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'Jaja's African Hair Braiding' sets full Broadway cast

The new comedy play by Jocelyn Bioh, in her Broadway writing debut, will begin performances September 12 at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

Welcome to the salon, everyone! Manhattan Theatre Club has set the full cast for its production of Jocelyn Bioh's Jaja's African Hair Braiding on Broadway. The world-premiere play will begin performances September 12 ahead of an October 3 opening night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

The complete cast includes Brittany Adebumola, Maechi Aharanwa, Rachel Christopher, Kalyne Coleman, Somi Kakoma, Lakisha May, Nana Mensah, Michael Oloyede, Dominique Thorne, and Zenzi Williams.

The creative team, led by Obie Award-winning director Whitney White in her Broadway debut, includes set designer David Zinn, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Jiyoun Chang, sound designer and composer Justin Ellington, video designer Stefania Bulbarella, hair and wig designer Nikiya Mathis, and dialect and vocal coach Dawn-Elin Fraser.

Jaja's African Hair Braiding takes place at the title Harlem salon on one sweltering summer day. As its staff of West African immigrant women do hair and talk about love, hopes, and dreams, they also reckon with the ever-growing sense of becoming outsiders in the neighborhood they've always called home.

Bioh makes her Broadway playwriting debut with Jaja's African Hair Braiding. She is best known for her Drama Desk Award-winning School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play and her Shakespeare in the Park adaptation of Merry Wives.

Photo credit: (left to right, from top) Brittany Adebumola, Maechi Aharanwa, Rachel Christopher, Kalyne Coleman, Somi Kakoma, Lakisha May, Nana Mensah, Michael Oloyede, Dominique Thorne, and Zenzi Williams. (Photos courtesy of production)

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