KC MeltingPot Theatre has announced the four productions that will make up the company’s 2019-20 season. Dubbed “greatest hits,” the season will feature plays... KCMPT Announces “Greatest Hits” Season

KC MeltingPot Theatre has announced the four productions that will make up the company’s 2019-20 season.

Dubbed “greatest hits,” the season will feature plays from August Wilson, Lorraine Hansberry, Ntozake Shange, and Kansas City playwright Lewis J. Morrow.

Newly appointed Artistic Director Nicole Hodges Persley comments, “We wanted to give our audiences a ‘greatest hits’ of African American theater. Through familiar tales told from an African American perspective, I hope that audiences will begin to rethink notions of the universal as they reflect on the social, cultural and structural barriers that often stand between diverse communities and the American dream.”

The season will open with Founder and Executive Director Harvey Williams leading a production of August Wilson’s “King Hedley II,” the 9th play in Wilson’s now classic ten-play Pittsburgh cycle.

Set in the mid-1980s during the Reagan era, “King Hedley II” follows the life of an ex-con who has to find a way to make a living after the trauma of prison. King Hedley II premiered in 1999 at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the play.

Next up is Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls who Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” directed by Lynn King.

Forty-four years after its premiere in 1976, this “choreopoem” addresses Black feminist perspectives written during the largely non-inclusive feminist landscape of the 1970s. The production will commemorate the first anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s passing on October 27, 2018.

Artistic Director Nicole Hodges Persley follows “For Colored Girls” with a production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” which celebrates its 60th Broadway anniversary this year.

Hodges Persley states: “We felt we could honor her 60th anniversary with an intimate production that speaks to Hansberry’s prescience about topics in our current moment such as structural racism, feminism, revolutionary politics, and black families,” comments Hodges Persley. “So often, productions focus on Walter’s plight or Lena Younger’ s dilemma. Hansberry wrote the play as a true ensemble to speak directly to a family in mourning looking for seeds of inspiration to carry on to realize their unique dreams. I want audiences to see this story anew from an ensemble perspective.”

The season closes with Lewis J. Morrow’s “Baybra’s Tulips.” Morrow’s sense of language and story remixes influences from Wilson, Hansberry, and Shange in this emotional tale of a dysfunctional black family who must decide the limits of familial love.

“The inspiration for ‘Baybra’s Tulips’ is based on my personal experiences as well as observations of other family dynamics,” says Morrow. “I never imagined this play would get produced in a season of ‘greatest hits.’ I’m humbled and grateful, beyond words to reflect KC MeltingPot’s vision of what the future of black theatre may look like.”

For more information on KC MeltingPot Theatre visit www.kcmeltingpot.com.

PerformInk Kansas City

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