A.R.T.’s production of The Black Clown, based on the Langston Hughes poem of the same name, begins performances August 31. Directed by Zack Winokur, the production will officially open September 5 at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Davóne Tines (Crossing and Run AMOC! Festival at A.R.T.), who stars in the title role, adapted the poem with Michael Schachter, who penned the original score.
Tines is joined onstage by Sumayya Ali (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 at A.R.T.), Malcolm Armwood (Motown the Musical national tour), Daniel Bellomy (The Deuce), Dawn Bless (Gypsy at Porchlight), LaVon Fisher-Wilson (Disney’s Newsies), Lindsey Hailes (The Lucky Ones at Ars Nova), Evan Tyrone Martin (Duke Ellington’s Greatest Hits at Music Theater Works), Jhardon DiShon Milton (A Bronx Tale), Brandon Michael Nase (Ragtime at Tulane Summer Music Theatre), Amber Barbee Pickens (Paramour), Jamar Williams (Burn All Night at A.R.T.), and Hailee Kaleem Wright (Hairspray with Jersey Shore Productions).
Billed as a “music theatre experience,” The Black Clown fuses vaudeville, opera, jazz, and spirituals to bring Hughes’ verse to life onstage to animate a Black man’s resilience against a legacy of oppression.
Tines says, “Langston Hughes’ expansive and penetrating engagement with the life of the other has been a guiding salve since I was first introduced to his work in elementary school. This production provides the opportunity to harness Hughes’ words and my life experience as a Black man to claim humanity for myself, my race, and all people.”
Performances continue through September 23.
The production also has choreography by Chanel DaSilva, music direction by Jaret Landon, scenic and costume design by Carlos Soto, lighting design by John Torres, and sound design by Kai Harada.
(Updated August 31, 2018)