ArtFilm / TVRace

‘american son’ play produced by powerful black women

September 27, 2018
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The Broadway producing game is getting its own injection of premium Black Girl Magic through oncoming play American Son, an intense drama set in a Florida police station where an estranged married couple meet in an attempt to find their missing 18-year-old biracial son who was stopped by police. The play will be produced by a team that includes Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett-Smith, as well as, Gabrielle Union-Wade and her NBA star husband Dwyane Wade. Rhimes, Pinkett-Smith and the Wades will join a team of producers that includes the show’s leading lady, Kerry Washington as well as her husband, NFL veteran turned actor Nnamdi Asomugha.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The play examines how we deal with family relationships, love, loss and identity.” Washington will play Kendra-Ellis Connor, the mother of the missing teenager, opposite Steven Pasquale who plays her husband, FBI agent Scott Connor. Eugene Lee and Jeremy Jordan round out the intimate four-person cast as a tough Black lieutenant and young white officer respectively. Kenny Leon, who won the 2014 Tony Award for the revival of A Raisin In The Sun in 2014, is directing the drama.

“Christopher Demos-Brown has written a play that delves deep into the big questions of who we are as a nation, by exploring the intimate relationships within a family caught at the crossroads of love, loss, identity, and community,” said Washington. “After reading the script I was immediately enthralled by the world of the play and the gripping circumstances that these characters are facing.” – The Hollywood Reporter

A story this poignant backed by a producing team of this caliber feels like a powerful meeting of forces. The presence of Black women on Broadway—on stage and behind the scenes—is noticeably lacking, so the presence of these Black Hollywood heavyweights is exciting for the development of the themes within the story.

As we delve into the discussion on representation, it is becoming clearer that the focus should not purely rest on the front of the house. Writers, producers, and directors facilitate the birth of the stories that we see on TV and stage, so the presence of more Black women producers in a considerably white medium like Broadway is the kind of change we should be looking for in this current shift towards diversity and equality.

The play will run for a 16-week engagement opening November 4, making it eligible for the 2019 Tony Awards. The story’s socially relevant themes and the team bringing them to life make this production a serious contender in the sometimes limited Tony nomination pool. Perhaps Black Girl Magic will be taking over the Tonys too…

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