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Coming Soon

Robert O’Hara’s Barbecue Set to Premiere at The Public Theater

The world premiere of Barbecue, written by Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara, is set to premiere at The Public Theater this fall. Directed by Kent Gash (Miss Evers’ Boys), Barbecue begins previews on Tuesday, September 22 and runs through Sunday, November 1, with an official press opening on Thursday, October 8.

The complete cast of Barbecue features Becky Ann Baker, John Earl Jelks, Arden Myrin, Paul Niebanck, Tamberla Perry, Constance Shulman, Heather Alicia Simms, Samantha Soule, Benja Kay Thomas, and Kim Wayans.

The O’Mallerys have gathered in their local park to share some barbecue and straight talk with their sister Barbara, whose spiral of drugs and recklessness has forced her siblings to stage an open-air intervention. But the event becomes raucous and unpredictable as familial stereotypes collide with hard realities, and racial politics slam up against the stories we tell—and maybe even believe—about who we were and who we become. Kent Gash directs this new play that proves family can be a bigger vice than any other addiction.

Robert O’Hara  (Playwright). His credits for The Public Theater include his play Insurrection: Holding History; as well as directing Wild With Happy and The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2). His recent Off-Broadway and regional credits include Bootycandy (Obie Award) at Playwrights Horizons, In the Continuum (Obie Award) at Primary Stages, Marie Antoinette at Steppenwolf Theater Company, Five Guys Named Moe and The Mountaintop at Arena Theater. He is currently the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theater.

Kent Gash (Director). His credits include Langston in Harlem at Urban Stages, which earned the AUDELCO Award for Best Musical; Brokeology at Julliard; Miss Ever’s Boys and Home for the Melting Post Theatre; and Beggar’s Holiday at the York Theatre Company. He received his B.F.A. from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and his M.F.A. in Directing from UCLA. He is the Founding Director of NYU Tisch, New Studio on Broadway.

John Earl Jelks was recently seen in Lemon Andersen’s Toast at The Public Theater. His Broadway credits include Holla If Ya Hear Me; August Wilson’s Radio Golf, and August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. He has performed Off-Broadway in Fetch Clay, Make Man; Sunset Baby; The Break of Noon; Magnolia; and Two Trains Running.

Tamberla Perry  has appeared regionally in Race; In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play; Eclipsed; The North Plan; The Brothers/Sisters Plays; Fedra; The Overwhelming; Bus Stop; Icarus; The Piano Lesson; Black Diamond; among others.

Heather Alicia Simms  has appeared at The Public Theater in The Brothers/Sisters Plays, Part 1 and 2. Her Broadway credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of Great Lakes and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

Kenja Kay Thomas has appeared Off-Broadway in Robert O’Hara’s Bootycandy. Her additional theater credits include Insurrection: Holding History; Unspeakable; Pearl’s Gone Blue; Intimate Apparel; Steal Away; The Bow Wow Club; Brave Brood; American Menu; and God, The Crack House & The Devil. She has appeared in film in The Cycle, the Dying Truth, The Warrior Class, and A Gun for Jennifer.

Kim Wayans appeared on television in “In Living Color” from 1990 to 2001. Her numerous additional film and television credits include Pariah; Dance Flick; Talking about Sex; “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; A Low Down Dirty Shame; Juwanna Mann; “In the House;” “Waynehead;” “The Wayans Bros;” “Reckless;” “Hawaii Five-O;” and “The Soul Man;” among others.

Member tickets are available now, and single tickets, starting at $50, can be accessed by calling (212) 967-7555, visiting, or in person at the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street. Free tickets to the first preview on Tuesday, September 22 will be available via TodayTix mobile lottery, launching Tuesday, September 15. Winners will be notified by email and push notifications between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the day of the first preview. Winners must confirm their winning tickets in the TodayTix app within one hour of being notified.

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