Austin Playhouse is thrilled to open its 2018 – 2019 season with the
world premiere of Monroe by local playwright 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.
Lisa B. Thompson’s plays have been produced throughout the US and internationally at
Brava for Women in the Arts, New Professional Theatre, The Vortex Repertory, Theatre
Rhinoceros, Crossroads Theatre, National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa,
Company of Angels Theater, New African Grove Theatre Company, Montreal Fringe
Festival, Black Spectrum Theatre, FronteraFest, and the National Black Theatre Festival.
Her plays include Single Black Female (LA Weekly Theatre Award best comedy
nominee), Underground (Austin Critics Table David Mark Cohen New Play Award),
Monroe (Austin Playhouse Festival of New Texas Plays Winner), and The Mamalogues.
Thompson is Associate Professor of African & African Diaspora Studies at the
University of Texas at Austin and the author of Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the
New African American Middle Class. She has held residencies at Hedgebrook, The
Millay Colony for the Arts, Harvard University’s W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute,
and Stanford University’s Michele R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research.
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.