Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO) is pleased to share a first look portrait of the cast of the Broadway premiere of Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress.
Starring Tony & Emmy Award-winner LaChanze and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright.
The photo was shot on stage at the American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd Street) where the show will begin previews on Friday, October 29 ahead of an opening set for Thursday, November 18, 2021. This is a limited engagement through Sunday, January 9, 2022.
Trouble in Mind stars LaChanze as “Wiletta”, Michael Zegen as “Al Manners”, Chuck Cooper as “Sheldon Forrester”, Danielle Campbell as “Judy Sears”, Jessica Frances Dukes as “Millie Davis”, Brandon Micheal Hall as “John Nevins”, Simon Jones as “Henry”, Alex Mickiewicz as “Eddie Fenton” and Don Stephenson as “Bill O’Wray”.
The design team includes Arnulfo Maldonado (Sets), Emilio Sosa (Costumes), Kathy A. Perkins (Lights),
Dan Moses Schreier (Sound), Cookie Jordan (Hair & Wigs) and Nona Hendryx (Original Music).
Roundabout’s production of Trouble in Mind comes to Broadway following two recent development readings with director Charles Randolph-Wright. Roundabout audiences will know the work of playwright Alice Childress from the recent online reading of her play, Wine in the Wilderness, as part of Roundabout’s multi-year The Refocus Project, presented in association with Black Theatre United, to spotlight twentieth-century Black plays and their playwrights.
Following an experienced Black stage actress through rehearsals of a major Broadway production, Alice Childress’s wry and moving look at racism, identity, and ego in the world of New York theatre opened to acclaim Off-Broadway in 1955. At the forefront of both the Civil Rights and feminist movements, the prescient Trouble in Mind was announced to move to Broadway in 1957…in a production that never came to be
Roundabout is thrilled to welcome back many of these actors to their stages including Michael Zegen who made his Roundabout debut in Bad Jews at its Underground production in 2012, which then transferred to the Laura Pels in 2013 and Tony Award-winner Chuck Cooper who made his Roundabout debut in the 2016 production of The Cherry Orchard at American Airlines Theatre. Additionally, Alex Mickiewicz was last seen at Roundabout in The Last Match (2017) and Simon Jones and Don Stephenson were both last seen at Roundabout in Death Takes a Holiday (2011).
LaChanze is a founding member of Black Theatre United; she returns to Broadway following A Christmas Carol (2019) and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (2018), for which she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
Preview performances of Trouble in Mind will play Tuesday through Saturday evening at 8:00 PM with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2:00 PM and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. Regular performances after opening night will play Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7:00 PM, and Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evening at 8:00 PM, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2:00 PM and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.
LaChanze (Wiletta – she/her/them/they) is an award-winning actress who brings an exhilarating and electrifying presence to any stage she touches. Blessed with a powerful mezzo-soprano singing voice and a commanding presence, she consistently receives high praises from fans, peers, and the industry at large. Armed with the gift for dramatic storytelling, a sultry vocal dexterity, and bringing complex female heroines to life, audiences sit up and take notice of LaChanze—whether in a hit Broadway production, television show, film or on concert stages.
Her most recent TV credits include a recurring as Anne in NBC’s “The Blacklist” opposite James Spader and in Amazon Prime’s “The Underground Railroad,” which was released earlier this year. She recurred in the CBS All Access hit show “The Good Fight” and appeared in the award-winning HBO special “The Night Of,” “Person Of Interest,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “One Life To Live,” “Lucy,” “Sex And The City,” “The Cosby Show,” “The Cosby Mysteries” and “New York Undercover.”
On the film side, she stars in writer/director Marishka Phillips’ suspense-filled film Melinda. She appeared in the award-winning movie The Help sharing the screen with legendary actress Cicely Tyson (SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture). Other films include former President Obama film picks for 2019 Diane, A Bitter Pill, Side Effects, For Love Or Money, Leap Of Faith, My New Gun, and the Disney animated feature film Hercules. LaChanze stepped onto stage 28 Broadway seasons ago, giving the original production of Once On This Island its beating and unforgettable heart, creating the role of lovelorn peasant girl Ti Moune. She won her first Tony Award for giving a voice to Celie, the unlikely heroine of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, the musical’s original staging.
