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Trouble in Mind

February 05 - March 13

Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
Old Globe Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

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Photo Credits

Ramona Keller appears as Wiletta Mayer in Trouble in Mind, 2021. Photo by Rich Soublet II.

Trouble in Mind
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Summary

February 5 – March 13, 2022

Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
Old Globe Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

By Alice Childress
Directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg

A thrilling new production of a too-often neglected American classic. New York, 1955. A leading Black actress and a multiracial cast rehearse a challenging new Broadway play set in the South. Backstage rivalries and showbiz egos cause excitement of their own, but artistic differences between the cast and the White director soon bubble to the surface, revealing the truths that American drama covers over and the ways in which even well-meaning people can harm others under the guise of helping. The New York Times recently called Alice Childress’s groundbreaking Trouble in Mind “a rich, unsettling play that lingers in one’s memory long after its conclusion.”

Contains strong language.

Open Caption Performance: Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.

Trouble in Mind is supported by production sponsors Sheryl and Harvey White and artist sponsors Ric and Eleanor Charlton (for Director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg) and Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust (for Ramona Keller).

Calendar

Cast and Creatives

Cast

Creatives

Alice Childress (Playwright) (1916–1994) was an American playwright, novelist, and actress. Throughout her career, she examined the true meaning of being Black, and especially of being Black and female, in America. Childress grew up in Harlem, where she acted with the American Negro Theatre in the 1940s. There she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play, Florence (1949), about a Black woman who, after meeting an insensitive White actress, comes to respect her daughter’s attempts to pursue an acting career. Trouble in Mind (1955), Wedding Band (1966), String (1969), and Wine in the Wilderness (1969) all examine racial and social issues. Among Childress’s plays with music are Just a Little Simple (1950), Gold Through the Trees (1952), The African Garden (1971), Gullah (1984; based on her 1977 play Sea Island Song), and Moms (1987). Childress also wrote children’s literature. A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich (1973; film 1978) is a novel for adolescents about a teenage drug addict. Similarly, the novel Rainbow Jordan (1981) concerns the struggles of poor Black urban youth. Also written for juveniles were the plays When the Rattlesnake Sounds (1975) and Let’s Hear It for the Queen (1976). Her other novels include A Short Walk (1979), Many Closets (1987), and Those Other People (1989).

Delicia Turner Sonnenberg (Director) Founder and former Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre for 12 acclaimed seasons (Des McAnuff New Visions Award for risk-taking leadership and body of work, 2015 Director of the Year Award from San Diego Theatre Critics Circle). Directing credits: The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, New Village Arts, more. Honors: Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations Program grant, San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards, Women’s International Center Living Legacy Award, Second Stage Theatre’s Van Lier Fund fellowship, New York Drama League’s Directors Project.

Lawrence E. Moten III (Scenic Design) (he/him/his) Broadway: Chicken & Biscuits (Circle in the Square), What the Constitution Means to Me (also on tour; as associate). Regional: The West End (Cincinnati Playhouse), The Sound Inside (TheaterWorks Hartford), Hype Man (ART, Company One), Gloria (ACT), STEW (Page 73), Hi, Are You Single? (Woolly Mammoth), Feeding Beatrice (Rep St. Louis), The White Chip (59E59), Native Son (Playmakers Rep), House of Joy (CalShakes), A Human Being, of a Sort (Williamstown), The Royale (Capital Rep), Behind the Sheet (Ensemble Studio Theatre). Lecturer: Princeton University. Member: USA 829, Wingspace Theatrical Design. Education: B.F.A. from Ithaca College. Motendesigns.com.

Nicole Jescinth Smith (Costume Design) Broadway: Venus in Fur (as associate costume designer). Film/television: “Ramy” season 3(Hulu), “Kindred” pilot (FX), Hit and Run (Netflix; as associate costume designer), “Pose” season 2 (FX; as assistant costume designer), The Americans (FX; as assistant costume designer). Nominations: Emmy for Outstanding Period Costumes. Education: M.F.A. in Theatrical Costume Design from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, B.F.A. in Theatrical Costume Design from University of Miami. @nickystyles007 on Instagram.

