Peccadillo previously presented the play at its Bank Street Theatre and much of that cast is returning, including Kim Crawford, Mary Maybank, Bergin Michaels, Monica Stith, James Watson, Mariama Whyte and Jennifer McCabe. Joining them cast will be Ty Jones, Kristen Maloney, Rachel McKinney and Vinie Burrows.
The play tells the story of Ella Downey and Jim Harris, a white woman and a black man who fall in love amid the poverty and racism of Manhattan’s notorious Five Points district. Paul Robeson and Mary Blair starred in the original 1924 production at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village.
Because of its depiction of intimate relations between whites and blacks (Robesman kisses Blair's hand at one point), the show caused a furor upon opening. The Mayor’s Office threatened legal action and O'Neill was hounded with reporters questions about his views on race. The newspapers ran largely indignant stories about the production almost daily, until O'Neill was impelled to issue a lengthy press release in response. Also, O'Neill and cast members were the subject of threats from the Ku Klux Klan.
The Mayor's Office did finally try to shut the show down by denying the required licenses to the production for the employment of child actors. The Playhouse dealt with the problem by having someone read the first scene, which featured the children, aloud before the curtain. The rest of the play was then presented.
Tickets will be $30, and can be purchased by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200; tickets are also available online at www.ticketcentral.org.