In a reconception of Ntozake Shange's "choreopoem" for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf [sic], Tony Award winning director-choreographer George Faison (The Wiz) has cast the show with an eye towards age. The seven African Americans, called only by the color of their costumes, are older women who have lived life and are looking back on it, imparting what they have learned to their younger sisters. This staging opens at Baltimore's Center Stage Jan. 12 with a run through Feb. 13. Previews began Jan. 7.
When for colored girls debuted on Broadway in September 1976, the series of movement based poems was nominated for two Tony Awards including Best Play, winning the Best Featured Actress nod for Trazana Beverly as the Woman in Red. The pieces travel through hard and healing life experiences from "latent rapists" to "somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff" to "a laying on of hands."
The Center Stage has assembled seven veteran African American actresses for the cast. Janet Huber (Red) played Aunt Vivian on "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and performed in the original company of Cats. Carol Jean Lewis (Green) appeared in Purlie, Daddy Goodness and Sarava and in "Beloved" and "Quiz Show." Lizan Mitchell (Purple) and Novella Nelson (Brown) were both on Broadway in Having Our Say. Also in the cast are J. Ieasha Prime (Yellow), Katherine J. Smith (Orange) and Brenda Thomas (Blue).
In colored girls design team are Atlantic Theatre set designer Walt Spangler, Beauty and The Beast and Into the Woods costumer Ann Marie Hould-Ward, lighting designer Tom Sturge and sound designer Janet Kalas.