KCMPT announces it’s 2023-2024 Season – “In Black and White”
For Immediate release
Kansas City, Mo. (May 8, 2023) – KCMPT’s 2023 – 2024 season selection, explores what W.E.B Dubois called the “problem of the color line” in American social relations. The playwrights selected this season will probe important questions about striving for the American dream and the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Our season will examine the ways in which race, gender, sexuality, and class shape how we understand equality and our capacity to affirm those unalienable rights during such a fragile socio-historic moment in time.
The season opens with Alesha Harris’s Obie Award winning play Is God Is, which is a harrowing and epic tale of revenge. Twin sisters, Racine, and Anaia have received a deathbed request from their mother to be avenged for injustices dealt by the hand of their estranged father. This mythical story blends Afrofuturist aesthetics with Hip-hop inspired language to produce a compelling tale of Black women reclaiming their time and voice as they rethink their family narrative and history on their own terms. Is God Is will be directed by Lynn King (Barbecue, Fairview).
The second offering of the season is a revival of James Baldwin’s classic play The Amen Corner, directed by Melonnie Walker (The Piano Lesson, Dying to Party). The Amen Corner, Baldwin’s first work for the stage written in 1954, chronicles the story of a Black female pastor in Harlem, Margaret, who must grapple with the social, cultural and gender limitations of pastoring a store front church when she is suddenly confronted by the secular life that she left behind. When her long-lost husband Luke, a jazz musician, and the father of her only son, returns to address unreconciled questions of their past love, and the impact of his absence on their estranged son, David. The Amen Corner asks relevant questions about the Christian faith, the Black family, gender roles, and race that resonate in the 21st century, almost 70 years after Baldwin’s play premiered.
The third play of the season is a revival of KCMPT founder Harvey Williams’ The Session, directed by Lewis Morrow. It is a compelling story about five women of different racial and class backgrounds who must contend with their fragilities and desires for a better life in a court-appointed anger management program. Williams’ slice-of-life comedy interrogates the difficult choices that women are forced to make when they have to choose their race or their gender in a world that ignores the complexity of their natural overlap.
The closing play of the season is Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? directed by Ile Haggins (Begetters, Stew). Albee’s classic play follows a middle-aged couple, George, and Martha as they manage the vulnerabilities of their marriage. George, a college professor, and his wife Martha, return to their home after a university faculty party where much alcohol was ingested. They invite a young couple to join them for a night cap . As George and Martha entertain their guests, their toxic marriage begins to unravel at the seams much to their guests’ dismay. Albee’s provocative look at love, marriage, and privilege challenges the thin line between love and hate.
KCMPT founder, Harvey Williams, states “This season is an example of the depth and breadth of what we do at KCMPT. We create critical conversations about the American theater by using plays to create important community dialogues that resonate nationally. Nicole Hodges Persley is an Artistic Director who “gets it.” She is not afraid to challenge theater audiences to think for themselves by asking brave questions in moments of community crisis.”
KCMPT’s Artistic Director, Nicole Hodges Persley, has created several thematic season configurations that challenge American Theater’s inclusion of African American perspectives. Hodges Persley comments on her 7th season with KCMPT as “ a revelatory season for me …KCMPT has given me space to have great conversations with audiences about the state of the American theater. I am truly grateful to the Williams family for allowing me the creative and critical space to push a small regional theater like KMPCT into the national spotlight by curating seasons that push and provoke us to tell more complex stories about American life that are inclusive and liberatory in scope.”
KCMPT’s production of Is God Is by Alesha Harris directed by Lynn King opens September 15, 2023. Season ticket passes will be available at www.kcmeltingpot.com
All productions will be held at:
Just Off Broadway Theatre
3051 Central in Penn Valley Park
Kansas City Mo. 64108