Kansas City's Unicorn Theater and Gem Theater will co-produce a revival of Having Our Say at the Gem May 14-16. The two stars of the Sept. 1998 Unicorn production, Jacquee Gafford and Karen Cline-Wright, play Bessie Delany and Sadie Delany, respectively.
Based on the best-selling book "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years," the play tells the true story of two African-American girls born to former slaves in the 1800s, who live through the Northward migration of Southern blacks, the rise of the Klan, two World Wars, a Depression and the Civil Rights movement. The show was nominated for three Tony Awards and played 302 performances at the Booth Theatre on Broadway.
Sadie Delany died Jan. 25 while sleeping in her Mt. Vernon, NY, home, a family spokesperson said. She was 109. Bessie Delany, the admittedly saltier sister of the two, a former dentist, died in 1995 at age 104. Sadie Delany, the more positive and optimistic sister, was a longtime teacher in the New York City school system.
Playwright Emily Mann and Broadway producers Camille O. Cosby and Judith Rutherford James, on location in Charlotte, NC, for the filming of the play's TV movie version, issued a joint statement: "The best tribute we can pay to Miss Sadie Delany and Dr. Bessie Delany is to honor the memory of what they were..."
A national tour of Having Our Say starring Lizan Mitchell (Bessie) and Micki Grant (Sadie) played in 1996-97, under Mann's direction, and McCarter sent a production to the Market Theatre in South Africa in 1998. There was also a sitdown production starring Mitchell and Francis Foster at the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago in spring 1996. It has since become a hot property -- both for its multicultural content and its affordable two-person cast -- in American regional theaters. According to the regional theater organization, Theatre Communications Group, Having Our Say is one of the 10 most-produced scripts in its membership this season.
Tickets for Having Our Say are available by calling the Unicorn Box Office at (816) 531-PLAY. The Gem Theatre is located at 18th and Vine.