Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere of Jocelyn Bioh's Jaja’s African Hair Braiding has received a second extension, with performances now set to continue through November 19. The new work opened at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway October 3. Read the reviews here.
The work is set in a Harlem hair braiding salon where a hot summer day brings out some love, dreams, and secrets. The cast features Brittany Adebumola (The Other Black Girl) as Miriam, Maechi Aharanwa (The Misanthrope) as Ndidi, Rachel Christopher (for colored girls who have considered suicide...) as Jennifer, Kalyne Coleman (So Help Me Todd) as Chrissy/Michelle/LaNiece, Somi Kakoma (Dreaming Zenzile) as Jaja, Lakisha May (Skeleton Crew) as Vanessa/Radia/Sheila, Nana Mensah (Presumed Innocent) as Aminata, Michael Oloyede (Inanimate) as James/Sock Man/DVD Man/Jewelry Man, Dominique Thorne (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) as Marie, and Zenzi Williams (Mobile Unit of Henry V) as Bea.
Rounding out the company are understudies Victoire Charles, Abigail C. Onwunali, Onye Eme-Akwari, Morgan Scott, and Rachel Christopher. Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting's Kelly Gillespie and Erica Hart.
Directed by Whitney White, the production features scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang, original music and sound design by Justin Ellington, video design by Stefania Bulbarella, and hair and wig design by Nikiya Mathis. Dawn-Elin Fraser is dialect and voice coach, and Melanie J. Lisby is production stage manager.
Some A-list names have joined MTC on the production's producing team, including LaChanze, Taraji P. Henson, and Madison Wells Live. The credit is Henson's Broadway producing debut, while LaChanze has previously produced Topdog/Underdog, Kimberly Akimbo, and Here Lies Love. Already a Tony winner for her performance in the original Broadway production of The Color Purple, LaChanze became a three-time Tony winner following 2023 Tony wins in production categories for Topdog/Underdog and Kimberly Akimbo.