Internationally Acclaimed "Blood at the Root" Makes its NYC Debut at the National Black Theatre April 20

Blood at the Root (2)

Blood at the Root (1)

By Addi McDaniel

The international award-winning Blood at the Root, which the School of Theatre commissioned for its M.F.A. Acting class of 2014, will have its New York City premiere at the National Black Theatre, April 20–May 15. This exciting new piece by Kennedy Prize winner Dominique Morisseau examines issues of race, class, sexuality, and discrimination in a way that only live theatre can. The production features 2014 Penn State Musical Theatre alum Christian Thompson. I recently had the chance to ask him some questions about this incredible experience.  


What has this experience taught you?

This experience has taught me to foster moments of creation. What you create has the power to move, to inspire, to spread, and to change. If you told me three years ago that Blood at the Root would win awards around the globe, be my New York theatrical debut, and touch the lives of so many, I would have told you that you were crazy. This cast fostered its creation, and crazy is only one of the many beautiful things this play is.


What was it like traveling the world performing this piece?

Traveling the world with this piece has been an eye-opening experience. We have seen just how widespread inequality is in this world. More importantly, we have seen the hunger from individuals across the globe, to fight that inequality. That fight is what makes me love bringing this show to a new audience, all around the world.


How have audiences responded so far?

Every single person in the world is unique. Everybody knows that. The great thing about Blood at the Root is that everyone’s response to it is as unique as they are. The range of emotional and intellectual responses has been a joy to experience.

If you get the chance, come and check us out. It’s unlike any theatre experience you’ve had before, I promise!


Inspired by the story of six black Louisiana teenagers charged with attempted murder, Blood at the Root has won the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Theater Creator Award and has been honored at the Adelaide Fringe Festival (Australia), Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Scotland), and Grahamstown Arts Festival (South Africa). The production is directed by Steve Broadnax, head of the M.F.A. Acting program.

In addition to performing the show, the cast has engaged with hundreds of students around the world, hosting workshops on the play’s themes of social prejudice, systemic injustice, and the promotion of human rights.


The New York City premiere of Blood at the Root is co-presented by the National Black Theatre and Hi-ARTS. Click here for more information and tickets.


Click here to read the 2014 Penn State feature story about the production’s history. 

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