KCMPT announces its 2021-2022 season, “Still Standing: Black Excellence in the Wake.”
For Immediate Release: KC Melting Pot Theatre announces the 2021-2022 Season
The season selection invites audiences to explore the social, material, and emotional impact of converging pandemics on Black families. “As people of the African diaspora sort through the rubble of converging racial and health pandemics, they must do so in a climate of anti-blackness that impacts every aspect of life for Black families.” states Artistic Director Nicole Hodges Persley. “We want our audiences to safely reconnect in the aftermath as we come together to reconcile who we are to one another as families pick up the pieces and decide to mourn, heal and build futures that are equitable and allow all communities to thrive.”
The season is bookended with two powerful plays by Lewis Morrow whose hyperreal focus on African American communities in Kansas City has sharp dialogue, quick wit, and complex characters reminiscent of August Wilson’s ten-play cycle. KCMPT’s 2021-2022 season opens with his Baybra’s Tulips, a compelling family drama that pivots around Baybra, an African American man returning home after a 10-year stint in prison to live with his sister, Tellulah, and her born-again Christian husband Charles. Estranged from his daughter who was an infant when he was sentenced, Baybra struggles to reconnect with the world that seemingly left him behind. Faced with the reality of his present and the secrets of his sister’s past, Baybra reaches a crossroads where vengeance and the desire to build a new life crash head-on into the fate of the family.
The second play of the season is August Wilson’s classic Two Trains Running, the 7th play in his ten-part series. Two Trains takes place in the 1960s against the backdrop of a rumbling Civil Rights Movement, the recent assassination of Malcolm X, and gentrification encroaching on Black communities. As the community awaits the funeral of “Prophet Samuel,” a local reverend, Memphis Lee fights to keep his restaurant alive with the threat of “urban renewal.” As the Black community reels from the impact of Civil Rights and community leaders’ deaths and urban renewal’s grip on the Pittsburgh community, the next generation of community freedom fighters, Sterling and Risa, work to help Memphis save his business from the government that continues to double down on racist practices against African Americans.
The third selection is Robert O’Hara’sBarbecue,which is a timely comedy that looks into the life of the O’Malley family as they navigate addiction. Two versions of the O’Malley family, one black and one white, navigate the impact of drugs on their real and fictional relationships. When Lille Anne invites her siblings James T, Marie and Adlean to set up for a “BBQ,” which is really an intervention for their sister Barbara, all hell breaks loose when they must face their personal demons to figure out how to save their sister and versions of themselves.
The season closes with Lewis Morrow’s Begetters,a play that focuses on the twilight years of a long married African American couple, Spicer and Norma, whose caustic relationship has begun to rot the lives of their adult children and those they love. As Norma and Spicer wade through the collateral damage of their marriage, they realize the things and people they lose in the wake are irreplaceable.
Each show of the KCMPT 2021-2022 season is directed by a Black woman. KCMPT Founder and Executive Director Harvey Williams states, “Black families navigate systemic inequality daily. This is a fact of life for us. Black women are on the front lines of our communities and are the central storytellers. They are at the forefront of our movements and our healing, yet Black women are contributors who are looked over as directors and leaders. Nicole’s vision to feature four African American women directors in the season fast forwards us in the right direction to changing the narrative about leadership and the women who are leading systemic change in the arts. We are proud to be one of 100 Black theaters in America who are part of The Black Seed grant which is helping cultivate efforts to change the narrative about what American theater looks and sounds like.”
Detailed performance dates and tickets will be available at kcmeltingpot.com.
All productions will be held at:
Just Off Broadway Theatre
3051 Central in Penn Valley Park
Kansas City Mo. 64108
General admission $25.00
Seniors (60+)/Students – $20.00
Community Nights – $15.00 (Wednesday and Thursdays Only)
Group discounts and Press comps available
Tickets can be purchased at www.kcmeltingpot.com or by calling 816-226-8087.
A handling fee is applied to credit/debit card purchases.