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Trouble in Mind — Roundabout Theatre (2021)

Extended production biography

Trouble in Mind is an American play that explores the backstage rehearsal drama of a new fictitious Broadway production, Chaos in Belleville, and themes of racism and sexism in American theatre. Its Broadway journey, in many ways, mirrors Alice Childress’ challenges in creating the play. Opening to critical acclaim off-Broadway in 1955, Childress was on track to become the first Black woman playwright on Broadway with a non-musical play. However, the initial journey was derailed, as she refused to compromise on her artistic vision after agreeing to rename the production So Early Monday Morning. As a result of her resistance, Lorraine Hansberry became the first Black woman playwright on Broadway with A Raisin in the Sun (1959).

Despite a 65-year delay, Trouble in Mind finally made its Broadway debut on November 18, 2021, at the American Airlines Theatre. The production was directed by Charles Randolph-Wright and featured scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Kathy A. Perkins, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, original music by Nona Hendryx, and hair and wig design by Cookie Jordan.

The production starred Tony Award-winner LaChanze as Wiletta, Michael Zegen as Al, Chuck Cooper as Sheldon, Danielle Campbell as Judy, Brandon Micheal Hall as John, Jessica Frances Dukes as Millie, Don Stephenson as Bill, Simon Jones as Henry, and Alex Mickiewicz as Eddie.

After 58 performances and 20 previews, the limited run closed on January 9, 2022, garnering four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play, Best Actress in a Play (LaChanze), Best Featured Actor in a Play (Chuck Cooper), and Best Costume Design in a Play (Emilio Sosa). According to American Theatre magazine, Trouble in Mind is among the most produced plays of 2022-23, and Childress is among the most-produced playwrights with productions of both Trouble in Mind and Wedding Band.