Despite critical acclaim and the support of big-name stars, Jordan E. Cooper’s Broadway production of Ain’t No Mo’ is closing less than three weeks after its opening day.
The woke comedic play follows a slate of black characters, some of them drag queens, who are part of the first wave of black Americans given free passage to Africa by the U.S. government as part of a package for slavery reparations, the Hollywood Reporter revealed.
According to the production’s website, the show takes its audience on a journey asking, “What if the U.S. government offered Black Americans one-way plane tickets to Africa?”
“Moving faster than a transatlantic jet plane, this unprecedented, unpredictable comedy speeds through the turbulent skies of being Black in today’s America,” the pitch continues, added, “Brilliantly blending sketch, satire, avant garde theater, and a dose of drag, AIN’T NO MO’ will leave you crying with laughter—and thinking through the tears.”
The production is headed by Lee Daniels, whose 2001 film Monster’s Ball made him the first black solo producer behind an Oscar-winning film. He also created the TV series Empire (famously undone by a hate hoax perpretrated by star Jussie Smollett), among other high-profile projects.
“Not since the original Dreamgirls have I been so moved by a piece of theater,” Daniels said of the play. “I knew it would take something extraordinary to finally lure me to Broadway, and Ain’t No Mo’ is it… Broadway ain’t gon’ be the same!”
The play also had the outspoken support of stars including Queen Latifah, Tamron Hall, Gayle King, Monique, Clive Davis, Eric Holder, Matthew Broderick, Deborah Cox, Katie Holmes, and others.
Despite all this star power, the woke play could not find an audience. After 22 preview performances and 21 regular shows, the production is turning off its lights on Dec. 18.
As Vulture noted, the show “grossed $120,901 last week, which is ‘well below’ the production’s weekly running costs, and had the lowest average ticket price on Broadway.”
Playwright and star, Jordan E. Cooper, posted a notice to Twitter saying that his show is being “evicted.”
#SaveAINTNOMO ‼️ “Now they’ve posted an eviction notice, we “must close” December 18th. But thank God black people are immune to eviction notices.” pic.twitter.com/7bhQrMR2wH
— Jordan E. Cooper (@JordanECooper_) December 10, 2022
In the show, Cooper plays a drag queen named Peaches — who he calls “the Blackest and the queerest version of myself.” In a profile for Vulture, he said he wrote the play with the assumption that no white people would be in the audience.
“I always say white folks are not invited to the cookout, but we’ll leave the door open,” he said. “You can come in, and you can grab some food, get you a drink, and have a good time.” But don’t expect Cooper or the crowd to attend to whiteness or its concerns. “I wanted to write as if there were none there.”
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