Hattiloo Theatre TicketsThis Season
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The Theatre

Past Productions

Production History

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6

Hattiloo has amassed an impressive resume of past performances that rivals many professional theatres in much larger metropolitan areas. We are very proud of our production history, and we look forward to many more spectacular seasons to come.

SEASON ONE
(2006-2007)

HOME
22 September - 15 October, 2006
Written by Sam-Art Williams
Directed by Ekundayo Bandele

Sponsored by The Jeniam Foundation with Gene and Carol Katz
Cephus Miles returns home to South Carolina after being jilted, imprisoned as a draft-dodger, and suffering unemployment, drugs, and street-scams in Harlem.


UNIQUELY US: A DRAMATIC DANCE PERFORMANCE
3 November -12 November 2006
Nubian Dance Theatre

A musical theatre production that moves through audiences with the passion of a Sunday sermon and the pulsating rhythms of the Saturday night cabaret, Uniquely Us teaches inside the audience. It is a touching portrayal of characters and music. . .an experience to be enjoyed by all.


THEY SING CHRISTMAS UP IN HARLEM
24 November - 24 December 2006

A Musical by Eric Leroy Wilson
Directed by Dennis Whitehead
Sponsored by Dr. John Lochemes

Harlem, late 1930's, Scrooge, a numbers running miser, has a run in with spirits resembling ‘Bob' Marley, Adapearl, and Aunt Esther. This interpretation of Dickens' classic tale integrates jazz, gospel, and classical works.


LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS
12 January - 4 February 2007

Written by Neil Simon
Directed by Ekundayo Bandele

47 year old Barney Cashman wants to join a sexual revolution before it's too late, but he is a gentle, sober soul with a true-blue wife and absolutely no experience in adultery.


I AIN'T YO UNCLE
23 February - 18 March 2007

Written by Robert Alexander
Directed by Reggie Brown

Old Black stereotypes take Harriet Beecher Stowe to court and draw sharp parallels on matters of race between yesterday and today.


MAHALIA
13 April - 6 May 2007

A Musical by Tom Stolz
Directed by Dennis Whitehead

Including music by various gospel composers as well as hymns and spirituals made famous by Mahalia Jackson, this is a joyous celebration of the life and music of the world's greatest gospel singer. The joy and inspiration of her heartfelt songs provide a counterpoint to the urgent messages delivered by her friend, Martin Luther King, Jr. Standing at his side, Mahalia Jackson became the musical voice of the civil rights movement.


JAR THE FLOOR
1 June - 24 June 2007
Written by Cheryl West
Directed by Tony Horne

Set in suburban Chicago, a college professor, a widowed grandmother, an insecure middle-aged mother, and an overly liberal college student touch on almost every conceivable.

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SEASON TWO
(2007-2008)

PRETTY FIRE
Charlayne Woodard
August 24 - September 9, 2007

Lyrical words tell the stories of two young sisters in Albany, New York; of Ku Klux Klan riders burning a cross during a summer-visit to Georgia. Filled with humor, it takes you on a journey through a world in which the family bond is as strong as steel.

DRACULA
Steven Dietz
October 19 - November 4

“Your fear hemorrhages deliciously within you. ” This new adaptation restores the suspense and seduction of the classic novel. Rich with humor and horror, this play paints a wickedly theatrical picture of Bram Stoker's famous vampire.

FORGET-ME-NOT-CHRISTMAS
Ekundayo Bandele
November 30 - December 23

A slumlord forces those living under his heel to remember a past tragedy on Christmas Eve. This tale of redemption complements the spirit o the season through poetic narrative and African-American folklore.

MACBETH (In partnership with Opera Memphis)
William Shakespeare
January 18 - February 3, 2008

Shakespeare's Scottish tragedy is told within a lively and humorous story-theatre frame. Macbeth and his Lady covet the crown while witches, ghosts, kings and soldiers weep across the landscape, carving out the battle between good and evil.

THE STARRY ROAD TO FREEDOM
Darius Wallace
February 8 - 17

Witness Frederick Douglas transform from a slave into an emancipator, by using courage, literacy, and charisma as his tools.

TOPDOG/UNDERDOG
Susan-Lori Parks
March 14 - 30

Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. This fable tells the story of Lincoln and Booth; two brothers whose names foretell a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.

