NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS’ PICK!
“MARVELOUS. FRESH AND COMPLEX! The Homecoming Queen wrings all the pleasure possible out of its familiar tropes even as it revamps their meaning entirely. In its happy but deliberately unreal ending, her play suggests that for some traumatized people there’s no place like home — not even home itself.”
— Jesse Green, The New York Times
“A story that’s full of heartbreaking depths and rewarding surprises.”
— Sara Holdren, New York Magazine
“Awoye Timpo’s beautifully constructed production flatters Anyanwu’s work. Where the play is strong, the production is excellent.”
— Helen Shaw, Time Out New York
Keep scrolling to read more!
World Premiere Play
THE HOMECOMING QUEEN
Written by NGOZI ANYANWU
Directed by AWOYE TIMPO
Atlantic Stage 2, 330 W 16th St
Run time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, no intermission
A bestselling novelist returns to Nigeria to care for her ailing father, but before she can bury him, she must relearn the traditions she’s long forgotten. Having been absent for over a decade, she must collide with her culture, traumatic past, painful regrets, and the deep, deep love she thought she could never have. Atlantic is thrilled to welcome Ngozi Anyanwu (Good Grief) for her Off-Broadway debut!
“Anyanwu offers distinctive but universal characters and a bleak yet comforting outlook on the human condition that hint at a long future!” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Exhilarating! The Homecoming Queen is rich and deep, a show to treasure.”
— Jeremy Gerard, Deadline
“Better than any play I’ve seen, The Homecoming Queen captures the everyday theater we perform to convince ourselves and those around us of who we really are. Anyanwu reminds us that even when our dreams don’t come true, new ones spring eternal.”
— Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania
“A powerful story, fueled by powerful writing, is brought vividly to life by director Awoye Timpo in a production that’s both simple and evocative.”
— Theater Pizzazz
Production photos by Ahron R. Foster.
OBERON K.A. ADJEPONG (Papa). New York: Uncommon Sense (Tectonic Theater Project); Measure For Measure (TFANA); Party People (The Public Theater); Pericles (TFANA); 12 Angry Men (Billie Holiday); Tamburlaine (TFANA); Like I Say, Cellophane (The Flea); Mother Courage and The Blacks (Classic Stage Company, CTH); Wabenzi (New Ohio Theatre); Hamlet Project (La MaMa E.T.C.); Sango (AUDELCO nomination/NBT). Regional: Civil War Christmas (Center Stage); Electric Baby (Two River Theater); Good Goods (Yale Rep); Ruined (La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company; Irne Award, Berkeley Rep); Timon of Athens, Coriolanus (Shakespeare Theatre); Rhyme Deferred (The Kennedy Center). Television/Film: “Blacklist,” “The Knick,” “Louie,” Crazy Famous and Crown Heights. Training: the British American Dramatic Academy and Howard University.
SEGUN AKANDE (Obina) is making his Atlantic Theater Company debut. New York City: The Green Plays; Naked Angels; Anna Nicole, Brooklyn Academy of Music. Regional: Arena Stage, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Florida Studio Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Luna Stage and Arrow Rock Lyceum. Workshops and Labs: New York Theatre Workshop, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, HBO/ABFF Showcase, New Harmony Project, Playwrights Horizons, Playwrights Realm, National Black Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem and Arena Stage. Film/TV: Mother Of George (Sundance); Aissa’s Story (Fespaco); “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno;” Dirt (World Premiere, Sundance); “Burning Sands” (Netflix, World Premiere, Sundance); “Quantico.” Other: 2014 LAByrinth Ensemble Member. Education: Duke University, Political Science. www.meetsegun.com
EBBE BASSEY (Chorus, Dialect Coach) studied at the William Esper Studio. She has worked on TV in “NYPD Blue,” “Law & Order: SVU” and many short and feature films featuring actors Lynn Whitfield, Isaiah Washington, Kimberly Elise and Vivica A. Fox, among others. Ebbe wrote, executive produced and was the lead actress in the short films Siri Oko Fo (Mending Fences), which explores the themes of same-sex love, parenting and female gender mutilation in Nigeria, and Saving Father, which is intended to provoke dialogue on the issue of HIV and senior citizens. Both films have been presented at national and international film festivals. She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.
VINIE BURROWS (Chorus), a child actress on radio, made her Broadway debut with Helen Hayes. Six more Broadway shows followed rapidly with David Wayne, Mary Martin, Ossie Davis and Eartha Kitt, among others. Dissatisfied with the roles offered black actors, she ventured out to create her first one-woman show, Walk Together Children, about the African American experience. The critical acclaim was instant and unanimous. The New York Times called her “a magnificent performer” and she earned a niche as a solo artist with thousands of college performances worldwide. Vinie’s role in the 2013 Foundry Theatre production of Good Person of Szechwan starring Taylor Mac brought her back to her revolutionary Off-Broadway beginnings with Jean Genet’s The Blacks. Among her many honors are AEA’s Paul Robeson Award, the Brecht Forum’s Bertolt Brecht Award and MIT’s McDermott Award.
