Choir Boy

Manhattan Theatre Club continues its 2018-2019 season with the Broadway premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, directed by Drama Desk Award nominee Trip Cullman, which was originally staged off-Broadway in a sold-out, twice-extended, critically acclaimed run at MTC's The Studio at Stage II at New York City Center in the summer of 2013.

Choir Boy marks the Broadway debut for playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, who is perhaps best known for his 2017 Oscar-winning screenplay for the film "Moonlight". Similar to that emotionally charged movie, Choir Boy also follows a gay, African American and his trials and tribulations in finding his place in the world. However, Choir Boy offers a very different setting - the prestigious Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys. Rising Broadway star Jeremy Pope takes on the central role of Pharus, a gifted pupil who rightfully takes his place as the leader of the school's legendary choir. Pharus also happens to be homosexual and of an unapologetic, slightly effeminate manner and McCraney delicately portrays the varied reactions of Pharus' peers and teachers with modern sensibility. From rebuked to tolerated to fully embraced, there is a deep richness to the relationships depicted on stage that both confirm and challenge society's prejudices.

But this is also a play about talent and achievement and Manhattan Theatre Club has assembled a wildly talented group of young, African American actors who breathe life into McCraney's script with remarkable onstage chemistry... and then there's the a cappella singing! The gospel-infused numbers performed by Jeremy Pope and the rest of the cast are nothing shorter than extraordinary, uplifting and exhilarating. With familiar fraternity dance steps and harmonies to die for, these young men blow the roof off the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre at every performance.

Choir Boy is a touching, modern play with the added generous bonus of songs that could well be described as the dark horse of the season. Friendship, faith, fate, family and fraternity all factor in this promising work from a shooting star playwright.  

(Photos by Matthew Murphy)

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Running time: 
1hr 35mins (no intermission)
11 images
About Choir Boy:

For half a century, the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men. One talented student has been waiting for years to take his rightful place as the leader of the legendary gospel choir. But can he make his way through the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?

Child Policy:
Please note that Choir Boy contains scenes of nudity and explicit language.
Tarell Alvin McCraney
Manhattan Theatre Club
Trip Cullman
Peter Kaczorowski
Fitz Patton
David Zinn
David Zinn
Cast list:
Jonathan Burke (as Pharus Jonathan Young), Chuck Cooper (as Headmaster Marrow), Austin Pendleton (as Mr. Pendleton), Nicholas L. Ashe (as Junior Blake), John Clay III (as Anthony Justin “AJ” James), Caleb Eberhardt (as David Heard), and J. Quinton Johnson (as Bobby Marrow), with Daniel Bellomy, Gerald Caesar, Marcus Gladney, and Ryan Jamaal Swain
Other info:
Music Direction & Vocal Arrangements by Jason Michael Webb, Make-up Design by Cookie Jordan, Fight Direction by Thomas Schall, and Movement by Camille A. Brown
Choir Boy Performance Dates & Times
Previews from: 
December 12, 2018
Opening date: 
January 8, 2019
March 10, 2019

Performance schedules for all shows are subject to change.

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre - Manhattan Theatre Club

261 West 47th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10036
Nearest subway station:
49th Street or 50th Street stations

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Our Choir Boy Review

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy is a layered and muscular one-act with music, drama, comedy and a loaded title. Yes, the students of the Charles R. Drew Prep School do sing in excellent harmony and when they dance they dance as one. But when they are not making music, they push, pull and punch at each other emotionally as well as physically. And indeed they are boys, in the sense that they... Read more