SPUNK
George C. Wolfe
April 25 - May 11

Utilizing the blues, choral narrative, and dance, three tales focus on men and women trapped inside the “laughin' kind of lovin'…that comes from being human”

* SEASON TWO SPECIAL PEFORMANCES *

THE AUGUST WILSON SONGBOOK
Conceived by Ladrica Menson-Furr & Ekundayo Bandele
September 21 - 23

A collection of songs culled from Wilson's ten-play dramatic cycle. Each character sings of how they either lost their song (identity) or re-discovered it.

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT BIG WOMEN
Emma Crystal, Choreographer
September 28 - 30

Breaking the stereotype that big women can't dance, this well-rounded show is a full-figured good time, you won't want to miss.

THE MAGIC OF KIM EDMONDS
January 4 - 6, 2008

An evening of magic, mind reading, and fantasy. Combining theatrical elements with music, comedy, audience-participation, and cutting-edge illusions.

BALLET ON WHEELS
Theatre of Dance
February 29 - March 2

A “collage” of the company's repertoire, including classical, contemporary and modern dance pieces set to the backdrop of popular R & B, gospel, and jazz.

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SEASON THREE
(2008-2009)

MAHALIA      
Back By Popular Demand
Written by: Tom Stolz        
                                               
August 21 - September 7 

Equal parts gospel musical, biography, and revival meeting, Mahalia creates a spirited look at Mahalia Jackson, "The Queen of Gospel Music," and is guaranteed to lift you out of your seats with such songs as "His Eye is on the Sparrow," "How I Got Over," and "Move On Up a Little Higher. " In Hattiloo's first season, this production brought down the house with praise and foot-stomping.       


FROM THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA                             
Written by Endesha Ida Mae Holland
September 18 - October 5 

This production takes us on the journey through the life of Phelia - a girl born into the depths of poverty in the heart of the segregated South. Phelia finds her painful childhood and reckless adolescence transformed by opportunity and courage as the Civil Rights movement sweeps through the Delta.


ANNIE
Written By Thomas Meehan
Music By Charles Strouse
Lyrics By  Martin Charnin        
                                                   
October 23 - November 2 

Due to the cruel orphanage matron, Miss Hannigan, Annie, a spunky orphan, decides to run away and find her parents. After being captured and returned, billionaire Oliver Warbucks decides to invite an orphan over to his house for Christmas and Annie is chosen. The two quickly hit it off and he agrees to help Annie find her parents. This play includes the songs 'Tomorrow,' 'I Think I'm Going to Like it here,' and many others.


FENCES
Written by August Wilson
November 20 - December 7 

Fences presents a slice-of-life in a black tenement in Pittsburgh. Set in the late 1950s through 1965, the main character, Troy Maxson, struggles for fairness in society, which seems to offer none. In his struggle he builds barriers between himself and his family. Troy also wrestles with the idea of death and claims that he sees death as nothing but a fastball, something he can handle.


IF SCROOGE WAS A BROTHER
Written by Ekundayo Bandele
December 18 - January 4, 2009 

It's Christmas Eve and Eb Scroo is seeking to snuff out the season's cheer by demanding that all debts owed him be satisfied before nightfall. Facing imprisonment or a Christmas without presents and a feast, the residents are desperate. In this urban spin of Dicken's Christmas Carol the ghosts and characters are icons of Black culture and the songs stem from the traditions of gospel, R&B, and even reggae.


* Audience's Pick *

THE COLORED MUSEUM          
Written by George C. Wolfe                                            
January 29 - Febebuary 15

The Colored Museum satirizes the Black experience in America in the 1980's. Although the play is controversial, its comedy is found through satirical, exaggerated  images of black life. The Colored Museum accentuates the extreme stereotypes of Blacks by splitting the show up into eleven vignettes, or museum exhibits.


