EXCLUSIVE: Entertainment company Madison Wells Live, LaChanze and Taraji P. Henson have joined the producing team of Manhattan Theatre Club’s Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, a world premiere play written by Jocelyn Bioh and directed by Whitney White heading to Broadway this fall.
The partnerships were announced today by MTC’s Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director) and Chris Jennings (Executive Director).
Jaja’s African Hair Braiding will begin previews on Tuesday, September 12 and open on Tuesday, October 3, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
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The play is set at a hair braiding salon in Harlem where a lively and eclectic group of West African immigrant hair braiders create “masterpieces on the heads of neighborhood women.” According to the synopsis, “During one sweltering summer day, love will blossom, dreams will flourish and secrets will be revealed.”
Both Bioh, the Ghanaian-American playwright of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, and White (Our Dear Dead Drug Lord) will be making their Broadway debuts.
MTC’s Meadow said in a statement that each of the additions to the producing team “is bringing special talents” to the production.
Madison Wells Live is the live entertainment arm of Madison Wells, Gigi Pritzker’s independent production company with a mission statement of developing projects “with a strong bias towards stories for, by, and about badass women and people who push boundaries.” Broadway credits include Shucked, Company, Mike Birbiglia’s The Old Man and The Pool, Pass Over and Hadestown, among others.
Pritzker, who joins the production team along with Madison Wells executive producer Jamie Forshaw, called Jaja’s African Hair Braiding “a remarkably witty, entertaining, and moving play and we are honored to cast a spotlight on the exceptional talents of Jocelyn Bioh and Whitney White, two trailblazing female artists who continue to inspire and captivate audiences with their empowering narratives.”
LaChanze said the playwright “brings the vibrant lived experiences within our global community to center stage,” and that the “the joyous, funny, and inspiring play is sure to attract fresh and inclusive audiences.”
Said Henson, “This play holds immense importance within the Black community, addressing themes that resonate deeply. It celebrates the beauty, strength, and resilience of Black women, highlighting the art of hair braiding as a form of self-expression and empowerment.“
Full casting and creative team will be announced shortly.
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