Shortly after, she captured an Emmy Award for her riveting performance in the award-winning PBS special Handel’s Messiah Rocks: A Joyful Noise. She starred in playwright Jack Thorne’s A Christmas Carol as the Ghost of Christmas Present/Mrs. Fezziwig. Prior, she originated Augusta’s role in two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s A Secret Life of Bees, for which she landed an AUDELCO Award for Leading Actress in a Musical. She gave a spellbinding performance in the high voltage Broadway’s Summer The Donna Summer Musical.
In creating Donna Summers’ nostalgia, she landed nominations for the 2018 Tony Award nomination for Leading Actress in a Musical, 2018 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical and 2018 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance Award. Other Broadway credits include If/Then, Ragtime, Company, and Uptown It’s Hot. Some of her Off-Broadway credits include The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Drama Desk nomination), Dessa Rose (Obie Award), Inked Baby, Spunk and From The Mississippi Delta. LaChanze brings her original, one-of-a-kind, one-woman show, Feeling Good, to popular venues touching the hearts of audiences worldwide. This electric and highly praised tour mixes the perfect blend of emotional intensity with sultry vocals. Fans willing to take the ride and feel every pain, joy, and excitement LaChanze feels all through her life’s autobiographical journey with music and words.
Michael Zegen (Al Manners) can currently be seen starring on the critically acclaimed Amazon series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. The series won a 2020 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, a 2019 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, a 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, the Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Television Series, Musical or Comedy and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy Series. On stage, Michael made his Broadway debut as ‘Marco’ in Ivo Van Hove’s Tony-award winning A View From The Bridge opposite Mark Strong. Michael’s previous theater credits include originating both the role of ‘Ted’ in The New Group’s production of The Spoils, written by and co-starring Jesse Eisenberg for director Scott Elliott and the role of ‘Liam’ in Joshua Harmon’s smash hit play Bad Jews directed by Daniel Aukin for Roundabout Theater Company.
Previous television includes his standout recurring role as ‘Benny Siegel’ on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” for which he was included in the 2015 SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Other recurring television arcs include: “The Walking Dead,” “Girls,” “How To Make It In America,” “Happyish” and all seven seasons of “Rescue Me.” Michael’s other film credits include, The Stand-In opposite Drew Barrymore, Michael Mayer’s film adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, opposite Annette Bening and Elisabeth Moss, Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha opposite Greta Gerwig, John Crowley’s Oscar-nominated film Brooklyn, Sebastian Silva’s ensemble indie TYREL which premiered at Sundance, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, and Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock.
Chuck Cooper (Sheldon Forrester). Proud union actor for over 45 years, featured in 16 Broadway plays and musicals, numerous regional theatre appearances, numerous film and TV guest-starring appearances. Tony Award, The Lucille Lortel Award, Two Drama Desk Nominations, Favorite role is Eddie, Alex and Lilli’s father, Bodie and Quinton’s Grandfather. Gratefully married to playwright Deborah Brevoort.
Danielle Campbell (Judy Sears). Audiences can currently enjoy seeing Danielle Campbell on the first two seasons of the Paramount+/CW series, “Tell Me a Story”, the psychological thriller anthology produced by one of television’s most prolific producers, Aaron Kaplan. Recently, Campbell wrapped a leading role opposite Bradley Whitford, Alice Braga and Melvin Gregg in the upcoming sci-fi thriller, Share, co-written and directed by Ira Rosensweig and produced by TPSC. The film follows a man who finds himself isolated and stripped of all of his belongings, with nothing but a primitive computer to accompany him. Campbell has seen much success over the last few years, having recently done a major recurring arc on Season 2 of Freeform’s “Famous in Love”.
Campbell also took on several film and television projects including The Fine Brothers’ first feature film “F*&% the Prom”, a Fullscreen original series “Alive in Denver” opposite iCarly’s Nathan Kress, Marvel’s “Runaways” for Hulu, and “You Can Choose Your Family”, directed by Miranda Bailey and executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Campbell made her big splash as the 16-year-old powerful witch, Davina, on the CW’s hit TV show “The Originals”, a spin-off from “The Vampire Diaries” set in New Orleans. The Originals centers on the world’s original vampires. In 2010, she starred in the Disney television movie Starstruck, and signed a development deal with the company. She then made her debut on the big screen in the 2011 Disney movie Prom, co-starring with Nicholas Braun and Aimee Teegarden. Born and raised in Hinsdale, IL, a suburb of Chicago, Campbell made her first on-screen appearance with a recurring role on the hit FOX TV show “Prison Break”. Additional film credits include The Poker House with Jennifer Lawrence and Chloë Grace Moretz, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, and Bryan Wright’s Race to Win. Campbell currently resides in Los Angeles.
