Sixty-five years after its scheduled premiere on Broadway, Alice Childress’s “Trouble in Mind” finally opened on November 18. The Roundabout Theatre Company’s work will begin previewing at the American Airlines Theater on October 29th.
Tony Award winner La Chanze plays Wiletta in the play. She is an experienced black stage actor who is rehearsing major Broadway works. Joining her are Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, Michael Zegen, Danielle Campbell, Jessica Frances Dukes, Brandon Micheal Hall, Simon Jones, Alex Mickiewicz, and Don Stephenson.
Charles Randolph-Wright directed Trouble in Mind. The show includes set design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Kathy A. Perkins, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, original music by Nona Hendryx, and hair and wig design cookies Jordan.
Wiletta Mayer is an African-American actress of a certain age. Her career has been playing stereotypes, trapped in mummies, maids, and other trivial carousels. On the first day of the rehearsal of “The Chaos of Belleville”, the Broadway stage play will kick-off to explore the harsh truth of American racism. But when these truths overflow from the drama and enter the rehearsal hall, will Willetta’s insistence on dignity cost her the job she desperately needs?
Trouble in Mind was to be opened on Broadway in 1957 at the forefront of the civil rights movement and the feminist movement. This is a work that has never appeared before. The Roundabout Theatre Company produced the belated Broadway premiere of the show, starring LaChanze.
So far this season, five plays by Black authors have opened on Broadway, each with something urgent to say. Whether despairing (“Pass Over”) or lighthearted (“Chicken & Biscuits”). Also are broadly representative like Thoughts of a Colored Man or laser-beam specific (“Lackawanna Blues”). They are talking to us now like a newspaper come to life.
Credits: Playbill.com; Broadway.com
Credits featured image: Roundabout Theater Company