Regional favorite Crumbs From the Table of Joy now embarks on the second leg of its run at the Arizona Theatre Company. The production first played at the Tucson-based Temple of Music and Art Oct. 14-Nov. 4 (officially opening there Oct. 20). Now Crumbs will skitter over to Phoenix, where it will play Nov. 9-26.
Crumbs From the Table of Joy, told as the coming of age story of Ernestine Crump in 1950s Brooklyn, chronicles the changes an African American family endures as they move from the racist South to the North. While Ernestine and her sister Ermina fall under the spell of their sexually and politically open-minded Aunt Lily, their widower father, Godfrey, falls in love with the German immigrant, Gerte Shulte.
A NAACP nominee for Crumbs, Nottage is the author of Mud, River Stone, Por'knockers and Poof!, a Heideman Award winner. Her newest play, Las Meninas, about the scandalous affair between Louis XIV's Queen and her African servant, was read in Seattle in May.
Portia Johnson, fresh from Broadway's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan with Patrick Stewart, stars as "Aunt" Lily Ann Green. Also in the cast are Nomsa L. Mlambo as Ermina, Alex Morris as Godfrey Crump, Sally Nystuen Vahle (PBS' "Wishbone") as Gerte and Erica N. Tazel (The Public Theatre's The Winter's Tale) as Ernestine.
Reggie Montgomery directs. As an actor, he performed in the original productions of Spunk and The Colored Museum, netting Audelco Best Actor Awards for both. Most recently he appeared on Broadway in The Green Bird and Off-Broadway in the Public's In the Blood. Designing the show are Donald Eastman (sets), Claudia Stephens (costumes), Matthew Frey (lighting) and J.R. Conklin (sound). Elizabeth Lohr is the stage manager.
Tickets are $27-$42. The Herberger Theatre Center is located at 222 East Monroe Street. For information call (602) 256-6995.
-- By Christine Ehren