Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years
By Emily Mann
Adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany, with Amy Hill Hearth
Directed by Chuck Smith
May 5 – June 10, 2018 in the Albert
Celebrate the story of a century as lived by “two strong, vibrant women dispensing joy and wisdom” (Chicago Tribune) in this funny and heartfelt family drama. The Delany sisters, Sadie and Bessie, remain best friends and roommates even as they pass their centennial birthdays. As they prepare a meal in honor of their late father, a former slave, they reminisce about the joys and challenges of their lives: coming to maturity in the Jim Crow South, experiencing the Harlem Renaissance and rising to unimagined professional prominence. Having Our Say showcases the sisters’ unique, indomitable spirits as they fondly recall meeting beloved historical figures and denounce prejudices that infect the country.
Having Our Say
Emily Mann, Playwright
EMILY MANN (Playwright) Multi-award-winning director and playwright Emily Mann is in her 20th season as artistic director of McCarter Theatre, where she has overseen over 90 productions. Her McCarter directing credits include the world premieres of Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon (also at Playwrights Horizon), Theresa Rebeck’s The Bells, Joyce Carol Oates' The Perfectionist, Steven Dietz’s Last of the Boys and Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (also at the Mark Taper Forum); Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics (also on Broadway with Jimmy Smits, 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner and two Tony Award nominations); Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (also adapted) with Amanda Plummer; Edward Albee's All Over with Rosemary Harris and Michael Learned (also at Roundabout Theater Company, Obie Awards for her direction and for Ms. Harris' performance); The Tempest with Blair Brown; Romeo and Juliet with Sarah Drew and Jeffrey Carlson; The Cherry Orchard (also adapted) with Jane Alexander, John Glover and Avery Brooks; I.B. Singer's Meshugah (adaptor and director) with Elizabeth Marvel; the American premiere of The Mai by Marina Carr; Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba with Helen Carey; Strindberg's Miss Julie (also adapted) with Kim Cattrall, Donna Murphy and Peter Francis James; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Pat Hingle and JoBeth Williams; Chekhov's Three Sisters with Frances McDormand, Linda Hunt and Mary Stuart Masterson; Betsey Brown (co-author with Baikida Carroll and Ntozake Shange) and The Glass Menagerie with Shirley Knight, Dylan McDermott and Judy Kuhn. She is also the author of Greensboro (A Requiem); author and director of Execution of Justice at The Guthrie Theatre and on Broadway (winner of the HBO New Plays USA Award, Helen Hayes Award, Bay Area Critics Circle Award and nominated for a Drama Desk Award); Still Life (six Obie Awards, including playwriting, direction and production of the season) and Annulla, An Autobiography. Ms. Mann wrote and directed Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth at the McCarter and on Broadway. The play received three Tony nominations, including Best Play and Best Direction, a Drama Desk Award nomination,a Jeff Award, a NAACP Award, and for the television adaptation’s screenplay, Peabody and Christopher Awards. A winner of the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, she is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on its council. In 2002, she received an honorary doctorate of arts from Princeton University.
Chuck Smith, Director
CHUCK SMITH (Director) is a member of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees and is Goodman Theatre’s Resident Director. He is also a resident director at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota, Florida. Goodman credits include the Chicago premieres of Objects in the Mirror; Pullman Porter Blues; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Race; The Good Negro; Proof and The Story; the world premieres of By the Music of the Spheres and The Gift Horse; James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner, which transferred to Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, where it won the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award for Best Direction; A Raisin in the Sun; Blues for an Alabama Sky; August Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Ain’t Misbehavin’; the 1993 to 1995 productions of A Christmas Carol; Crumbs From the Table of Joy; Vivisections from a Blown Mind and The Meeting. He served as dramaturg for the Goodman’s world-premiere production of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. He directed the New York premiere of Knock Me a Kiss and The Hooch for the New Federal Theatre and the world premiere of Knock Me a Kiss at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, where his other directing credits include Master Harold... and the Boys, Home, Dame Lorraine and Eden, for which he received a Jeff Award nomination. Regionally, Mr. Smith directed Death and the King’s Horseman (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Birdie Blue (Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Story (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Blues for an Alabama Sky (Alabama Shakespeare Festival) and The Last Season (Robey Theatre Company). At Columbia College he was facilitator of the Theodore Ward Prize playwriting contest for 20 years and editor of the contest anthologies Seven Black Plays and Best Black Plays. He won a Chicago Emmy Award as associate producer/theatrical director for the NBC teleplay Crime of Innocence and was theatrical director for the Emmy-winning Fast Break to Glory and the Emmy-nominated The Martin Luther King Suite. He was a founding member of the Chicago Theatre Company, where he served as artistic director for four seasons and directed the Jeff-nominated Suspenders and the Jeff-winning musical Po’. His directing credits include productions at Fisk University, Roosevelt University, Eclipse Theatre, ETA, Black Ensemble Theater, Northlight Theatre, MPAACT, Congo Square Theatre Company, The New Regal Theater, Kuumba Theatre Company, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Pegasus Players, the Timber Lake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, Illinois and the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is a 2003 inductee into the Chicago State University Gwendolyn Brooks Center’s Literary Hall of Fame and a 2001 Chicago Tribune Chicagoan of the Year. He is the proud recipient of the 1982 Paul Robeson Award and the 1997 Award of Merit presented by the Black Theater Alliance of Chicago.