Casting and dates have been announced for the New York Theatre Workshop production of Aleshea Harris's On Sugarland, directed by Whitney White. Off-Broadway performances begin February 2 ahead of a February 13 opening night, and the show will run through March 13.
On Sugarland, by Aleshea Harris, premieres at New York Theatre Workshop as part of the 2021-2022 Off-Broadway season. On Sugarland tickets will be available on New York Theatre Guide soon.
In the On Sugarland play, the titular town holds years of cultural history. It's unassuming from the outside — Sugarland comprises three mobile homes in a cul-de-sac — but those houses are stuffed with folk art, keepsakes, and treasures from many generations past. A generational divide is at the heart of the play's story, too — between 12-year-old Sadie, who opens the play telling the audience a legend of her great-great-great grandmother and professing that she can reanimate the dead; and Odella, her oft-drunk aunt who thinks little of Sadie's intelligence, shrinking her to make herself feel more powerful in the face of her own shortcomings.
Missing from the intergenerational equation is Sadie's mother, who Sadie knows little about. She uses her talents to call on her matriarchal ancestors, and the rest of the Sugarland residents also gather each day to call upon the dead. On Sugarland is a story of spiritual survival and the shared struggle and resilience of Black women across generations, as well as "a ritual reclamation of timeless grief."
On Sugarland Off-Broadway is the third show by playwright Aleshea Harris to premiere in New York in the past four years. Her 2016 play Is God Is opened off Broadway at Soho Rep in 2018, two years after the play won the American Playwriting Foundation's Relentless Award, and the production received three Obie Awards. Also in 2018, her "play/pageant/ritual" What to Send Up When It Goes Down made its New York debut with The Movement Theatre Company and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. The show was includes as part of The Public Theater's 2020 Under the Radar Festival and was just performed at Playwrights Horizons in fall 2021.
Director Whitney White is a frequent collaborator with Harris, having helmed What to Send Up at Playwrights Horizons and The Public. In New York, some of her recent directing work includes the filmed theatrical experience Semblance in 2021, For All the Women Who Thought they Were Mad at Soho Rep in 2019, and the world premiere of Our Dear Dead Drug Lord at WP Theater in 2019, earning her an Obie Award for directing.
Tickets to On Sugarland will be available soon.
Sugarland is on precarious soil—three mobile homes line a southern cul-de-sac replete with years and years of decorative folk-art treasures and keepsakes. Twelve-year-old Sadie calls on generations of matriarchal ancestors to find the truth about her mother while the denizens of Sugarland rise each day to holler for the dead—conscripted soldiers lost to a greedy war—in a ritual reclamation of timeless grief. This sweeping new work from is at once a spectacular pageant and spirited meditation on remarkable people transcending difficult circumstances. On Sugarland brings joyous life to communal healing with a glorious ensemble of 14 performers in a production directed by Whitney White.