Jessica Frances Dukes (Millie Davis) is a series regular on the hit Netflix series, “Ozark”. Earlier, she recurred in numerous episodes of Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” series for Netflix and guest starred on NCIS: New Orleans, The Good Wife and New Amsterdam. On stage, she was nominated for a Drama League Award for playing the title character in By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at Signature Theatre. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, the role earned her an Audelco Award. The New Yorker raved about her “crackling central performance” and described her work as “wily and fierce.” Previously, Ms. Dukes received an Obie Award for her performance in BootyCandy at New York’s renowned Playwrights Horizons, directed by Robert O’Hara. She also performed to critical acclaim in Dracula at Classic Stage, Is God Is at Soho Rep and Yellowman at The Billie Holiday Theatre (Audelco nomination). Other appearances include Chicago’s Second City, Yale Rep, Princeton’s McCarter, DC’s Arena Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Kennedy Center. Born and based for years in Washington, DC, she now lives in New York City.
Brandon Micheal Hall (John Nevins) has quickly established himself as a highly sought-after young actor. He most recently starred in CBS’ series, “God Friended Me” from Executive Producer Greg Berlanti. TV Guide named Hall a breakout star of 2018 for his performance on the series, which follows an atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is “friended” by God on Facebook. In 2017, Hall was named one of Variety’s Top Ten Television Stars to Watch for his breakout performance in the ABC comedy “The Mayor.” Starring in the title role of the show from Executive Producers Jeremy Bronson and Daveed Diggs, he also earned ‘one to watch’ raves from Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, People and IndieWire. Hall could also be seen guest-starring on the Starz crime drama “Power,” in the series’ final season. He guest-starred opposite Cedric the Entertainer as a father/son duo of contract killers. Hall can currently be seen on TBS’ critically acclaimed series “Search Party,” which recently wrapped filming on its fifth season.
Hall will next star opposite Erin Doherty in the upcoming Amazon Studios/BBC psychological thriller series, “Chloe.” While still a student at Juilliard, Hall landed the lead on the CBS pilot “LFE,” opposite Melissa Leo. Since graduating, he has guest-starred on the hit Comedy Central series “Broad City,” Netflix’s “The Characters,” opposite Paul Downs, and A&E’s “Unforgettable.” On stage, he starred in the world premiere production of “Transfers,” directed by Jackson Gay. On the feature side, Hall recently starred in Automatik’s darkly funny horror film “Monster Party,” and the independent film “Lez Bomb,” opposite Bruce Dern. Hall has trained at the Juilliard Drama Division, the British American Drama Academy, and the South Carolina Governor School of the Arts and Humanities. In April, he received the 2019 President’s Alumni Award from the Governor’s School. This honor is bestowed on an accomplished graduate who has shown a commitment to the arts and artistic achievement while embodying the school’s key values.
Simon Jones (Henry). In the late 1970’s, Simon Jones recorded the first of the BBC Radio 4 series, playing the soon-to-be iconic ‘Arthur Dent’ in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. He went on with this character in the later radio series, the BBC TV series, and a UK stage show tour, in 2012 and 2013. He also played ‘Bridey’ in Granada TV’s landmark series “Brideshead Revisited” and “Sir Walter Raleigh” in “Blackadder”. His Broadway debut was in 1984, in The Real Thing (directed by Mike Nichols) and he went on to star in Benefactors (helmed by Michael Blakemore), Getting Marr, ied Private Lives (opposite Joan Collins), The Real Inspector Hound/The 15-Minute Hamlet, School for Scandal, The Herbal Bed, Ring Round the Moon, Waiting in the Wings (with Lauren Bacall and Rosemary Harris), and Blithe Spirit with Angela Lansbury on Broadway, (London’s West End, and a tour of North America).
