Suzan-Lori Parks’ Venus Opens Off-Broadway

Off-Broadway News   Suzan-Lori Parks’ Venus Opens Off-Broadway
Eclipsed star Zainab Jah, Tony nominee John Ellison Conlee, and The Father’s Hannah Cabell star in the Signature Theatre staging.
Zainab Jah Joan Marcus

Suzan-Lori Parks’ play Venus officially opens May 15 at the Signature Theatre. Directed by Obie Award winner Lear deBessonet, the play depicts the real-life journey of Saartjie Baartman, the unfortunate star of 19th century London’s freak-show circuit.

Venus began performances April 15 in The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center, where it is playing through June 4. Obie Award winner Zainab Jah (Eclipsed) stars as Baartman.

The play chronicles the unexpected—and devastating—rise to fame of Baartman, who traveled from southern Africa to London in search of a better life, but became known as “Hottentot Venus” and paraded on the freak-show circuit because of her large buttocks. The play details her relationship with a French scientist, and offers a unique perspective on the way we live and love today.

Rounding out the cast are Hannah Cabell (The Father), Tony Award nominee John Ellison Conlee (The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence), Obie Award winner Randy Danson (Love and Information), Adam Green (The Winter's Tale), Birgit Huppuch (The Moors), Kevin Mambo (The Color Purple), Patrena Murray (The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead), Reynaldo Piniella (The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World), Julian Rozzell (The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World), and Tony Torn (Latter Days).

Flip through photos of the show below:

The production’s creative team consists of scenic designer Matt Saunders, costume designer Emilio Sosa, lighting designer Justin Townsend, sound designer and composer Brandon Wolcott, choreographer Danny Mefford, and fight director Thomas Schall. Evangeline Whitlock is the production stage manager. Casting is by Telsey + Company, Karyn Casl, CSA.

To purchase tickets call Ticket Services at (212) 244-7529 or visit

(Updated May 15, 2017)


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