Setting off fireworks may be illegal in Broadway theatres, but Ruben Santiago-Hudson unleashes them continually in the Manhattan Theatre Club production at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, as he seamlessly transforms into 24 individuals from his childhood as a ward in a rooming house in Lackawanna, New York ― all this while meticulously embodying their every hope and disaster.
Lackawanna Blues Tickets
This show has closed.
Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson writes, directs and stars in Lackawanna Blues, a moving, inspiring solo work that will re-open Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Lackawanna Blues tickets in New York are on sale now.
Lackawanna Blues traces Santiago-Hudson’s relationship with “Miss Rachel” — or Nanny, as she was affectionately known — the kind, big-hearted woman who raised him. Nanny opened the doors of her boarding house outside Buffalo, New York to anyone and everyone in need of help, including a young Santiago-Hudson. Now he plays Nanny and over 20 other characters in his remembrance of the compassionate, caring woman who raised him.
Santiago-Hudson’s play celebrates the enduring power of compassion, and creates a richly textured reminisce of his youth that resonates powerfully today. Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Junior Mack joins him on-stage to perform original compositions by acclaimed blues composer Bill Sims, Jr.
Lackawanna Blues premiered off-Broadway at The Public Theater in 2001, also performed then by Santiago-Hudson, joined on stage by composer Sims, Jr. Both won OBIE Award special citations for the production. It was later adapted into a film for HBO, with legendary stage actress S. Epatha Merkerson as Nanny. Lackawanna Blues now makes its Broadway debut in the fall 2021 season.
The New York Times described Santiago-Hudson’s performance in 2001 as a “virtuoso turn,” and the play as a “winning effort” which conjures “a community where everyone is welcome and no one should feel out of place.” Reviewing a 2019 revival, Charles McNulty in The Los Angeles Times said Santiago-Hudson “conjures multitudes with his rich memory and malleable voice...it’s his talent for vividly conjuring a way of life that enthralls.”
Tickets to Lackawanna Blues are on sale now.
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In a 1950s boarding house outside Buffalo, Nanny, as she was affectionately called, opened her doors to anyone and everyone in need of kindness, hope, compassion and care.