Latest was with Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King. Simon’s an award-winning narrator of audiobooks, having recorded more than 65 in the USA. His last four: Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince, Agatha Christie’s The Secret of Chimneys, Philip Goodrich’s Somersett and Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land were all given AudioFile Magazines Earphones Awards, and he has won five Audies. For 12 years he was co-artistic director of the Off-Broadway TACT (The Actors Company Theatre), and appeared in Home, The Cocktail Party and Long Island Sound. Feature films include: Miracle on 34th Street, Twelve Monkeys, Brazil, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Privates On Parade and The Devil’s Own. He joined the cast of “Downton Abbey” for the movie, playing “King George V”, and for the same team played the part of “Bannister”, the butler in the new ten-part Julian Fellowes HBO Series “The Gilded Age” which is expected to air in early 2022.
Alex Mickiewicz (Eddie Fenton). BROADWAY: True West, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Therese Raquin (Roundabout). OFF-BROADWAY: The Last Match (Roundabout), Drift (New World Stages). REGIONAL: Death of a Salesman (Pittsburgh Public Theatre), The Last Match (Old Globe), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Robin Hood, The Comedy of Errors (Williamstown Theatre Festival). TV: “High Maintenance”, “Blue Bloods”, “New Amsterdam” (Upcoming).
Don Stephenson (Bill O’Wray) starred as Leo Bloom in the Tony award-winning Broadway production of The Producers and appeared as the D’Ysquith family in The Tony award-winning Broadway production of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder. Also on Broadway, he created the role of Renfield in Dracula and played the role of Victor in the Tony award-winning revival of Private Lives. Don created the role of Charles Clarke in the Tony award-winning production of Titanic and created the role of Mr. Peavy in Parade at Lincoln Center, he created the role of Bingo Little in By Jeeves, played Hertz Kleinman in Rock Of Ages, and appeared as Frank Lippencott in the revival of Wonderful Town for the New York City Opera. He also starred in the New York City Encores productions of Me And My Girl as Herbert Parchester, was Dickie Clarke in Pardon My English, and Hal Meadows in The Bandwagon.
Other New York credits include Fidele in Death Takes A Holiday, Anatoly in Chess, Bo Decker in Bus Stop, Sid Davis in Take Me Along, and Zach in The Tavern. Don performed in St. Petersburg Russia in the play Love Or Theatre?: The Life Of Charlotte Salomon, which was produced by the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. Among his regional credits are John Adams in 1776 (Papermill Playhouse), Bingo Little in By Jeeves (Pittsburg Public Theatre), Jack in Where’s Charley?( The Kennedy Center), George in Sunday In The Park With George (Theatre Factory of St. Louis), Jim in The Gift Of The Magi (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Herman in THE MOST HAPPY FELLA (Pittsburg Civic Light Opera), Max in Lend Me A Tenor ( Barter Theatre), and the title role in Hamlet (Clarence Brown Theatre).
On television he has appeared on “FBI: Most Wanted”, “Succession”, “The Americans”, “Happy”, “Deception”, “Turn; Washingtons Spies”, “The Good Wife”, “30 Rock”, “Glee”, “Ugly Betty”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Possible Side Effects”, “Now And Again”, “Law And Order”, “Law And Order: Criminal Intent”, “Law And Order: SVU”, “All My Children”, “As The World Turns” and he played the role of David Jordan on “Another World”. Don can be seen in the films Little Brother, It Had To Be You and By Jeeves. He can be heard on the recordings of “An O’Henry Christmas” (Harbinger Records), the original cast albums of Titanic and Parade (RCA), Death Takes A Holiday (PS Classics) and he sings the role of Nicely-Nicely on the London recording of Guys And Dolls, Frank Lippencott in Wonderful Town, and Herman in The Most Happy Fella all for JAY Records.
Alice Childress (Playwright). Born in 1916 and raised during the Harlem Renaissance under the watchful eye of her beloved maternal grandmother, Alice Childress grew up to become first an actress and then a playwright and novelist. A founding member of the American Negro Theatre, she wrote her first play, Florence, in 1949. The script was written in one night on a dare from close friend and actor Sidney Poitier, who had told Alice that he didn’t think a great play could be written overnight. She proved him wrong, and the play was produced Off-Broadway in 1950.
Childress became in 1952 the first African American woman to see her play (Gold Through The Trees) professionally produced in New York. In 1955, Childress’ play Trouble in Mind was a critical and popular success from the beginning of its run Off-Broadway at the Greenwich Mews Theatre, and it immediately drew interest from producers for a Broadway transfer. In an ironic twist echoing the tribulations of the characters in the play itself, the producers wanted changes to the script to make it more palatable to a commercial audience.
