The Arthur Laurents Theater
at The New Brunswick Performing Arts CenterDirections
Mfoniso Udofia's plays, Sojourners, runboyrun, Her Portmanteau, and In Old Age have been seen at the American Conservatory Theater [A.C.T.], New York Theatre Workshop [NYTW], The Playwrights Realm, Magic Theater, National Black Theatre, Strand Theater Company, and Boston Court. She’s the recipient of the 2017 Helen Merrill Playwright Award, the 2017-18 McKnight National Residency and Commission at The Playwrights’ Center and is a member of the New Dramatists class of 2023. Mfoniso is currently commissioned by A.C.T., Hartford Stage, Denver Center, A.C.T., Roundhouse, and South Coast Repertory. Her plays have been developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, A.C.T., NYTW, The Playwrights Realm, McCarter Theatre, OSF, New Dramatists, PCS’s JAW Festival, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, The OCC, Hedgebrook, Sundance Theatre Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Page 73, New Black Fest, Rising Circle and more.
She has worked as a television writer on the third season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the first seasons of both Apple TV's Little America and Pachinko. She's also working on Amazon's A League of Their Own.
As an actress, she recently appeared off-Broadway in Ngozi Anyanwu's, The Homecoming Queen. She's also appeared in the feature film, Fred Won't Move Out.
Laiona Michelle added writer to her resume with her double bill as writer and star of the critical and box-office smash, Little Girl Blue, The Nina Simone Musical, which launched its world premiere engagement at the George Street Playhouse on Feb 1, 2019. Now, she takes on the mantle of book writer, for a new project, Mandela -- a musical based on Nelson Mandela’s life; from his days as a leading activist against Apartheid, to his imprisonment and eventual release to become the nation’s President.
Laiona Michelle began to gain national notoriety when she made her Broadway debut in 2015, in the musical, Amazing Grace, which opened at the Nederlander. Cast in the principal role of Nanna, a woman stolen away from her family by slave traders, she delivers one of the stand out musical moments of the play.
Laiona Michelle has been nominated for numerous awards including the Independent Reviewers of New England, Best Lead Actress award (2001, Stonewall Jackson’s House); and she is the recipient of the Barrymore and Carbonell Awards (2004, Constant Star); The NAACP Hollywood award (2005, Constant Star), and she was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award (2005, Yellowman). Television: Lift, All My Children, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Blacklist, and Crashing, as well as Amazon’s Sneaky Pete. Special thanks to the George Street Playhouse for their love and support.
Associate Artist Laiona Michelle (Little Girl Blue, American Hero) helms this fascinating new play about Nigerian American immigrants, and opens our eyes to the Nigerian culture, especially as it becomes assimilated in America. Reminiscent of an Arthur Miller family drama, Ms. Udofia’s moving work, which The New York Times called “extraordinary,” touches on universal themes of mother-daughter relationships, forgiveness, reconciliation, and the struggle associated with leaving our countries of origin behind, while still holding on to the rich cultural heritage. We are proud to be producing Ms. Udofia’s work directed by Ms. Michelle.