PATRICE JOHNSON (Chorus). Broadway credits: Racing Demon and The Crucible, starring Liam Neeson. Her Off-Broadway credits include: Othello, playing Desdemona opposite Sir Patrick Stewart; Pericles, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn; Tamburlaine, directed by Sir Michael Boyd. Patrice received an Audelco Nomination for Tamburlaine and won an Audelco Award for For Colored Girls… Her credits also include TV and Film. Patrice wrote and directed three award winning independent feature films about being Jamaican-American in NYC: Kings County, which debuted at the Urban World Film Festival; NY’s Dirty Laundry, at the Cannes Film Festival; and Hill and Gully, which recently won Best Feature Film at The Caribbean Lens Film Festival in Los Angeles.
MIRIRAI SITHOLE (Beatrice) is making her Atlantic Theater Company debut. Select New York Credits: Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (MCC); Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man… (Signature Theatre Company), which garnered an OBIE award for best direction by Lileana Blain-Cruz; Mother Courage and Her Children, where Mirirai received the Rosemarie Tichler Award for her portrayal of Kattrin; Frontieres Sans Frontieres and Autumn’s Harvest (Lincoln Center Education). Regional: Our Town and A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Remix 38 (Humana Festival). Television: “Bull,” “The Affair,” “Master of None,” “Broad City.” She received her BFA in Theatre from Adelphi University and was an Acting Apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
MFONISO UDOFIA (Kelechi) is a first-generation Nigerian-American storyteller and educator. She’s the recipient of the 2017 Helen Merrill Playwright Award and the 2017-2018 McKnight National Residency and Commission at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Her Ufot Cycle play, Her Portmanteau, will be produced in Spring 2018 by Pasadena’s Boston Court Performing Arts Center. Mfoniso’s currently translating Othello for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s PlayOn! Program. She’s also the Founding Artistic Director of the NOW AFRICA: Playwrights Festival and a proud member of New Dramatists’ Class of 2023. Mfoniso’s plays have recently been produced by New York Theatre Workshop, Magic Theater and The Playwrights Realm. She is truly excited to make a return to acting with this play. Please follow Mfoniso at www.mfonisoudofia.com for more information!
ZENZI WILLIAMS (Chorus) is making her Atlantic Theater Company debut. Her theater credits include The Crucible (Broadway); Imogen Says Nothing (Yale Repertory Theater); Mother Courage and Her Children (Classic Stage Company); A Lover’s Tale (Berkshire Theatre Group); Altogether Reckless, The Seagull, The Master and Margarita, Measure for Measure, Platonov and Wintertime (Yale School of Drama); all of what you love and none of what you hate (Yale Cabaret) and Shiny Objects, written and devised by Zenzi and fellow classmate Maura Hooper (Yale Cabaret). Television: “The Good Fight.” Film: The Mess He Made. Zenzi studied at the British American Dramatic Academy and holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.
NGOZI ANYANWU (Playwright). Education: University of California San Diego’s (MFA Acting), Point Park University (BA). Acting: The Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, Rattlestick Theatre, “The Deuce,” “DeadBeat,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Women Who Kill.” Playwrighting: Good Grief, Nike and The Homecoming Queen. Good Grief (Kilroy’s List 2016, semi-finalist, Princess Grace) was presented as part of the Rising Circle Collective’s 6th annual Ink Tank. Most recently, Good Grief won the Inaugural CTG/Humanitas Playwrighting Award and had a world premiere at the CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre in the 2016-2017 season. Nike (Kilroy’s list 2017) was recently presented as part of the National Black Theatre’s Keep Soul Alive Monday Reading Series and The NewBlack Fest in conjunction with The Lark Playwrighting Development Center. The Homecoming Queen (2017 Kilroy’s List, Leah Ryan Finalist) was developed at Space on Ryder Farm, The Fire This Time’s Inaugural’s Writers group, Page 73’s summer residency, The New Harmony Project, Rattlestick’s actors/writers Lab and New York Stage and Film. Anyanwu is also a recipient of the Djerassi Artist Residency, as well as Space on Ryder Farm, LCT Playwrights Residency and The Founders Award with New York Stage and Film. Anyanwu is currently commissioned by The Old Globe and Atlantic Theater Company.
AWOYE TIMPO (Director). Credits include: Skeleton Crew (Chester Theater); Sister Son/ji (Billie Holiday Theater); Carnaval (National Black Theatre); Ndebele Funeral (59E59, South African tour and Edinburgh Festival); The Libation Bearers (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ); Araby (La MaMa); In the Continuum (Juilliard); Tears of Anatolia and The Wishing Tree (Columbia); Clybourne Park (Farmers Alley); The Vanished (Novisi). Producer: CLASSIX, a reading series exploring classic plays by Black playwrights. Broadway: Associate Director, Jitney; Assistant Director, Shuffle Along. Other: ABC/Disney, Cherry Lane Mentor Project, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Ma-Yi, New Dramatists, NOW Africa, Page 73, PEN World Voices, Rising Circle, Royal Shakespeare Company, Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab and WNYC.