‘Ain’t No Mo’ stays open, raises questions about Broadway support

The Broadway play “Ain’t No Mo'” has been extended until December 23, after its cast and fans mobilized online support to prevent the show from closing just two weeks after its Belasco Theater debut.

The #SaveAintNoMo campaign kicked off when the cast and crew learned that production for the game would end on December 18, instead of its originally scheduled Broadway run scheduled for March.

Described as a mix of “sketch, satire, avant-garde drama, and a dose of drift,” the comedy imagines what would happen if the U.S. government offered descendants of enslaved Blacks a one-way ticket to Africa, according to the game’s website. .

Playwright and star Jordan E. Cooper, the youngest Black American playwright on Broadway, took to social media to ask for the public’s help in resisting the “eviction notice” and #SaveAintNoMo: a Broadway stage or show “in the name of every storytelling ancestor ever honored”. I was also told that they could never do it, PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BUILDING.

As the news that the game will end soon spread quickly, the hashtag circulated on social media. Passionate fans and newcomers to the theater mobilized the public alike to fill the seats.

“Industry” and “Bodies Bodies Bodies” actress Myha and Herrold defended the game on Instagram, praising it as “so fun, so weird and so VERY Black.”

“They deserve better, people who haven’t had the chance to witness this greatness deserve better,” Herrold wrote.

According to Cooper’s Instagram account, celebrities like Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith, Tyler Perry, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, Shonda Rhimes and Sara Ramirez all bought into the performances of the show. According to Deadline, Rev. Other notables like Al Sharpton and Swizz Beatz have donated to keep the curtains open. The show’s producer, Lee Daniels, also drew on a network of Black celebrities and creators to reinforce the campaign’s message.

Although the campaign won a victory, the war was not over yet.

“We’re still fighting,” Cooper wrote in an Instagram post.

Cooper said that, having been a gamer since he was 2 years old, he is no stranger to running and working in survival mode. When the young playwright moved to New York, he would often stop in Times Square handing out promotional flyers. for games. But Cooper said he doesn’t expect to keep running, even after a Broadway performance.

“It’s so admirable that he got out and made noise for his show to survive… [but] It shouldn’t be necessary,” said Drew Shade, founder of Broadway Black, a site that documents and highlights black achievements in theatre.

Traditional decision makers around Broadway’s financing and marketing “I don’t know what to do with an audience like yours,” Cooper said.

The troubles of “Ain’t No Mo” began after it was announced that “KPOP,” the first Broadway musical to tell a Korean story, was closing its curtains two weeks after its opening.

“The fact that ‘Ain’t No Mo’ closes within a week of ‘KPOP’ shows how little respect this system has for us and how much respect most of the audience they try to represent our stories.” KPOP” actor Abraham Lin said on Instagram. “Our stories are not niche.”

Cooper said “Ain’t No Mo” was not given a fair chance to build an audience. “These Black neighborhoods didn’t have billboards where people could know the game was for them,” Cooper said.

“I try to make Broadway theater look like an HBCU homecoming,” he said.

Douglas Lyons, whose “Chicken & Biscuits” debuts in 2021, noted an increase in productions that feature Black stories and stories about Blacks on Broadway, which he traditionally describes as a “predominantly white space”. Still, he added, “audience won’t change overnight.”

“There has been movement and effort from the Broadway community and theater owners and producers to bring the work, but historically there has been no infrastructure for audiences to feel welcome to that space,” Lyons said.

Broadway Black’s Shade said that while plays like “Ain’t No Mo” tried to fill seats, the blame was blamed on Blacks not participating. Low box office figures may further deter investment in Black games.

Shade said there’s a myth that Blacks don’t come to the theater.

“If you greet them, they’ll come. But I’ve been doing this for 10 years and sometimes I still don’t feel welcome in the theatre,” Shade continued.

“Ain’t No Mo” is a space of freedom, Cooper said. Unlike other Broadway productions he says he has witnessed, audiences can express themselves without restraint and exist in a community that collaborates to bring the play to life.

While the future of “Ain’t No Mo” on Broadway remains uncertain, what’s clear to Cooper is the legacy #SaveAintNoMo creates for the marginalized playwrights of the future.

“Much bigger than ‘Ain’t No Mo’,” he said. “We need to prove that shows like this have an audience. I hope the next person behind me doesn’t have to campaign for their work.

“We have a lot more power than we think we have.”

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