East West Players will present “The Great Jheri Curl Debate” by Inda Craig-Galván, directed by Scarlett Kim, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 9.
Veralynn Jackson knows hair, she knows her neighborhood, and she also knows that the invention of the Jheri Curl marks the end of the world. When she takes a job in Mr. Kim’s Korean-owned Black beauty supply store and the posters start talking to her, Veralynn might finally come to know her true calling.
“East West Players is thrilled to see a play developed in our Playwrights Group make its world premiere on the David Henry Hwang Theater stage,” shares EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai. “Inda is a prolific playwright who writes with heart and an intoxicating, hypnotic theatrical flair.
“Along with ‘The Great Jheri Curl Debate,’ East West Players will be presenting two other productions this fall that center on the conversation between the Black and Asian communities, ‘The Brothers Paranormal’ by Prince Gomolvilas and ‘When Yuri Met Malcolm’ by Rosie Narasaki. We hope you will join us on this road trip from Chicago to New Orleans to Berkeley. Together these works are an inspiring trio that demonstrate the power, strength, and solidarity that arises when we take the time to listen to each other’s stories.”
The cast: Julanne Chidi Hill (“Fences,” “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe: Revisited,” ABC’s “Black-ish”) as Veralynn Jackson; Ryun Yu (“Hold These Truths,” “The Language Archive,” Netflix’s “Fuller House”) as Mr. Kim; Ray Baker (“Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?,” “Bent,” “Total Recall”) as Jheri Redding; Mildred Marie Langford (“Intimate Apparel,” “Native Son,” “The Crucible,” Amazon’s “Bosch”) as Lorraine; and Bruce A. Lemon Jr. (“What Happens Next,” Sundance short film “Hallelujah”) as Marvin.
Creative: Alice Tuan, dramaturgy; Carlo Maghiriang, scenic design; Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh, media design; Rye Mandel, properties design; Mylette Nora, costume design; Shelia Dorn, hair and wig design; Wesley Charles Siu Muen Chew, lighting design; John Zalewski, sound design; Amber Dettmers, stage manager; B. Angel Drake, assistant stage manager; ViVi Le, COVID safety manager.
Developed in EWP’s Playwrights Group and a finalist for the 44th annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival, “The Great Jheri Curl Debate” will premiere on the East West Players stage at the David Henry Hwang Theatre, 120 Judge John Aiso St. in Little Tokyo. Show runs 90 minutes with no intermission.
Previews: Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15-16, 8 p.m.; Press Night: Saturday, Sept. 17, 8 p.m.
Regular performances: Sunday, Sept. 18, 5 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 24, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 25, 5 p.m.; Pay-What-You-Can Night, Monday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 1, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 2, 5 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 8, 2 and 8 p.m.; Closing Night, Sunday, Oct. 9, 5 p.m .
All patrons must show proof of vaccination and photo ID to be admitted into the theater. The theater has implemented numerous COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure that artists and audience members are able to safely enjoy their experience. For more information about these measures please click or tap here.
Ticket prices range from $40 to $60. Student, senior and group discounts are available. For tickets and more information, call (213) 625-7000 or visit www.eastwestplayers.org.