Sheldon Best, seen Off-Broadway in The Public Theater's Romeo and Juliet as well as in the LCT3 production of brownsvillesong: b-side for tray, will lead the cast of the world premiere of Sugar in Our Wounds by Donja R. Love at Manhattan Theatre Club this June.
The play, which is the recipient of this year's prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, is part of Love's trilogy of plays that explore queer love at pivotal moments in Black history.
Set on a plantation during the Civil War, a mystical tree stretches toward heaven and protects James (Best), a young slave who reads newspapers about the imminent possibility of freedom. When a brooding stranger arrives, James and his makeshift family take the man in—the start of an unexpected bond and striking romance.
Sugar in Our Wounds, directed by Saheem Ali (Twelfth Night for the Public Theater’s Mobile Unit), will begin previews at The Studio at Stage II – Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Series at New York City Center – Stage II June 5 ahead of a June 19 opening night.
Completing the cast will be Stephanie Berry (Drowning Crow, The Hummingbird's Tour) as Aunt Mama, Fern Cozine (Off-Broadway debut) as Isabel, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time) as Mattie, and ChinazaUche (Sojourners/Her Portmanteau, Nigerian Prince) as Henry.
Love is a poet, filmmaker, and playwright. He is The Lark's 2016 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow, The Playwrights Realm's 2016-2017 Writing Fellow, the 2016 Arch and Bruce Brown Playwriting Award recipient, and a Eugene O'Neill 2017 National Playwrights Conference finalist. His plays include The Love Plays (Sugar in Our Wounds, Fireflies, in the Middle) and Soft; Or the Dead N---- Poem.
On May 16, in correlation with the world premiere of Sugar in Our Wonds, Love and Oscar-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney will participate in the Theater Talks series at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture, exploring the impact of black queer voices in theatre and the power of diverse narratives to propel humanity forward. Register here.
Sugar in Our Wounds’ creative team includes Arnulfo Maldonado (scenic design), Dede Ayite (costume design), Jason Lyons (lighting design), Palmer Hefferan (sound design), Michael Thurber (original music), Darrell Grand Moultrie (movement), and Cookie Jordan (hair and makeup design).
Tickets are available at nycitycenter.org, by calling CityTix at (212) 581-1212, or by visiting the New York City Center box office, located at 131 West 55th Street, New York.