ON SUGARLAND runs approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.
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. Young 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) and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly (Hurricane Diane, The House That Will Not Stand)
On Sugarland is made possible by the generosity of The Roy Cockrum Foundation and the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.
Scenic Design Adam Rigg
Costume Design Qween Jean
Lighting Design Amith Chandrashaker
Sound Design & Co-Original Compositions Mikaal Sulaiman
Original Music Starr Busby
Hair & Wig Design Earon Nealey
Fight Direction UnkleDave’s Fight-House
Dramaturgy Lauren Whitehead
Casting Taylor Williams
Stage Manager Alfredo Macias
Our COVID protocols have recently changed and we encourage you to review the most up-to-date information at nytw.org/covid
Proof vaccination and a photo ID will be required for all guests. A mask must be worn over the nose and mouth at all times inside the building and theatre. NYTW no longer allows cloth masks. We recommend wearing a KN95 (or similar), and if you need one, we will provide it at the point of entry.
“Aleshea [Harris] is making work that is giving voice to the deepest parts of the Black experience. Black work can be as experimental and aesthetically excellent as anything else, and we shouldn’t settle for anything less.”
"Since winning the American Playwriting Foundation’s 2016 Relentless Award (established to honor Philip Seymour Hoffman) for Is God Is, the 40-year-old Harris has staked her territory as one of the major theater artists of her generation."
STEPHANIE BERRY is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. She is the 2021 recipient of The League of Professional Theatre Women’s Lee Reynolds Award for her work using theater to help illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change. She was just seen in the world premiere of The Garden at La Jolla playhouse, and she plays Older Ruby in the series “Fantasy Island.”
THOMAS WALTER BOOKER Born and raised in the nation’s capital, Washington DC, Thomas Walter Booker is making his Off-Broadway debut. He recently graduated from the SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory, where he received his BFA. He is also an alumnus of the Theatre department at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He just made his television debut on “Blue Bloods” (Ozzie). Regional theatre credits include One Night in Miami (Cassius) and Necessary Sacrifices (Young Frederick Douglass). He gives all the glory to God and would love to thank his mother and his village for the constant support.
CALEB EBERHARDT NYTW debut. Broadway: Choir Boy (MTC). Off-Broadway: Is God Is (Soho Rep.), Esai’s Table (Cherry Lane), Regional: Choir Boy (Alliance Theatre, Geffen Playhouse). Film: Judas and the Black Messiah, The Subject, Chestnut (upcoming), Manodrome (upcoming), TV: “Betty” (HBO). Caleb is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory.
XAVIER SCOTT EVANS is an American actor based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s best known for his recent work on HBOMax’s “Love Life” (2021), “FBI” (2021) and his starring role in the feature film Bottom of the 9th. Roles in theater include The Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Ngozi Anyanwu’s The Last of the Love Letters directed by Patricia McGregor. Upcoming projects are Paradise Highway (2022) written & directed by Anna Gutto.
MISTER FITZGERALD from Baltimore, MD, is excited to be making his NYTW debut in On Sugarland! On stage, he’s appeared in the Blue Man Group, and as Bolade in Rio Uphill with York Theatre. He’ll be starring in the upcoming film The Last Deal as Bobby. TV credits include “Power,” “FBI,” “The Blacklist” and more.
JOSH FULTON Hillman Grad Writing Mentee 2021. Actors Theatre of Louisville: Everybody Black. A Christmas Carol, Pipeline. Other Theatre: Scarfoot Lives at Playwrights Center, Death of the Republic by Craig Lucas. Representation: Wolf Talent Group, Matt Schictman (Gotham Group), Mike Smith (Principal Entertainment LA).
CHARISMA GLASPER is a native New Yorker and a performer & passionate wellness advocate. In recent work, Charisma plays lead actress in short film “Mercury Afrogarde” & made her television debut as Jordanna on Netflix series “Russian Doll” (produced by Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler). Charisma appeared as a feature performer in Sundance Film Festival Speakeasy (2021). Television credits also include: “Gossip Girl” (2021), “Prodigal Son” & “Succession.” Recent commercial credits include Alice & Olivia, Telfar Global & Kenneth Cole. With more time to create her own work, Charisma premiered her first solo installation, What Time Took, at this year’s Chashama Art Gala: Enliven NYC; her work consists of creating rooms & spaces that feel like sanctuary for peace & reflection. Extending her passion for movement arts & holistic wellness into teaching, Charisma works to ensure Arts & Wellness programming remain in NYC schools & LGBTQ+ communities. Pronouns: She, They. Instagram: @chavisma.
