In his re-conception 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, which first debuted at Baltimore's Center Stage Jan. 7-Feb. 13, will travel on to Harlem for five performances March 15-18.
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 and 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."
Portraying the seven woman are Carol Jean Lewis (Green), Eleanor McCoy (Red), Lizan Mitchell (Purple), Novella Nelson (Brown), J. Ieasha Prime (Yellow), Katherine J. Smith (Orange) and Brenda Thomas (Blue). Lewis appeared in Purlie, Daddy Goodness and Sarava and in "Beloved" and "Quiz Show." Mitchell and Nelson were both on Broadway in Having Our Say.
Tickets are $25-$18. Schomburg Center is located at 515 Lenox Avenue at 135 Street. For more information, call (212) 491-2206.
-- By Christine Ehren