Lee Daniels’ first foray onto Broadway is off to a soaring start. The new play Ain’t No Mo’, which Daniels is producing, opened at the Belasco Theatre in New York City on Wednesday night to a sold-out and star-studded house at its first preview performance.
Celebrity guests of the night included Queen Latifah, Miss Lawrence, NeNe Leakes, Melba Moore, Bevy Smith, Tasha Smith and more.
The play centers around this simple and mischievous idea: what if the U.S. government offered Black Americans a one-way ticket to Africa? Five passengers grapple with the notion in this unpredictable comedy that questions the role of being Black in today’s America. It blends sketch, satire and avant-garde theater into one turbulent ride.
The play is the brainchild of queer playwright Jordan E. Cooper, who also stars Peaches, a sassy flight attendant who navigates her passengers through this bumpy ordeal. Cooper received a Special Citation Obie Award for his comedic drama, making him, at 27, the youngest American playwright on Broadway. Cooper is also the creator and executive producer for the BET+ sitcom The Ms. Pat Show, which was conceived with comedian Patricia Williams.
Black plays and musicals have been garnering major support from Black celebrities and other influential figures with a keen interest to bring more diverse voices to the live stage. NBA champion, producer and entrepreneur Dwyane Wade and his wife, actress, best-selling author and producer Gabrielle Union, have joined Ain’t No Mo’s creative team through Wade’s production company 59th and Prairie Entertainment and Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions.
The Tony Award-winning production of A Strange Loop, which will end its Broadway run in January 2023, also boasted a star-power collection of celebrity producers, with the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Billy Porter and producer and drag queen pioneer RuPaul, who has also joined the Ain’t No Mo’ creative team.
Ain’t No Mo’ played to overwhelming acclaim at New York City’s The Public Theater in 2019. The show officially opens on Broadway December 1.