Childress refused to compromise her artistic vision, and the play never opened on Broadway, ending her chances of being the first African American woman playwright to have work on Broadway. Trouble in Mind received a well-reviewed Off-Broadway revival in 1998 by the Negro Ensemble Company and has since been produced by Yale Repertory Theatre, Centerstage, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and Arena Stage. Childress is perhaps best known today for A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But A Sandwich, her 1973 novel about a 13-year-old Black boy addicted to heroin, which was subsequently made into a movie in 1978. Other plays written by Childress include Just A Little Simple (1950), Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story In Black and White (1966) and Gullah (1984). Alice Childress died in New York in 1994. Throughout her career, she examined the true meaning of being black, and especially of being Black and female. As Childress herself once said, “I concentrate on portraying have- nots in a have society.”
Charles Randolph-Wright (Director) has built a dynamic and diversified career in directing, writing, and producing for theatre, television, and film. He directed the smash-hit Motown the Musical (Broadway, National Tour, and London) and recently was the Producing Director and Executive Producer with Oprah Winfrey on the new television series “Delilah” on OWN. Theatre credits include the Broadway-bound musical Born For This, which he co-wrote with gospel icon Bebe Winans; the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined and the musical Sophisticated Ladies, starring Maurice Hines, at Arena Stage; the 75th-anniversary tour of the opera Porgy and Bess; Brian Stokes Mitchell in Love/Life at Lincoln Center; Guys and Dolls (the 50th anniversary national tour); They’re Playing Our Song (in Portuguese in Brasil); Cabaret Verboten at the Mark Taper Forum with Bebe Neuwirth and Roger Rees; and The Diva Is Dismissed, starring Jenifer Lewis at the Public Theater.
Charles wrote the play Blue, which premiered at Arena Stage (where Charles is an inaugural resident playwright). Blue has had productions throughout the U.S., including the Roundabout and Pasadena Playhouse (which starred Ms. Rashad, Diahann Carroll, and Clifton Davis). Charles also wrote Cuttin’ Up (based upon the book by Craig Marberry), The Night is a Child (starring JoBeth Williams), Love in Afghanistan, and co-wrote the Tony-nominated Just Between Friends starring Bea Arthur. Television credits include directing the series “Greenleaf,” “Katy Keene,” “Step Up Highwater,” “Lincoln Heights,” “South of Nowhere,” and “Live at Lincoln Center.” He directed the award-winning film Preaching to the Choir and produced and wrote the series “Linc’s”. Charles is an Executive Producer of the film Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, which recently won the Grand Jury Prize at the NY Doc Film Festival. www.Randolph-Wright.com
Roundabout Theatre Company
Roundabout has been working to prioritize and actively incorporate anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion and accountability throughout the institution. Read more about the company’s action plan at edi.roundabouttheatre.org.
Roundabout Theatre Company celebrates the power of theatre by spotlighting classics from the past, cultivating new works of the present, and educating minds for the future. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills that mission by producing familiar and lesser-known plays and musicals; discovering and supporting talented playwrights; reducing the barriers that can inhibit theatergoing; collaborating with a diverse team of artists; building educational experiences; and archiving over five decades of production history.
Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays, musicals and new works on its five stages: Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre, Studio 54 and Stephen Sondheim Theatre, and Off-Broadway’s Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre.
American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout productions are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Roundabout’s current productions include Caroline or Change, by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, starring Sharon D Clarke, directed by Michael Longhurst and upcoming productions include Birthday Candles, by Noah Haidle, starring Debra Messing, directed by Vivienne Benesch; …what the end will be by Mansa Ra, directed by Margot Bordelon; Exception to the Rule by Dave Harris, directed by Miranda Haymon and The Wanderers by Anna Ziegler, directed by Barry Edelstein.
Generous underwriting support for Trouble in Mind provided by Hal Brody Productions.
Tickets for Trouble in Mind are on sale by calling 212.719.1300, online at roundabouttheatre.org, in person at a Roundabout box office. Ticket prices range from $39-$149. For groups of 10 or more please call 212-719-9393 x 365 or email email@example.com.
Photo credit: Trouble In Mind credit Marc J. Franklin.