A TEMPEST
Written by Aime Cesaire                                                              
March 12 - 22

A Tempest was written as a postcolonial response to The Tempest by William Shakespeare. The story is the same: a big storm, an angry Duke who's been usurped by his brother, all the devoted courtesans, and, of course, the natives. This play deals mostly with the natives, Ariel and Caliban. It is Cesaire's comment on the colonization of the "New World. "


* Faith-Based Contest Winner *

BACK TO THE WATER AGAIN
Written by Joyce McMillian
April 2 - 19 

The winner of Hattiloo's first Faith-Based playwriting contest, this tender and often comical play introduces you to four siblings who all grew up as PKs (preacher's kids). Linked by unconditional love, they journey through the hardships that rise from prison life [on both sides of the walls] and struggle to observe the faith that their minister-father and prayerful mother instilled in them.


DON'T BOTHER ME, I CAN'T COPE
Written by Micki Grant
May 7 - 24 

The all-singing, all-dancing show celebrates the Black American experience with a series of pseudo-inspirational tunes focusing on such topics as rat-infested tenements and slumlords, the joy and strife of ghetto life, student protests, black power, and feminism. The music is a mixture of gospel, calypso, and soft rock.

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SEASON FOUR
(2009-2010)

GOD'S TROMBONES
August 13th - Sept. 6th 
Written by James Weldon Johnson

Inspirational sermons of Black preachers are re-imagined as poetry, reverberating with the musicality and eloquence of spirituals. This classic collection includes "Listen Lord -- A Prayer," "The Prodigal Son," "Go Down Death -- A Funeral Sermon," "Noah Built the Ark," "The Crucifixion," "Let My People Go," and "The Judgment Day. " This play is a celebration of the power and passion that comes out of both the pulpit and the choir-stand.


STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
September 24th - October 11th
Written by Tennessee Williams

Set in New Orleans following World War Two, Blanche DuBois, exiled from her hometown for seducing a seventeen-year-old boy, shows up at her sister Stella's doorstep. When Blanche claims she has recently loss the family plantation, Stelle's boyfriend Stanley demands to see the bill of sale - this sets-off Blanche and Stanley's war. When Stanley's friend Mitch arrives on the scene, Blanche begins to see a way out of her predicament. Yet, as rumors of Blanche's past begin to catch up to her, her circumstances become unbearable.


FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE / WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF
Oct. 29th - Nov. 15th
Written by Ntozake Shange


A series of twenty poems, this play is performed through a cast of nameless women, each known only by a color: "Lady in Yellow. " The performances of the nine actresses are focused on their specific stories; i.e. , Lady in Green embodies youthful determination as she runs away from home to live with Dominican liberator Toussaint L'Ouverture. The play ends evoking the power of womanhood as the Lady in Brown begins the mantra "I found God in myself/ and I loved her/ I loved her fiercely. "


BLACK NATIVITY
Dec. 3rd  - 27th
Written by Langston Hughes

Black Nativity is a retelling of the classic Nativity story with an entirely Black cast. Traditional Christmas carols are sung in gospel style, with a few songs created specifically for the show. Originally written by Langston Hughes, the show was first performed on Broadway on December 11, 1961.


WILLIE AND ESTHER
January 7th - 24th, 2010
Written by James Graham Bronson

Willie and Esther are a longtime couple with long-term troubles. When it seems their luck is about to run out they hatch a plan, because "Don't nothing beat a failure but a try. " Hilarious, touching, and real as a bad day, this play's truth is that sometimes the only way to overcome your troubles is to laugh at them with someone you love.


THE PIANO LESSON
February 4th - 28th
Written by August Wilson


The play - awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 - takes place in Pittsburgh in 1936. The play centers on a piano that was once traded by the Charles' family's white master for two of the family's ancestors. Boy Willie and Berniece, the siblings who inherit the piano, argue about whether or not to sell it. Berniece's climactic refusal to allow Boy Willie to move the piano exorcises the ghost of the white slave owner who has been haunting the family.


SHAKESPEARE'S WOMEN
March 11th  - 28th 
Conceived of by Ekundayo Bandele and Leslie Riddick


In celebration of Women's History Month, we stage scenes, soliloquies and songs to present an imaginative exploration of the Bard's women, from his celebrated leads (Rosalind, Juliet, and Lady Macbeth) to his lesser-known but no less intriguing ladies (such as Othello's Emilia and Henry VI's Joan). Shakespeare's female characters represent not only the many faces of womanhood; they illuminate the depth of human experience.


