Manhattan Theatre Club's extended world premiere of Jocelyn Bioh's Jaja’s African Hair Braiding will live stream its final week of performances November 14-19 worldwide from Broadway's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Produced in partnership with The League of Live Stream Theater, the streams will be available via LOLST.org.
“Reaching the widest audience possible has always been my goal with this play and I’m so thrilled that that will now be possible," says Bioh. "I can’t wait for audiences far and wide to come to the shop!”
“Live streaming theatre begins to bridge the gap between traditional theatre audiences and those who have not typically been part of the Broadway experience,” adds LOLST Co-Founder Jim Augustine. “This includes those who have never been to a Broadway show and those who have never even considered it, individuals in correctional facilities, classrooms, underserved communities, and every individual impacted by the challenges of in-person theatre.”
The play will be Manhattan Theatre Club's first production to stream live, following in the footsteps of Second Stage's Clyde's and Between Riverside and Crazy and Roundabout Theatre Company's She Loves Me and Holiday Inn.
The new work opened on Broadway October 3. Read the reviews here.
Bioh's play is set in a Harlem hair braiding salon where a hot summer day brings out some love, dreams, and secrets. The cast features Brittany Adebumola (The Other Black Girl) as Miriam, Maechi Aharanwa (The Misanthrope) as Ndidi, Rachel Christopher (for colored girls who have considered suicide...) as Jennifer, Kalyne Coleman (So Help Me Todd) as Chrissy/Michelle/LaNiece, Somi Kakoma (Dreaming Zenzile) as Jaja, Lakisha May (Skeleton Crew) as Vanessa/Radia/Sheila, Nana Mensah (Presumed Innocent) as Aminata, Michael Oloyede (Inanimate) as James/Sock Man/DVD Man/Jewelry Man, Dominique Thorne (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) as Marie, and Zenzi Williams (Mobile Unit of Henry V) as Bea.
Rounding out the company are understudies Victoire Charles, Abigail C. Onwunali, Onye Eme-Akwari, Morgan Scott, and Rachel Christopher. Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting's Kelly Gillespie and Erica Hart.
Directed by Whitney White, the production features scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang, original music and sound design by Justin Ellington, video design by Stefania Bulbarella, and hair and wig design by Nikiya Mathis. Dawn-Elin Fraser is dialect and voice coach, and Melanie J. Lisby is production stage manager.
Some A-list names joined MTC on the production's producing team, including LaChanze, Taraji P. Henson, and Madison Wells Live. The credit is Henson's Broadway producing debut, while LaChanze has previously produced Topdog/Underdog, Kimberly Akimbo, and Here Lies Love. Already a Tony winner for her performance in the original Broadway production of The Color Purple, LaChanze became a three-time Tony winner following 2023 Tony wins in production categories for Topdog/Underdog and Kimberly Akimbo.