National Black Theatre Joins Producing Team for PURLIE VICTORIOUS


Purlie Victorious

Jordanna Brody
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August 10, 2023 2:54 PM

On the heels of their highly celebrated Broadway production of Fat Ham, National Black Theatre will return to Broadway for the second consecutive season. The Tony and Emmy-nominated producers have announced they will be joining the producing team for the upcoming Broadway revival of American comedy Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch by the legendary Ossie Davis. Previews will begin on Thursday, September 7 and opening is set for Wednesday, September 27 at The Music Box Theatre.

We spoke with Sade Lythcott, the CEO of National Black Theatre, and Jonathan McCrory, their Executive Artistic Director, about what it means to be part of the producing team for Purlie Victorious. Lythcott shared about her personal connection to the play, since her mother and NBT founder, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, collaborated with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, with Purlie Victorious marking where Dr. Teer "found their love of theatre and the love of community," which has continued on within the organization for the last 60+ years. McCrory added that "Ossie always wanted Purlie Victorious to be considered an American classic. And we, in this very moment, get to complete the sentence," with the first Broadway revival of the play, and its first time back on Broadway in over 60 years.

Tony & Grammy Award winner and Academy & Emmy Award nominee Leslie Odom, Jr. will star as Purlie Victorious Judson alongside Vanessa Bell Calloway as Idella Landy, Billy Eugene Jones as Gitlow Judson, Noah Pyzik as Deputy, Noah Robbins as Charlie Cotchipee, Jay O. Sanders as Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee, Heather Alicia Simms as Missy Judson, Bill Timoney as Sheriff, and Tony Award nominee Kara Young as Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins. Direction is by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon. The play marks Odom’s return to Broadway afterwinning the Tony for his iconic performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton.

The producing team is led by Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, Irene Gandy, Willette and Manny Klausner, Kayla Greenspan and Leslie Odom, Jr., making his Broadway producing debut.

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch is the rousing, laugh-filled comedy by Ossie Davis that tells the story of a Black preacher’s machinations to reclaim his inheritance and win back his church. The play premiered on Broadway in 1961 at the Cort Theatre (now the James Earl Jones Theatre), directed by Howard Da Silva, and starred Ossie Davis as Purlie Victorious Judson and his wife and frequent collaborator, Ruby Dee as Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins. Original cast members also included: Alan Alda, Godfrey Cambridge, Sorrell Booke, and Beah Richards. For its 100th performance, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the company and celebrated the milestone with them.

The creative team will feature scenic design by Tony Award winner Derek McLane, costume design by Tony Award nominee Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Drama Desk Award nominee Adam Honoré, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, casting by The Telsey Office, and Ioana Alfonson is the associate director.

For more information and tickets, click here.

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Jordanna Brody

Originally from South Florida, Jordanna Brody graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Theatre Education and Performance in 2019. Her experience teaching, performing, directing, and working behind the scenes informs her perspective on theatre in every way. She is passionate about uplifting marginalized voices and innovative theatrical experiences.