MAHALIA
April 22nd - May 16th
Written by Tom Stolz


Equal parts gospel musical, biography and revival meeting, ‘Mahalia' creates a spirited look at Mahalia Jackson, ‘The Queen of Gospel Music,' and is guaranteed to lift you out of your seats with such songs as "How I Got Over, "Precious Lord," and "Move on up a Little Higher. " This production has become a staple in Hattiloo's repertoire, having been produced in its last two seasons.

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SEASON FIVE
(2010-2011)

THE WIZ
Story adapted from L. Frank Baum
Music by Charlie Smalls and Luther Vandross
Aug. 19th - Sept. 12th

An African-American re-imaging of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, a kindergarten teacher from Harlem, and her dog Toto are lost in a snowstorm and end up in the Land of Oz. Dorothy learns the only way she can get home is to ease on down the road to see the Wiz. Along the way she meets a scarecrow made of garbage; a Tin Man, who is a turn-of-the-century mechanical carnie; and a lion that was banished from the jungle and must make his living as a statue in front of the New York Public Library.


JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE
Written by August Wilson
Sept. 23rd - Oct. 17th

Set in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911, this play tells the story of Herald Loomis, a man illegally enslaved on a chain gang, as he searches for his wife. Herald, troubled by his past, becomes increasingly unstable, causing problems at the boarding house. A local traveling salesman helps Herald find his wife. When she tries to renew his faith in Jesus, he refuses angrily, but performs a violent and personal act that sets him free.


TARTUFFE
Written by Moliere
Oct. 28th - Nov. 14th

The rich Orgon is convinced that Tartuffe is a great religious man. In fact, Tartuffe is a con man. He gets Orgon to use his power as the master of the household over everyone else. By the time Tartuffe is exposed he has control of Orgon's finances and family and is about to marry Orgon's daughter -- all at Orgon's own invitation. At the very last minute, the king intervenes, and Tartuffe is condemned to prison.


IF SCROOGE WAS A BROTHER
Written by Ekundayo Bandele
Dec. 2nd - 26th

It's Christmas Eve and Eb Scroo is seeking to snuff out the season's cheer by demanding that all debts owed him be paid before nightfall. Facing imprisonment or a Christmas without presents and a feast, the residents are desperate. This urban spin of Dickens's Christmas Carol has been reworked from Season 3 and includes soulful holiday carols.


THE OLD SETTLER
Written by John Henry Redwood
Jan. 6th - 23rd, 2011           

Set in Harlem in the 1940s, Husband has come to New York City from down South to find his old flame Lou Bessie. Needing a place to stay, Husband boards with Elizabeth and Quilly, two sisters from the South with family trauma in their past. In time, the oldest sister, Elizabeth and Husband begin a courtship that may or may not overcome their considerable age difference, while Quilly reacts critically. The Cosby show's Phylicia Rashad played the leading role on Broadway.


A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Written by Lorraine Hanesberry
Feb. 3rd - 27th                        

The Youngers are a poor African-American family in Chicago. An opportunity to escape from poverty comes in the form of a life insurance check that the matriarch of the family, Lena Younger, receives upon her husband's death. Lena's children, Walter and Beneatha, each have their plans for the money. Walter wishes to invest in a liquor store. Beneatha, wants to use the money for medical school. Lena has plans as well for the money: she wants to buy a house for the family and finance Beneatha's medical school.


THE TRIAL OF ONE SHORT-SIGHTED BLACK WOMAN vs. MAMMY LOUISE and SAFREETA MAE
Written by Marcia L. Leslie
March 24th - April 10th

This play unfolds as a courtroom drama pitting modern black businesswoman Victoria Dryer against two stereotypes of black women from a fictional film set on a plantation in 1823: the mammy and the "Jezebel," in this case known as Safreeta Mae. Dryer accuses these icons of preventing her from being the proud black woman she should be. If these two images are the only representations of black women in the media, she argues, then other people will see all black women as fitting into these two categories.


CROWNS         
Written by Regina Taylor
Directed by Patricia Smith
April 28th - May 22nd

A musical play in which hats become a springboard for a young black woman who has come down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. The characters use hats to tell tales concerning everything from the etiquette to their historical and contemporary social functioning. There is a hat for every occasion, from flirting to churchgoing. The tradition of hats is traced back to African rituals and forward to the New Testament and current fashion. Some rap but predominantly gospel music and dance underscore and support the narratives.