KAI HEATH hails from Harlem, NYC. Off Broadway theatre credits include Messenger in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park. Regional credits: Hall in Men on Boats (Baltimore Center Stage), Averie in Dot (People’s Light Theater). Rutgers Theater Company credits include Falstaff in Henry IV and Hotspur in Henry IV: Part One at Shakespeare’s Globe.
SHEMAR YANICK JONAS is a Guyanese-American actor, director and writer based in New York City. Shemar’s lifelong mission is to use his artistic expression to reclaim the narrative of underrepresented people, Black people especially. He also has a passion for mentoring kids at the local film club he volunteers at. His short film “Nazen” which he wrote, directed, and starred in was recently nominated for Best Short Film at the Pan African Film Festival (2021). Shemar can be seen on screen making appearances on “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Luke Cage” (Netflix), “Pause with Sam Jay” (HBO) and “The Equalizer” (CBS). Training: Moving Mountains (NYC Theatre program).
BILLY EUGENE JONES Broadway: A Soldier’s Play, The Book of Mormon, A Raisin in the Sun, The Trip to Bountiful, The Big Knife, The Mountaintop, Passing Strange, Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean. Off-Broadway: Much Ado About Nothing (NYSF), Pitbulls (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), The Jammer (Atlantic Theatre Company), In the Footprint (The Civilians), Waiting for Godot and Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem). Numerous film, TV and regional theatre credits. Billy is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.
KIKI LAYNE is excited to be returning to the stage and making her Off-Broadway debut with NYTW. She is best known for starring in the films If Beale Street Could Talk, The Old Guard and Coming 2 America. Other film credits include Native Son, The Staggering Girl and the upcoming Don’t Worry Darling. She was last seen on stage in Chicago in the US premiere of Octagon (Jackalope Theatre). Other Chicago theater credits include Byhalia, Mississippi (Definition Theatre/The New Colony), Good People (Redtwist Theatre), and Letters Home (Griffin Theatre).
MARIYEA is a Brooklyn-based performer and drag artist, engaging passions for joyous collaboration and radical inclusivity in their work. They delight in cluttering the boundaries of our most fundamental structures (i.e. race, gender, sexuality & spirituality). Their previous credits include works presented at Soho Rep, The Shed, The New Ohio Theatre, Dixon Place, The Delacorte and Joe’s Pub, among others. Mariyea also has the privilege of hosting and performing in drag shows in various bars and clubs throughout New York City. You can catch them on Nerve Sundays at The Q Club. @mariyeaj #blacktranslivesmatter
LIZAN MITCHELL Broadway: Electra, Having Our Say, So Long on Lonely Street. Off-Broadway: Cullud Wattah (Public Theater), Passages (SoHo Rep), The First Noel, Brownsville Song, Cell, Rosmersholm, For Colored Girls (25th Anniversary), Gum, Ma Rose and Salt. Regional: Richard III (The Shakespeare Theatre), My Lord What A Night (CATF), Pride and Prejudice (Rep. Theater of St. Louis), The Tempest (Old Globe), Skeleton Crew (Trinity Rep), A Raisin in the Sun (Arena Stage), The Good Peaches (Cleveland Play House), The House That Will Not Stand (Yale Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Victory Gardens), Dead and Breathing (CATF, National Black Theater UK premiere), A Trip to Bountiful (Cincinnati Playhouse, Roundhouse Theater). Film/TV: Detroit, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Deadbeat, We’ll Never Have Paris, “Golden Boy,” “John Adams,” “The Good Wife,” The Human Stain, The Preacher’s Wife, “Sesame Street,” and “The Wire.”
ADEOLA ROLE is a NY-based actor. TV credits include “Blue Bloods,” “The Last O.G.,” “The Blacklist” and “Pose.” Theater credits include Broadway: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Ensemble/Hermione U/S), and Eclipsed (Helena, Rita U/S). Broadway Tour: Eclipsed (Maima). Off-Broadway: Office Hour (Genevieve) and Invisible Thread (Joy). Regional: Witness Uganda and Lily’s Revenge (A.R.T). Training: B.A. from UC Berkeley and M.F.A from MXAT/ART at Harvard University.
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.
NYTW: Hurricane Diane (2019), The House That Will Not Stand (2018). Most recent work: A Strange Loop (Obie Award winner and winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Fairview (winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), We’re Gonna Die (Directorial debut), and Lempicka.