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Controversial ‘Slave Play’ Is Broadway Bound

Slave Play,” a controversial drama that examined race and sexuality, is moving to Broadway for a limited run.

Written by theatrical wunderkind Jeremy O. Harris, “Slave Play” was a sensation when it ran at the New York Theatre Workshop, drawing such bold-faced names as Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, and Tony Kushner. The show will debut at the Golden Theatre this fall for a 17-week engagement — it begins preview performances on Sept. 10 and officially opens on Oct. 6. Harris mounted the production while he was still in drama school.

It’s a bold move, given that “Slave Play” with its provocative subject matter, is pretty far removed from the Disney musicals and “Harry Potter” brand extensions that currently dominate the Great White Way.

The show, which follows interracial couples who engage in a bizarre form of psychosexual therapy, was certainly polarizing. Some reviewers, such as the New York Times’ Wesley Morris, hailed the show as ““the single most daring thing I’ve seen in theater in a long time,” but it also inspired criticism and a change.org petition agitating for its cancellation.

The show is produced by Greg Nobile and Jana Shea of Seaview Productions, Troy Carter, Level Forward, and Nine Stories, founded by Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker. It’s directed by Robert O’Hara. Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

In a statement Harris said, “During my very short time being a professional writer, the world I thought I’d inhabit was one at odds with a commercial theatrical landscape; so to see that this play, ‘Slave Play,’ that interrogates the traumas Americans have inherited from the legacy of chattel slavery and colonization has a place in the canon of work that has made its way to Broadway is both exhilarating and humbling.”

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