Art + Culture

St. Ann’s Warehouse presents American Premiere of Red Velvet

Nearly two hundred years ago, a black American teenager named Ira Aldridge left New York City to pursue an acting career in Europe. Next week, he returns home when he takes center stage at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Lolita Chakrabarti’s passionate new play, Red Velvet.

Ira will be portrayed by the divine Adrian Lester in a performance that has garnered unanimous praise from London critics and audiences alike. But it wasn’t an easy road! In a feature New York Times story, Roslyn Sulcas details not only Ira’s difficult journey, but also the obstacles Lolita, Adrian, and director Indhu Rubasingham had to overcome to get Red Velvet produced. “So many people had said no that I began to think, ‘Maybe we are wrong, and it’s really not brilliant.’ And when it then went so well, I thought, ‘How random it all is,’” Lolita says.

According to the New York Times, “Aldridge is an anomaly in theater history: a black actor — and an American — who achieved mainstream success in grand Shakespearean roles at a time when no black actor had ever been seen on the stage of a major London theater, and who went on to win considerable renown in Europe, honored with titles and medals by crowned heads of state.”

Red Velvet just finished its second completely sold-out run in London, and the team is on their way right now. Red Velvet opens March 25 (this Tuesday), so please get your tickets now. The show runs through April 20 only, and this one is not-to-miss.

PS — There will be two opportunities to hear from from the artists themselves, if you are so inclined! Buy tickets for Thursday, March 27 to join in after the show for a Voices On conversation with Lolita, Indhu, Afrian and New Yorker writer Alex Ross + mark your calender for Monday, April 7, when Lolita and Adrian will be speaking at the Drama Book Shop (free & open to public).