Reprising their roles from the play’s world premiere at Queens Theatre, and making their Broadway stage debuts, are Ebony Marshall-Oliver, Aigner Mizzelle and Alana Raquel Bowers. The casting announcement comes from producers Pamela Ross, Hunter Arnold, E. Clayton Cornelious and Leah Michalos.
PREVIOUS, June 24 Chicken & Biscuits, a new comedy written by Black playwright Douglas Lyons, with a largely Black cast and directed by Zhailon Levingston, who at 27 becomes the youngest Black director in Broadway history, will have its Broadway premiere this fall.
Beginning previews at Circle in the Square Theatre on Thursday, September 23, Chicken & Biscuits – which was playing Off Broadway at the time of the Covid shutdown – will officially open Sunday, October 10. The limited engagement runs through Sunday, January 2, 2022.
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The full cast will be announced in coming weeks, but producers today confirmed the casting of Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess, Da 5 Bloods) and Michael Urie (Torch Song, Ugly Betty).
The play, described as a raucous family comedy focusing on the Jenkins family and a reunion that begins to unravel when a family secret shows up at the patriarch’s funeral, is produced by Pamela Ross, Hunter Arnold, E. Clayton Cornelious and Leah Michalos.
Both Lyons and Cornelious, who previously worked together as actors in Beautiful, will be making their Broadway debuts as, respectively, playwright and lead producer. Ross and Michalos also make their Broadway debuts as lead producers with Chicken & Biscuits.
“I am beyond thrilled to be making my Broadway playwriting debut, ten years and one block away from the very stage where I made my acting debut in The Book of Mormon,” said playwright Lyons. “Chicken & Biscuits is a story of love, messiness, and healing. This opportunity to bring our comedically complex Black family to the Broadway stage is a complete gift. Our batter is full of laughter, and I can’t wait to witness audiences of all backgrounds fellowshipping together. I’ll see y’all at the church—I mean, theater.”
In the play, Lewis will portray Reginald, a pastor and family peacemaker, while Urie will play Logan, the white boyfriend of a Jenkins Family son and brother.
Chicken & Biscuits had its world premiere on February 28, 2020 at New York’s Queens Theatre, but the engagement was cut short less than two weeks later when the theater industry suspended operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Producer Cornelious, whose onstage credits include Ain’t Too Proud, Wonderland, The Scottsboro Boys and The Lion King, said, “Douglas and I began talking about our dreams in our dressing room backstage at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre while performing together in Beautiful. As we developed our talents over the next few years, I saw a reading of Chicken & Biscuits and felt completely driven by its heart and joy.”
Cornelious said the team was “completely crushed” with the shutdown, “so being blessed to bring it back on an even bigger platform now, a Broadway stage, is beyond a dream come true.”
In addition to Chicken & Biscuits, the upcoming Broadway season will include such plays by Black playwrights as Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s Pass Over, Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Lackawanna Blues, Keenan Scott II’s Thoughts of a Colored Man, Alice Childress’ Trouble in Mind, Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s, and Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew.