‘Jaja’s African Hair Braiding’ Extends Run On Broadway
The Manhattan Theatre Club has extended the run dates for Jaja’s African Hair Braiding ahead of its Oct. 3 opening night.
According to Playbill, the Broadway production, extended through Nov. 5, is the MTC’s first production for the 2023-2024 Broadway season at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
The play, written by Jocelyn Bioh, invites audiences into the experiences of the West African hairstylists at Jaja’s Harlem hair braiding salon. Love, dreams, and secrets unfold as the women bless neighborhood customers with different braided masterpieces.
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Earlier this month, Bioh discussed details about her preparations for the play with The New York Times. The New York native told the outlet about her mission to take theatergoers “into this really unique, funny, crazy, exciting, in some ways mundane, space that holds women who all have incredible stories.” Together, Bioh and the play’s director, Whitney White, thought of a way to bring a range of hairdos to life on the main stage.
Wig designer Nikiya Mathis constructed a variety of wig styles for the production.
“There are so many moving pieces to the show that involve hair, and it’s not just me backstage,” Mathis said. “It’s also the actors onstage; it’s what Jocelyn has written, and it’s what Whitney will be helping us to reveal.”
Cast members practiced braiding techniques during rehearsals to prepare to execute the styles in real time on stage.
“Part of that,” Mathis added, “is going to be the magic of figuring out how we’re going to construct the wigs and how to potentially take them apart.”
Playbill credited A-listers, including LaChanze, Taraji P. Henson, and Madison Wells Live, as part of the play’s producing team. The cast of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding features Brittany Adebumola, Maechi Aharanwa, Rachel Christopher, Kalyne Coleman, Somi Kakom, Lakisha May, Nana Mensah, Michael Oloyede, Dominique Thorne, and Zenzi Williams.