rip open history at the intersection of race, love, sex and sexuality in 21st-century America. Soraya Nadia McDonald of The Undefeated said “wisdom and timeliness ripple through ‘Slave Play,’” adding “this play is lit.”

“Slave Play” received the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences, and the 2018 Paula Vogel Award. The play was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Playwriting Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.

Referred to by the Chicago Tribune as “a major new voice in the American theater,” Jeremy O. Harris is a writer and performer living in New York City. His full-length plays include: “Slave Play,” (New York Theatre Workshop, Broadway’s Golden Theatre); “Daddy” (Vineyard Theatre/The New Group); “Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1”; and “WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys” (published by 53rd State Press). His work has been presented or developed by Pieter Performance Space, JACK, Ars Nova, The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Performance Space New York and Playwrights Horizons. Harris co-wrote A24’s film “Zola” with director Janicza Bravo, is developing a pilot at HBO, and worked on their hit new series “Euphoria.” He is the 11th recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, an Orchard Project Greenhouse artist, a resident playwright with Colt Coeur, and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons. Harris is a graduate of the Yale M.F.A. Playwriting Program.

Robert O’Hara has received the NAACP Best Play and Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two Obie Awards and the Herb Alpert Award. He directed the world premieres of Jeremy O. Harris’ “Slave Play,” Nikkole Salter and Danai Gurira’s “In the Continuum,” Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2),” Colman Domingo’s “Wild with Happy,” Kirsten Childs’ “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” as well as his own plays, “Mankind,” “Bootycandy” and “Insurrection: Holding History.” His plays “Zombie: The American” and “Barbecue” world premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theatre and The Public Theater, respectively. His recent directing projects include Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Aziza Barnes’ “BLKS” at MCC, Inda Craig-Galván’s “Black Super Hero Magic Mama” at the Geffen Playhouse, the Universes’ “UNISON,” inspired by the poetry of August Wilson at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. O’Hara’s productions of “In the Continuum” and “Eclipsed” were both produced at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, Managing Director Meghan Pressman and Producing Director Douglas C. Baker, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Ticket and subscription on-sale dates will be announced at a later date. For more information please visit The Mark Taper Forum is located at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.

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April 30, 2020