Little Rock: A New Play Written and Directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Performances Begin June 8, 2018


( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Little Rock: A New Play Written and Directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Performances Begin June 8, 2018

Harvey Butler, in association with The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, presents the Off-Broadway premiere of the new play Little Rock, play written and directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj.  Performances begin Wednesday, June 8, 2018, for a limited run through September 8, 2018at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (18 Bleecker Street).  Opening Night is set for Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 7:00 PM.

The nine-member cast features Rebekah Brockman (The Bridge of Spies), Justin Cunningham (The Winter’s Tale), Damian Jermaine Thompson, Anita Welch, Charlie Hudson III (A Raisin in the Sun),  Peter O’Connor, Ashley Robinson (A Clockwork Orange), Stephanie Umoh (Ragtime), and making her New York stage debut Shanice Williams, who was last seen as Dorothy on NBC’s The Wiz.

History called it heroism. They called it high school. Little Rock tells the riveting true story of The Little Rock Nine, the first black students to attend their city’s formerly segregated Little Rock Central High School three years after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision ruled separating students based on race was unconstitutional. What began as their quest for a better education soon became a national crisis, igniting the passions of a divided country and sparking a historic fight for justice in the Jim Crow south. On the cusp of the Civil Rights movement, a changing world watched as these nine children from Arkansas battled for their rights, armed with only a notebook and pencil. At once harrowing and hopeful, Little Rock brings urgently to life The Nine’s untold personal stories of challenge and resilience, conjuring memories of America not so long ago. From writer and director Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, this deeply moving play honors the bravery of these young heroes and asks audiences: Would you have had the courage? “The task that remains is to embrace our interdependence – to see ourselves reflected in every other human being and to respect and honor our differences.” -Dr. Melba Patillo Beals. “If we have honestly acknowledged our painful but shared past, then we can have reconciliation.” -Elizabeth Eckford

Little Rock received a developmental production as part of the 2011 New Works Festival at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California. It went on to receive a production in 2014 at Passage Theatre in Trenton, NJ where it won the 2015 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

“We find ourselves, 60 years after ‘The Crisis’ in Little Rock, still struggling as a nation with segregated schools, inadequate academic resources, systemic gaps in achievement and unsafe schools” shared Harvey Butler, the producer. “The Little Rock Nine as teenagers were a catalyst that helped accelerate potential resolution of these issues in 1957-58. We hope this play will honor their contribution to American history and encourage a movement that recommits the nation to the pursuit of academic excellence for all — with deliberate policies and strategies that guarantee the right to a quality public education in an environment free of emotional, psychological and physical threat to our future leaders.”

The creative team for Little Rock includes Darryl G. Ivey (music director), Rasean Davonte Johnson (scenic design), Leslie Bernstein (Costume Design), Anshuman Bhatia (lighting design), Lindsay Jones (sound design), Wendall K. Harrington (projection design), Robert Westley (fight direction), and Nikkole Salter (dramaturg).  The Production Stage Manager is Giles T. Horne.

Little Rock will play the following performance schedule: Tuesdays – Thursdays at 7:30PM, Fridays at 8:00PM, Saturdays at 3:00PM & 8:00PM, and Sundays at 3:00PM & 7:30PM. Please note:  There are special added performances on Monday, June 4, and Monday, July 2 at 7:30PM.  There will be no performances on Wednesday, July 4.

Tickets for Little Rock, NOW ON SALE are priced from $39 – $99, with Premium Seats priced at $119 – $125, and Student Tickets at $25, plus $2 facility fee & $6 convenience fee per ticket.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.littlerockplay.comor at The Sheen Center Box Office (18 Bleecker Street, MondayFriday 11:00AM – 5:00PM, and one hour prior to every performance), or by calling the Box Office at (212) 925-2812.  All Group sales orders must be submitted directly to The Sheen Center Box Office. No paper orders will be accepted for Little Rock; only orders placed via email through boxoffice@sheencenter.orgwill be considered. For additional information, please visit the website at

Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj (Playwright/Director) is an Indo-Afro-Caribbean American artist, educator, and activist. As a playwright, he has authored several plays, including Little Rock (2015 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play, TCG/NEA New Generations Grant); Daisy, inspired by the life and legacy of Daisy Lee Bates; and Hansberry/Baldwin (Semi-Finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Playwright Festival). Other commissioned work includes Diss Diss and Dis Dat, a new hip-hop musical inspired by the music of the Funkie Natives; Grey and Twenty-Five; Black Footnotes (Sloan Grant/Ensemble Studio Theater) and Children of the Dream. Co-written and co-conceived work: Sweet Lorraine; The Ballad of Trayvon Martin; Mother Emanuel, An American Musical Play (winner of the 2016 NY Fringe Overall Excellence Award for Musical); History of the Word; Exposures. Selected NYC Directing/Choreography credits: The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Lark Play Development Center, New Federal Theatre, Rebel Theater, Making Books Sing. Selected Regional Directing/Choreography: Yale University/Yale Dramatic Association, Passage Theatre (Little Rock), TheatreWorks (Little Rock), Signature Stage, Syracuse Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Black Rep, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Prince Musical Theatre, Theatre of the Stars, The Goodman Theatre and Portland Stage Company. Maharaj has held artistic residencies with New Freedom Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Kennedy Center, Crossroads Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, as well as Amas Musical Theatre and Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC. He is the former Artistic Director of New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia. Recipient of the Woodie King Jr. Award for Outstanding Direction, four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO awards for his direction and choreography, and the S.A.L.T. Award for Director of the year. Maharaj is an alumnus of Lincoln Center Directors Lab and TCG Young Leaders of Color in the American Theater.