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Trouble in Mind

February 5 – March 13, 2022
(Opening night: Thursday, February 10, 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.

Trouble in Mind is supported by production sponsors Sheryl and Harvey White as well as artist sponsor Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust.

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

Cast and Creative


Alice Childress (Playwright, Trouble in Mind), 1916–1994, was an American playwright, novelist, and actress, known for realistic stories that posited the enduring optimism of black Americans. Childress grew up in Harlem, New York City, where she acted with the American Negro Theatre in the 1940s. There she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play, Florence (produced 1949), about a black woman who, after meeting an insensitive white actress in a railway station, comes to respect her daughter’s attempts to pursue an acting career. Trouble in Mind (produced 1955; revised and published 1971), Wedding Band (produced 1966), String (produced 1969), and Wine in the Wilderness (produced 1969) all examine racial and social issues. Among Childress’ plays that feature music are Just a Little Simple (produced 1950; based on Langston Hughes’s Simple Speaks His Mind), Gold Through the Trees (produced 1952), The African Garden (produced 1971), Gullah (produced 1984; based on her 1977 play Sea Island Song), and Moms (produced 1987; about the life of comedienne Jackie “Moms” Mabley). Childress was also a successful writer of 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, Trouble in Mind) is a founder and the former Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre, which she helmed for 12 acclaimed seasons, receiving the Des McAnuff New Visions Award for risk-taking leadership and body of work and the 2015 Director of the Year Award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. She has also directed plays for The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, and New Village Arts, among others. Some of her honors include Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations Program grant, San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards, Women’s International Center Living Legacy Award, Van Lier Fund fellowship (Second Stage Theatre), and New York Drama League’s Directors Project.


Publicity Photos

Playwright Alice Childress. Photo courtesy of The Old Globe.
Playwright Alice Childress. Photo courtesy of The Old Globe.
Director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg. Photo courtest of The Old Globe.
Director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg. Photo courtest of The Old Globe.