NY's Target Margin Theatre continues its season of "Lost American Classics" with Mamba's Daughters by Dorothy and DuBose Heyward at HERE. The show, which began previews Feb. 18, opened Feb. 24 and finishes its scheduled run Mar. 14.
This is the first revival ofMamba's Daughters since its premiere on Broadway in 1939 starring Ethel Waters, Jose Ferrer, and Alberta Hunter. David Herskovitz (Strictly Dishonorable, South, and Mother Courage) will direct the production.
The drama, set against a background of the Gullah community in 1930s South Carolina, is the story of Hagar, who commits a crime under extenuating circumstances and is subsequently exiled from her home in Charleston to an island plantation. In her absence, Hagar's daughter -- who has inherited her mother's beautiful singing voice and ends up becoming a celebrated radio singer -- is raised by the strong and dignified family matriarch, Mamba. The story incorporates the spirituals "Come Out de Wilderness," "Don' Ya Mind What De Debil Do," and "Siporatin' Line" as well as "Lonesome Walls," which Jerome Kern wrote specifically for the 1939 Broadway production.
Although the play was criticized by some as being too melodramatic, it achieved a degree of success on Broadway, where it ran for 162 performances and -- following a triumphant run in Chicago -- returned to the Great White Way for an additional 17 performances in 1940.
Mamba's Daughters was a dramatization of DuBose Heyward's novel of the same name. DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, Southern bluebloods, wrote the play Porgy, which DuBose later co-adapted with Ira Gershwin for George Gershwin's operatic masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. Mamba's Daughters is being performed at HERE, 145 Sixth Ave. For tickets, $12-$15, call (212) 647-0202.