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Kecia Lewis Assumes The Role of “Mother Courage”

I don’t know about y’all, but I was biting my nails waiting to see who was going to step into the role of “Mother Courage” in Classic Stage Company’s production of Mother Courage and Her Children. The answer to that question is six-time Broadway alum, Kecia Lewis.

Making her Broadway debut as “Effie” in Dreamgirls at the age of 18, Lewis has gone on to lead a rich career on the Great White Way. She originated the role of “Aska” in Once on this Island, “Trix” in The Drowsey Chaperone, and “Ida Mae” in Leap of Faith. Additionally, Lewis has been seen in Big River, Ain’t Misbehavin, Gospel At Colonus, and Chicago. On screen, Lewis has a recurring role on “Law & Order: SVU” and “Limitless.” She’ll also be featured in the new season of Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

There’s no beating around the bush. Tonya Pinkins left the cast before the show opened. Some called her angry, some called her courageous, and some debated over her decision with summaries written by people who clearly didn’t read her statement. It was controversial. And while my opinion falls on the side of praising a woman who knows her worth, creative value, and duty to protect and depict a sincere portrait, I realize that this is merely MY opinion, as this decision was HER decision.

But none of these revelations outweigh the fact that, as Pinkins so eloquently pinned, #BlackPerspectivesMatter.

The show clearly had to go on, but I have a word for Mrs. Lewis: As you join this company, the tremendous talent that you are, don’t let the show go on without your voice and vision infused into your portrayal of this role.

“Mother Courage” is a woman that takes the highs with the lows, and, in fact, turns the lows into a version of energetic strength. This is a woman determined — fueled with indomitable willpower, resourcefulness, and courage – and on a relentless journey to keep herself and her children alive.

This production takes a story, which was originally set to depict a European wartime, and deliberately molds it to give relevance to the modern-day conflagration in the Congo. Our culture is supposed to be woven into this play, and I challenge you, Mrs. Lewis, to defend the integrity of our people.

CSC artistic director, Brian Kulick, wanted to grow Mother Courage’s character from soils of “delusion,” but I challenge you to allow your character to soar in a way that reflects your perspective and truth as a Black woman and mother.

Lewis has big shoes to fill. And they’re laced with consciousness and bravery.

As we get settled into the new year, there’s one thing we’re not settling on– our representation. We’re going to continue to fight to have our voices heard and our stories shared in creative spaces.

Break a leg, Mrs. Lewis.

Mother Courage And Her Children began previews December 10 and Lewis starts January 8.The cast also includes Joshua Boone, Curtiss Cook Jr., Kevin Mambo, Jacob Ming-Trent, Geoffrey Owens, Michael Potts, Deandre Sevon, Mirirai Sithole and Zenzi Williams. The score is written by Duncan Sheik, set design by Tony Straiges, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Justin Townsend and sound design by Matt Stine.

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