Trouble in Mind

Trouble in Mind makes its Broadway debut presented by Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre. Alice Childress’s powerful and prescient drama, starring Tony Award winner LaChanze, finally reaches Broadway 64 years after an expected transfer was canceled. Trouble In Mind has now closed on Broadway.

When Wiletta, a stalwart Black actress of the stage, is cast as the lead in a new Broadway production, she’s thrilled just to be getting work. While other Black cast members struggle with painful stereotypes in the play, a Southern melodrama written and directed by white men, she encourages them to grin and bear it. Yet as rehearsals grow tense and the cast faces worsening mistreatment, Wiletta hits her limit with the white-run industry to which she’s devoted her life.

Alice Childress’s wry and witty examination of racism, identity, and ego in the world of New York theatre receives its long overdue Broadway debut. Childress’s drama debuted off Broadway in 1955 at Stella Holt's Greenwich Mews Theatre, where it ran for 91 performances to critical acclaim. In a startling turn of life echoing art, producers refused to transfer Trouble in Mind to Broadway unless the ending was changed to something more upbeat. Childress refused, and the transfer, which would have made her the first African-American woman playwright in Broadway’s history, never came to fruition. 

Trouble in Mind has received a resurgence of interest and regional revivals in recent years, including a celebrated production at Two River Theater, New Jersey in 2014. In an appreciation entitled “Alice Childress Didn’t Defang Her Plays, and Producers Said No,” New York Magazine theater critic Helen Shaw wrote: “Any list of great American playwrights is incomplete without Alice Childress …. Everyone should be reviving Childress’s work.” Roundabout Theatre now heeds the call, giving Trouble in Mind its Broadway debut.

Reviewing the revival at Two River Theater in The New York Times, critic Michael Sommers declared it a “rich, unsettling play that lives up to its title ... Trouble in Mind lingers in one’s memory long after its conclusion.” 

A founding member of the American Negro Theatre, Childress was the first Black female playwright to be produced professionally in New York with her play Gold Through the Trees in 1952.

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

Running time: 
2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission
About Trouble in Mind:

 At the forefront of both the Civil Rights and feminist movements, the prescient Trouble in Mind was announced to move to Broadway in a production that never came to be.

Alice Childress
Roundabout Theatre Company
Charles Randolph-Wright
Kathy A. Perkins
Dan Moses Schreier
Arnulfo Maldonado
Emilio Sosa
Cast list:
LaChanze (as Wiletta), Michael Zegen (as Al Manners), Chuck Cooper (as Sheldon Forrester), Danielle Campbell (as Judy Sears), Jessica Frances Dukes (as Millie Davis), Brandon Micheal Hall (as John Nevins), Simon Jones (as Henry), Alex Mickiewicz (as Eddie Fenton), Don Stephenson (as Bill O’Wray)
Trouble in Mind Performance Dates & Times
Previews from: 
October 29, 2021
Opening date: 
November 10, 2021
Available from: 
October 29, 2021
Booking to: 
January 9, 2022
January 9, 2022

Performance schedules for all shows are subject to change.

American Airlines Theatre - Roundabout Theatre Company

227 West 42nd Street (between 7th & 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10036
Nearest subway station:
Times Square - 42nd Street station

Latest Trouble in Mind News & Features

'Trouble in Mind' offers $19.57 digital rush tickets on TodayTix
October 20, 2021

Trouble in Mind, Alice Childress's meta-theatrical play about the Broadway industry, will host a rush ticket program through TodayTix for its run at the American Airlines Theatre. To reflect the year the play was originally meant to premiere on Broadway, rush tickets will be priced at $19.57 each.

Photo credit: LaChanze (Photo courtesy of Polk & Co)
LaChanze to star in ‘Trouble in Mind’ at American Airlines Theatre
July 9, 2021

‘Trouble in Mind’ begins performances in October.

Our Trouble in Mind Review

I once asked a famed Tony-winning Broadway director, what is the point of a revival? Is it to tell us how far we’ve come or to tell us how far we have to go? The answer that the director gave me was a simple yes. If the same question was asked about the glorious revival, and belated Broadway debut, of Alice Childress’s play Trouble in Mind, the answer would definitely be a resounding yes.