Suzan-Lori Parks' Sally & Tom officially opens its world-premiere run at Minnesota's Guthrie Theatre October 7. The production, co-presented with The Public Theater, began performances October 1 and will continue through November 6 on the theatre's McGuire Proscenium Stage.
The new work finds founding father Thomas Jefferson returning to his Monticello plantation home as his relationship with Sally Hemings, sister of his enslaved valet and chef, begins to unfold. Parks has set the story inside a modern theatrical framing device that allows exploration into the parallels between 1790 and today.
The cast includes Kristen Ariza as Luce/Sally, Amari Cheatom as Kwame/James, Sun Mee Chomet as Scout/Polly, Gillian Glasco as Maggie/Mary, Kadeem Ali Harris as Devon/Nathan, Kate Nowlin as Ginger/Patsy, Daniel Petzold as Geoff/Cooper/Carey/Tobias, and Luke Robertson as Mike/Tom.
"In Sally & Tom, I’m embracing two institutions I hold dear—America and theatre—and putting them together in an incisive and joyous atomic super-collider," said Parks in an earlier statement. "We come to know the ways in which Sally Hemings and her other Black family members navigated hard truths of 1790 as well as the ways we are still navigating some of those truths today. We also come to understand how the white Jefferson family embraced some of the less-than-noble truths on which the founding fathers built America."
The production features scenic design by Riccardo Hernández, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Alan C. Edwards, and sound design by Curtis Craig. Carla Steen is resident dramaturg, and Keely Wolter is vocal coach, with Maija García serving as movement director, Mike Rossmy as fight director, Kelsey Rainwater handling intimacy, Karl Alphonso as stage manager, and Olivia Louise Tree Plath as assistant stage manager. Casting is by Jennifer Liestman with McCorkle Casting serving as NYC casting consultant.