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MTC's Jaja's African Hair Braiding to Receive Multi-City Tour
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 04:00 pm EDT 04/09/24

Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway Production of

JAJA'S AFRICAN HAIR BRAIDING

Announces Multi-City Tour

of Acclaimed Play to Visit

Arena Stage

Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow (Artistic Director), Chris Jennings (Executive Director), and Madison Wells Live are pleased to announce that following a successful, twice-extended run, Jaja's African Hair Braiding, written by Jocelyn Bioh ( School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play) and directed by Whitney White (Our Dear Dead Drug Lord) will be presented at three theatres across the country. Performances begin on September 6, 2024 at Arena Stage , November 8 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and January 14, 2025 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Jaja's African Hair Braiding was produced on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club and Madison Wells Live with LaChanze and Taraji P. Henson.

This tour is produced in association with Madison Wells Live and LaChanze.

Critics said:

"WICKEDLY ENTERTAINING! Perhaps not since ‘Hair' itself have flowing locks and what are attached to them made such a becoming impression onstage." – The Washington Post

"HOT & HILARIOUS AND RIOTOUSLY FUNNY! Jaja's is a buffet of delights, full of treasurable moments when the drama feels tightly woven with the comedy." – The New York Times

"WAVES OF GLEE ROLL THROUGH THE AUDIENCE on the regular. People are cackling, downright screaming with delight. There's something exhilarating about listening to people snap and holler and cheer not because they're seeing someone famous but because they're seeing someone they know." – New York Magazine

"BRILLIANT! A powerful tale about joy, dreams, societal and familial expectations, community, politics, loss, and sisterhood." – Entertainment Weekly

"BRISTLING WITH WIT AND HUMOR, JAJA'S HAS BOTH STYLE AND SUBSTANCE!" – The Daily Beast

This dazzling world premiere welcomes you into Jaja's bustling hair braiding shop in Harlem where every day, a lively and eclectic group of West African immigrant hair braiders are creating masterpieces on the heads of neighborhood women. During one sweltering summer day, love will blossom, dreams will flourish and secrets will be revealed. The uncertainty of their circumstances simmers below the surface of their lives and when it boils over, it forces this tight-knit community to confront what it means to be an outsider on the edge of the place they call home. This extraordinary new play is by the award winning Ghanaian-American playwright Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play) and will be directed by Obie winner Whitney White (Our Dear Dead Drug Lord).

The 2022-23 season marked Lynne Meadow's 50th anniversary as Artistic Director of Manhattan Theatre Club. Meadow was joined in summer 2023 by Chris Jennings, MTC's new Executive Director. MTC's mission, which Meadow created in 1972 and has implemented over five decades of award-winning theatrical productions, is to develop and present new work in a dynamic, supportive environment; to identify and collaborate with the most promising new as well as seasoned, accomplished artists; and to produce a diverse repertoire of innovative, entertaining, and thought-provoking plays and musicals by American and international playwrights. Since 1989, MTC Education, which uses the power of live theatre and playwriting to awaken minds, ignite imaginations, open hearts, and change lives, has also been an important corollary to MTC's work, reaching thousands of students and educators worldwide each season.

Since its beginnings on East 73rd Street in New York City, MTC has grown from a small off-off-Broadway showcase theatre into one of the country's most prestigious and award-winning producing companies, creating over 600 world, American, New York and Broadway premieres. MTC productions have earned 7 Pulitzer Prizes, 28 Tony Awards, 50 Drama Desk Awards and 49 Obie Awards amongst many other honors. MTC has homes on Broadway at its Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and Off-Broadway at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). MTC is an anti-racist organization that respects and honors all voices, and upholds the values of community and equity. For more information, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

ABOUT ARENA STAGE

The first racially integrated theater in our nation's capital and a pioneer of the regional theater movement, Arena Stage was founded on August 16, 1950, in Washington, D.C., by Zelda Fichandler, Tom Fichandler, and Edward Mangum. Today—nearly 75 years later—Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is a national center dedicated to American voices and artists. We produce plays of all that is passionate, profound, deep, and dangerous in the American spirit, and present diverse and ground-breaking work from some of the best artists around the country. Consistently contributing to the American theatrical lexicon by commissioning and developing new plays, Arena Stage impacts the lives of over 10,000 students annually through its work in community engagement and serves a diverse annual audience of more than 300,000. arenastage.org

ABOUT BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE
Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its ambition, relevance, and excellence, as well as its adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. Over 6 million people have enjoyed more than 500 shows at Berkeley Rep, including 85 world premieres. Berkeley Rep shows have gone on to win 8 Tony Awards, 9 Obie Awards, 11 Drama Desk Awards, 1 Grammy Award, 1 Pulitzer Prize, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Through its annual seven-play season, together with up to four special event presentations, Berkeley Rep invites audiences to enjoy an eclectic range of theatrical experiences featuring diverse artistic voices, themes, and perspectives. To formalize, enhance, and expand the processes by which Berkeley Rep makes theatre, The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work was launched in 2012. Serving some 20,000 people a year, Berkeley Rep's School of Theatre ensures broad access to dynamic arts educational activities, especially for Bay Area youth, and provides immersive training for current and future theatre makers. In 2021, Berkeley Rep launched In Dialogue, a program that places its theatre-making skills and resources in service of the community. Using storytelling as an anchor, In Dialogue is developing long-term collaborations with local, socially centered organizations, as well as educating and activating our audiences around organizations whose work aligns with the themes of our productions. Berkeley Rep's bustling facilities—which include the 600-seat Roda Theatre, 400-seat Peet's Theatre, Medak Center, and a spacious campus in West Berkeley—are helping revitalize a renowned city. Learn more at berkeleyrep.org .

ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) produces a bold and innovative year-round season that features Shakespeare, original plays, musicals, family programming, and international theatrical events under the leadership of Artistic Director Edward Hall and Executive Director Kimberly Motes. Located on Chicago's iconic Navy Pier, CST's campus features the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater, The Yard, and the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater Upstairs. A national leader in the field, the Theater's arts-in-literacy programs support the work in classrooms across the region for tens of thousands of students each year by bringing complex texts to life onstage and through professional learning opportunities for teachers. In Spring 2024, three CST-originated productions can be seen on Broadway: Illinoise, which saw a sold-out press premiere at CST earlier this year; The Notebook, which had its world premiere at CST in 2022; and CST's North American premiere of SIX, also on tour across the US and Canada. Onstage, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is committed to serving as a cultural center—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire. chicagoshakes.com

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