The Manhattan Theater Club celebrated its grand return to live performances last night at the Samuel J. Friedman, where Ruben Santiago-Hudson presented the first preview of his solo play, Lackawanna Blues. The official opening party will take place on September 28.
Guests included actors Brian Stokes Mitchell and S. Epatha Merkerson, as well as State Senator Brad Hoylman and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. The group celebrated the occasion with a dedication ceremony in front of the Samuel J. Friedman Theater.
Written, performed and directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, with original music by Bill Sims Jr. performed on stage by Grammy-nominated blues guitarist Junior Mack, Lackawanna Blues tells the true story of a kind-hearted woman who runs a boarding house outside of Buffalo – and who was instrumental in Santiago-Hudson’s childhood. The actor-director portrays more than 20 vibrant characters in this musical theatrical tribute.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s creative team Lackawanna Blues includes Michael Carnahan (stage design), Karen Perry (costume design), Jen Schriever (lighting design) and Darron L West (sound design).
Lackawanna Blues appeared off-Broadway at the Public Theater in 2001, winning Obie Awards for Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Bill Sims Jr. According to the TheaterMania review, “The play shines with the glow of a mammoth sun.”