Sugarland is on precarious soil—three mobile homes line a southern cul-de-sac replete with years and years of decorative folk-art treasures and keepsakes. Twelve-year-old Sadie calls on generations of matriarchal ancestors to find the truth about her mother while the denizens of Sugarland rise each day to holler for the dead—conscripted soldiers lost to a greedy war—in a ritual reclamation of timeless grief.
This sweeping new work from Obie Award-winning playwright Aleshea Harris (Is God Is, What to Send Up When It Goes Down) is at once a spectacular pageant and spirited meditation on remarkable people transcending difficult circumstances. On Sugarland brings joyous life to communal healing with a glorious ensemble of 14 performers in a production directed by Obie Award winner, NYTW Usual Suspect & former 2050 Fellow Whitney White (What to Send Up When It Goes Down).
ALESHEA HARRIS’s play Is God Is (directed by Taibi Magar at Soho Rep.) won the 2016 Relentless Award, an Obie Award for playwriting in 2017, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award in 2019, was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and made The Kilroys’ List of “the most recommended un and underproduced plays by trans and female authors of color” for 2017. What to Send Up When It Goes Down (directed by Whitney White, produced by The Movement Theatre Company), a play-pageant-ritual response to anti-Blackness, had its critically-acclaimed NYC premiere in 2018, was featured in the April 2019 issue of American Theatre Magazine and was nominated for a Drama Desk award. Harris was awarded a Samuel French Next Step Award in 2019, the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize and the Steinberg Playwriting Award in 2020 and the Hermitage Greenfield Prize in 2021. She has performed her own work at the St. Mary’s College, Edinburgh and Orlando Fringe Festivals, REDCAT and as part of La Fête du Livre at La Comèdie de Saint-Étienne. She is a two-time MacDowell fellow and has enjoyed residencies at Hedgebrook and Djerassi.
WHITNEY WHITE is an Obie Award and Lily Award-winning director, writer and musician originally from Chicago. She is a believer of alternative forms of performance, multi-disciplinary work and collaborative processes. She is currently staffed on Boots Riley’s I’m a Virgo (Media Res, Amazon). Recent directing: The Amen Corner (Shakespeare Theatre DC), Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (WP Theater and Second Stage; NYT Critics’ Pick), Aleshea Harris’s What to Send Up When It Goes Down (The Movement Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth, American Repertory Theatre, The Public; NYT Critics’ Pick), An Iliad (Long Wharf), Canyon by Jonathan Caren (LA Times Critic’s Choice and recipient of the CTG Block Party Grant, IAMA), Jump by Charly Evon Simpson (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, PlayMakers Rep). Digital projects include: Finish the Fight by Ming Peiffer (The New York Times, 35K+ viewers), Animals by Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Williamstown Theatre and Audible) and Soft Light by Aleshea Harris (The Movement Theatre Company). Her five-part cycle deconstructing Shakespeare’s women, music, and female ambition is currently in development with American Repertory Theater (Boston, MA). Whitney is the recent recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing Award, is part of the Rolex Protegé and Mentorship Arts Initiative and is an Associate Artist at Roundabout. She is also an Associate Director at Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC. Past residencies and fellowships: Sundance Theatre Lab, Colt Coeur, The Drama League, Roundabout and the 2050 Fellowship at the New York Theatre Workshop. MFA Acting: Brown University/Trinity Rep, BA: Northwestern University.