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Tyler Perry, Shonda Rhimes help keep ‘radical Black’ play on Broadway


In November, 27-year-0ld Jordan E. Cooper made historical past because the youngest American playwright ever on Broadway when he previewed his present “Ain’t No Mo’,” which started an open run in New York Metropolis this month, that means the present would go on for so long as it was worthwhile.

However earlier than the solid members went onstage Dec. 9, they obtained sudden information, Cooper mentioned throughout a speech after curtain name. The present can be closing on Broadway on Dec. 18 — lower than three weeks after its opening night time.

The announcement appeared to shock viewers members, a few of whom exclaimed “What?” and “No!” in accordance with video of the moment.

Cooper, a queer Black playwright, has mentioned he wrote “Ain’t No Mo’” on the premise of a hypothetical query: “What if the U.S. authorities tried to resolve racism by providing Black Individuals one-way airplane tickets to Africa?” In a Dec. 9 open letter, he described the play as a “radical Black work” that “belongs on Broadway too!”

“Within the title of artwork, within the title of resistance, within the title of we belong right here too … PLEASE SUPPORT THIS PRODUCTION AND BUY A TICKET and are available have church with us,” he wrote.

Echoing his curtain-call speech, Cooper took the plea to Instagram as nicely, posting the open letter with the hashtag #SaveAINTNOMO, hoping to garner assist for the present.

It didn’t take lengthy. After the social media push, a bunch of celebrities — together with filmmaker Tyler Perry, singer Queen Latifah and TV producer Shonda Rhimes — answered Cooper’s name, shopping for out reveals, donating to the manufacturing and internet hosting particular performances of “Ain’t No Mo’.” On Thursday, Cooper introduced that the present had been prolonged on Broadway via Dec. 23.

“Thanks to everybody who purchased a ticket or sponsored one, or posted, or shared, or instructed somebody concerning the present,” he wrote on Instagram. “We’ve had offered out audiences all week.”

Review: ‘Ain’t No Mo’ ’ offers side-splitting laughs and gut-punching truths

The comedy got here to Broadway this 12 months after an prolonged run on the Public Theater in 2019.

On the time, the present was named a New York Instances Critic’s Pick. And this 12 months, the Wrap referred to as it “probably the most audacious” and “the very best new play” to open on Broadway.

“Transferring sooner than a transatlantic jet airplane, this unprecedented, unpredictable comedy speeds via the turbulent skies of being Black in immediately’s America,” the present’s description says. “Brilliantly mixing sketch, satire, avant garde theater, and a dose of drag, AIN’T NO MO’ will depart you crying with laughter—and considering via the tears.”

The manufacturing is directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, who made his Broadway debut alongside Cooper, and produced by filmmaker Lee Daniels, a co-creator of the hit present “Empire.” The typical ticket value was set round $50 to make the present extra reasonably priced, Cooper mentioned.

Within the time since Cooper introduced the play was liable to closing, quite a few reveals have been purchased out by Perry, Rhimes, Sara Ramirez, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade. Drag queen RuPaul, actor-screenwriter Lena Waithe and Queen Latifah have additionally hosted particular performances. And the present has obtained donations from different distinguished figures, together with restaurateur Pinky Cole and producer Swizz Beatz.

Legendary entertainer Whoopi Goldberg got here to see “Ain’t No Mo’” and expressed her assist in a video posted Friday.

Ramirez, who had roles in “And Simply Like That” and “Gray’s Anatomy,” is one other one of many stars shopping for out performances. The actor mentioned in a video posted Saturday that they hope the present runs past its extension.

“I actually imagine in what they’re doing proper now, and I actually don’t suppose that this present ought to shut on Dec. 23,” Ramirez mentioned.

They inspired anybody who had the means to unfold the phrase about “Ain’t No Mo’,” submit about it on social media or purchase tickets to the present at Belasco Theatre.

“I actually imagine this present can discover its viewers, it simply wants time,” Ramirez mentioned.

On Saturday, Cooper took to Instagram once more to thank those that have supported the present.

“If we hold this up, who is aware of how far we’ll go,” Cooper wrote within the caption. “Like I mentioned, that is greater than one play, it’s about change.”

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