Sherrice Mojgani (Lighting Design) The Old Globe: What You Are, Skeleton Crew. Regional: The Heiress, Two Trains Running (Arena Stage), Spunk, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Scottsboro Boys (Signature Theatre), A Few Good Men, Sweat (Pittsburgh Public Theater), Roz and Ray, Black Pearl Sings, Outside Mullingar (San Diego Repertory Theatre), Blue Door, Trouble in Mind, Mud Blue Sky (MOXIE Theatre). Other: assistant professor at George Mason University. Education: B.A. in Theater Arts from UC Santa Cruz, M.F.A. in Lighting Design from UC San Diego. smojgani.com.

Luqman Brown (Sound Design) The Old Globe: What You Are. Off Broadway/New York: Hot Wing King, Hurt Village (Signature Theatre), Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d (The Duke), Three Musketeers (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Peculiar Patriot (National Black Theatre), Adoration of the Old Woman (INTAR Theatre), Detroit ’67 (Julliard), Cockfight (Fordham University Theatre), 12 Angry Men (Billie Holiday Theatre). Regional: The Garden (La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage), Legacy Land (KC Rep), Everybody Black (2019 Humana Fest), Skeleton Crew (TheatreSquared), The Parchment Hour (Guthrie Theater). Film: The Forty-Year-Old Version. Honors:2017 and 2018 Audelco Awards. luqmanbrown.nyc.

Kelly Gillespie, CSA (Casting) Manhattan Theatre Club: Casting Director; Skeleton Crew, Prayer for the French Republic, Ink, Choir Boy, more. WP Theater: Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, What We’re Up Against, Sundown Yellow Moon, Ironbound. 13P: Melancholy Play, A Map of Virtue, The Zero Hour, Monstrosity. Foundry and Public Theater: Good Person of Szechwan. Ensemble Studio Theatre: Photograph 51. Actors Theatre of Louisville: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Angels in America, Residence, Seven Guitars, 4000 Miles, Dot, The Roommate, Eat Your Heart Out. Others: TACT and Keen Company. B.A. University of Michigan.

Chandra R.M. Anthenill (Production Stage Manager) The Old Globe: Krapp’s Last Tape, What You Are, Tiny Beautiful Things, Globe for All (2017–2021), Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Guys and Dolls, Camp David, The Comedy of Errors. Regional: The Garden, POP Tour (2020), Junk: The Golden Age of Debt (La Jolla Playhouse), Fun Home, Beachtown, Roz and Ray, Into the Beautiful North, Outside Mullingar, The Oldest Boy, Oedipus El Rey, Honky (San Diego Repertory Theatre), The Last Wife, Bad Jews, Sons of the Prophet, True West, Fool for Love, Spring Awakening, Assassins, Company (Cygnet Theatre Company), Pippin (Diversionary Theatre).

Kendra Stockton (Assistant Stage Manager) The Old Globe: Hair, Almost Famous, As You Like It, Ken Ludwig’s The Gods of Comedy, Familiar, Clint Black’s Looking for Christmas, Much Ado About Nothing, Benny & Joon, October Sky, Bright Star, Dog and Pony, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (as production assistant). Regional: House of Joy (San Diego Rep), Home of the Brave, #SuperShinySara, Guards at the Taj, The Orphan of Zhao, The Who & The What (La Jolla Playhouse), The Loneliest Girl in the World (Diversionary Theatre), miXtape (Lamb’s Players Theatre), Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (San Diego Musical Theatre).

Reviews

“The Play of the Moment!” —The New York Times

“The play still has a lion’s bite six decades on! A rock-solid, ferociously funny, tense piece of writing! Her play is a lesson in construction, in the hot-blooded interplay of satire and seriousness. Trouble in Mind is just plain good.” —The New York Post                                                                                                                                          

Trouble in Mind is an exploration of the racial divide in the 1950s. So it works perfectly in the 2020s!”  —ABC News

“Something that the playwright struggled with in the ’50s still chimes loudly in present day.”   —Variety