Austin Playhouse is thrilled to open its 2018 – 2019 season with the world premiere of Monroe by local playwright Dr. Lisa B. Thompson. The play was a winner of the Austin Playhouse Festival of New Texas Plays, receiving a staged reading in April 2018.
Following the lynching death of her older brother, Cherry is haunted by the belief that God is telling her to leave the south. Although her family dismisses her eccentric ways, her friend Clyde takes her visions and dreams seriously. When Clyde invites her to go along with him to California, Cherry must decide whether being the keeper of her family’s roots and cultural traditions justifies living under Jim Crow. Set in rural Louisiana during the Great Migration, Monroe explores how the threat and aftermath of racial terror dominates the psyches of young African Americans, while offering hope for a better future.
Dr. Lisa B. Thompson is a theatre artist and scholar whose critically acclaimed plays exploring issues of race, class, sexuality and gender have been produced across the United States and Canada. Recently in Austin, her play Underground received its world premiere at The VORTEX and won the 2017 Austin Critics’ Table David Mark Cohen New Play Award. Thompson’s other plays include The Mamalogues, Dinner, Single Black Female (nominee for the 2005 LA Weekly Theatre Award for best comedy), and Dreadtime Stories: One Sista’s Hair (Inner City Cultural Center Talent Festival Finalist).
She is Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and affiliate faculty in the departments of English, Women and Gender Studies and Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. This year, Thompson was honored with a Texas 10 Award, given annually to UT’s most inspiring professors by the Alcalde magazine.
Monroe will be directed by Lara Toner Haddock and star Deja Morgan as Cherry Henry with Crystal Bird Caviel as Viola Henry and Kriston Woodreaux as Clyde James. The cast also includes Austin Playhouse Company Members Huck Huckaby as Dr. Wyland, Carla Nickerson as Ma Henry, and Marc Pouhé as Seymour Jones. The production team includes Barry Miller (stage manager), Diana Huckaby (costume designer), and Mike Toner (set designer).
Austin Playhouse is a professional theatre embarking on its 19th season. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Don Toner and Artistic Director Lara Toner Haddock, Austin Playhouse has grown from a three-play season on the campus of Concordia University, to a year-round operation producing an average of five mainstage plays a year along with two theatre for youth productions and a new play festival. Austin Playhouse is currently performing at the Austin Community College Highland campus.