Ruby Dee’s life-affirming ‘FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE’ is back in the New York Times

Miss Annie Raines–played by Broadway star Ruby Dee– was born in Alabama in 1917. She moved to New York City in 1942.

Her teenage son who was dying of AIDS, James Foreman, wrote this life-affirming play while suffering from the virus. “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow Is Enuf” had its world premiere in a West Village lounge in 1986 and had a run for more than a year. It picked up its New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1991.

She was nominated for a Tony Award for lead actress in a play for her work in the 1988 revival.

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, the revival of “For Colored Girls” will be directed by Broadway stalwart, Kenny Leon, who previously directed the Broadway revivals of “Fences” and “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Last weekend, “For Colored Girls” was voted stage play of the year by the Drama Desk. Mr. Leon is also nominated for the director’s award, which will be announced next month.

Directed by Kenny Leon at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Nov. 8, 2016. (Jazz at Lincoln Center/Jamie Grill)

Ms. Dee and Mr. Foreman’s son, Paul Edward Foreman, was given a significant part in the premiere when Ms. Dee played the surrogate mother who is battling her husband about abortion. Mr. Foreman wrote a play, “Passion and Reason: A Father’s Process,” that begins on a back street of Harlem while James Foreman is being wheeled by.

‘For Colored Girls’ was originally a play and a two-hour film. It has never been completed, although it is believed that Ms. Dee’s son is performing it for a documentary that appears to be nearing completion. Mr. Foreman is also credited for the song that was nominated in the 2008 Tony Awards for “Brass in Pocket.” He has gone on to become a best-selling author, and earned a Tony nomination for writing the music for the children’s show “I’m Your Baby and I’m Sorry.”

It is quite rare for repertory shows to be given the same production cycle as plays; a Broadway revival of a play can take only a year to be staged, since the parts can be cast and rehearsed in a shorter time. But long-running revivals of plays, especially musicals, have lengthy, repeat engagement periods, since a new cast must be cast as well as a new book.

In fact, it is highly unlikely that the revivals of the two-part “Guys and Dolls” and “Titanic” will ever be staged on Broadway again.

David Ronn is a news correspondent based in Boston. His website is www.davidronn.com.

David Ronn is a news correspondent based in Boston. His website is www.davidronn.com.

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