Lackawanna Blues

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’s his talent for vividly conjuring a way of life that enthralls.”

Tickets to Lackawanna Blues are on sale now.

This show has now closed. See our list of theatre tickets for shows currently on sale.

Running time: 
90 minutes (no intermission)
2 images
About Lackawanna Blues:

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.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Songs by:
Bill Sims Jr.
Cast list:
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Lackawanna Blues Performance Dates & Times
Previews from: 
September 14, 2021
Opening date: 
October 7, 2021
Available from: 
September 14, 2021
Booking to: 
November 12, 2021
November 12, 2021

Performance schedules for all shows are subject to change.

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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

Our Lackawanna Blues Review

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.