When it comes to marketing plays on Broadway, the challenge is how to convey the energy and profundity of the work in a few minutes—enough to convince a viewer to sit up and pay attention. Well, Crystal Lucas-Perry may have figured it out. The actor was in two shows this season: the revival of 1776 and the new play Ain't No Mo'. She's been nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her work in Ain't No Mo', where she played six roles. See her perform a monologue from the show in the video above.
For context: Ain't No Mo' by Jordan E. Cooper, which is nominated for six Tony Awards (including Best Play), posits what would happen if the American government paid for African Americans to go back to Africa. The play is a series of vignettes, some absurd and others moving, around different people debating whether or not to leave. The monologue that Lucas-Perry performs in the video above takes place during a dinner, where a wealthy Black family thinks they do not need to leave because they are not like everyone else. Lucas-Perry's character, who the family has chained up in their basement, bursts into the scene to remind them of who they truly are.
In Ain't No Mo', Lucas-Perry played a variety of characters, from a ghost in the basement, to a church lady, to a reality TV star, to a prison inmate. For her efforts, she's been recognized with a Tony nomination; Lucas-Perry admitted to Playbill she can't think about the honor without thinking about all it's taken to get to this point.
"I can't say those words without thinking about the people who have come before me, their work on and off the stage, behind the scenes, in the designs, everyone who has just made theatre their dream and has fought to keep it alive," she says, adding that the award recognition comes with "a tremendous amount of honor and, dare I say, responsibility—to be recognized in this way. I have a job to continue to be great in everything that I do and to continue to acknowledge greatness."
See photos from Ain't No Mo' below.