SEASON SIX
(2011-2012)

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'
Sponsored by JW Kathy Gibson Foundation
with support from the First Tennessee Foundation
with additional support from ArtsMemphis and TN. Arts Commission
Written by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr.
Directed by Dennis Whitehead
Choreographed by Emma Crystal
Aug. 4th - Aug. 28th, 2011

Talk back w/director & cast Aug. 7 & 18

Venues like The Cotton Club were swingin' to a new beat during the 1920s and ‘30s in Harlem.  This musical pays tribute to Thomas “Fats” Waller and black musicians who were part of the Harlem Renaissance.

View the cast.

THE BLUEST EYE
Sponsored by The KGR Group dba Lenny's Sub Shop
Based on novel by Toni Morrison

Directed by Ekundayo Bandele
Sept. 8th - Sept. 25th, 2011

Talk back w/director & cast Sept. 11 & 22

This American classic is a story about eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove who wants nothing more than to be loved. Instead, she's abused.  Blaming her dark skin, she prays for blue eyes, sure that love will follow.

View the cast.

JUDAS HANDS
Sponsored by Gene & Carol Katz
Written by Ekundayo Bandele

Directed by Ekundayo Bandele
Oct. 13th - Oct. 30th, 2011 

Talk back w/director & cast Oct. 16 & 27

Set in the 1940s South, the drama tells the story of Goldie, a carpenter's helper who believes his talent at woodwork can save him and his wife Serra from her life as a washerwoman and the lies they've convinced themselves are truth. The play examines the war between the truth-knowing mind and the lie-pumping heart.

View the cast.

IF SCROOGE WAS A BROTHER
Sponsored in part by the First Tennessee Foundation
with additional support from ArtsMemphis and TN. Arts Commission Written by Ekundayo Bandele

Directed by Patricia Smith
Dec. 1st - Dec. 24th, 2011

Talk back w/director & cast Dec. 4 & 15

The musical is an urban spin of A Christmas Carol. It tells of sour and stingy Eb Scroo's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL
Sponsored in part by the First Tennessee Foundation
with additional support from ArtsMemphis and TN. Arts Commission Written by Lanie Robertson

Directed by Emma Crystal
Jan. 5th - Jan. 22nd, 2012

Talk back w/director & cast Jan. 8 & 19

The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday's last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music.

TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Written by August Wilson
Directed by Ekundayo Bandele
Feb. 2nd - Feb. 26th, 2012
Talk back w/director & cast Feb. 5 & 16

The play takes place in the 1960s, in a Pittsburgh neighborhood. Focus is on the characters who hang out at Memphis Lee's coffee shop: a local sage, an elderly man who imparts wisdom as learned from a 322 year old sage, an ex con, a numbers runner, a waitress who slashed her legs to keep men away, and a retarded man who was once cheated out of a ham. The play is a microcosm of an era and a community on the brink of change.

ROMEO & JULIET
Sponsored by Church on the River
Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Pamela Poletti
Mar. 22nd - Apr. 8th, 2012

Talk back w/director & cast Mar. 25 & Apr. 5

This tragedy tells the story of two “star-cross'd lovers” from feuding families.  During a party, Romeo and Juliet fall in love. They meet secretly until Romeo is banished from the city. They must now create a plan to be together again.

THE AMEN CORNER
Written by James Baldwin
Directed by Marcellus Harper
Apr. 19th - May 6th, 2012

Talk back w/director & cast Apr. 22 & May 3

Margaret, pastor of a Harlem church, has led everyone to believe her husband Luke abandoned her with their son. After Luke arrives unexpectedly, events unfold showing that Margaret in fact left Luke in pursuit of a religious life. 

DREAMGIRLS
Sponsored by Dorothy O. Kirsch
and Cigna
Music by Henry Krieger
Book by Tom Eyen

Directed by Dennis Whitehead
May 24th - June 17th, 2012

Talk back w/director & cast May 27 & June 7

Three friends -- Effie, Deena, and Lorrell, form an R&B act. When the manager changes their style to pop, he makes Deena the lead singer and calls them 'The Dreams.' In time the three women realize that life is not all about fame and fortune.