Grace makes its world premiere at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. with performances from March 19-May 14. Obie winner Nikkole Salter co-wrote the book for the musical exploring African-American culinary tradition with Nolan Williams, Jr., who also provides music and lyrics for the new work.
The production's cast features David Hughey, Arica Jackson, Raquel Jennings, Rayshun Lamarr, Jarran Muse, Solomon Parker, Nova Y. Payton, Virginia Woodruff, with understudies LaDonna Burns, Jay Frisby, Duawne Starling, and Kai Brittani White.
Along with exploring Black culinary history, Grace also explores the challenges faced by Black-owned businesses by following the Minton family as they gather to mourn the loss of their matriarch and make decisions about what to do with the family's restaurant in a changing Philadelphia neighborhood.
READ: Nolan Williams Jr. Explores the Intersection of African American Food Traditions and Theatre in Grace
“Grace is ultimately a story about culture," says Willams in a statement. "It raises questions about how we preserve and honor culture and contemplates the myriad of ways in which culture is lost, disregarded or misrepresented. Now, more than ever, this is an important conversation for us to engage in.”
Serving on the creative team are director and choreographer Robert Barry Fleming, scenic designer Jason Ardizzone-West, costume designer Dominique Fawn Hill, lighting designer Zavier Pierce, sound designer David Budries, hair and wig designer Nikiya Mathis, dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers, creative consultant Sheldon Epps. Williams also serves as music director. Orchestrations are by Joseph Joubert. Jessica R. Aguilar, Craig A. Horness, and Taryn Friend are stage managers.
Williams and Salter have previously collaborated on The Nolan Williams Project, an early iteration of Grace, performed in 2018 at Cleveland Playhouse for the 13th Annual New Ground Theatre Festival.
The production runs at Ford's Theatre by special arrangement with Dale Mott/Edgewood (Thoughts of a Colored Man, A Strange Loop) and NEWorks Productions.