Roundabout Announces Refocus Project, Featuring Works from Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Childress & More | Srtalent


Roundabout Theatre Company and Black Theatre United (BTU) are joining forces for an exciting new initiative. The Refocus Project, a new annual program dedicated to elevating rarely produced and formerly marginalized theatrical voices from communities underrepresented or historically overlooked in the American theater. The first series of play readings, presented in association with BTU, will spotlight 20th century Black plays and their playwrights, including Zora Neale Hurston, Angelina Weld Grimké, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Alice Childress and Samm-Art Williams. Though the play series is free of charge, all donations will support BTU.

Kenny Leon (Photo by Emilio Madrid for

Virtual play readings will begin on April 23 with Grimké’s Rachel, helmed by RTC Resident Director Miranda Haymon. Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct Williams’ Home for April 30. Steve H. Broadnax III is set to helm Du Bois’ I Gotta Home for May 7. Lili-Anne Brown will direct Hurston’s Spunk for May 14. Dominique Ride is set to helm Childress’ Wine in the Wilderness for May 21.

In addition to the weekly play reading series, the Refocus Project will also feature a robust selection of materials, available to industry professionals and the public. Beginning on April 23, a resource library built to encourage and assist with future productions of each title will be available. The Roundabout will work with theatermakers and artistic directors nationwide to encourage viewership and future engagement in the plays, with the intended goal of future productions of these works at theaters all across the country. The Refocus Project will also offer historical information, educational tools, panel discussions with artists, a “Literary Ancestry” essay series curated by Dave Harris and a series finale Community Conversation, hosted by Roundabout Education. A partnership with the New York Public Library will further engage audiences in these offerings.

“The process of researching and reading these plays has been an education in both Black history and American theater history, and it’s been exciting to spend time exploring that intersection,” said Roundabout’s Literary Manager Anna Morton in a statement.

Casting for these virtual readings will be announced later. The second year of the Refocus Project will feature Latinx playwrights. As previously reported, the Roundabout’s 2021-2022 Broadway season will begin with Trouble in Mind by Childress, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. 

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