Where Did Playwright Jordan E. Cooper Write Ain’t No Mo’? Director Stevie Walker-Webb Reveals All!By Delaina Dixon | November 28, 2022 | Entertainment
Where did Jordan E. Cooper, the youngest Black playwright to ever have a production on Broadway, write his arresting satirical drama Ain’t No Mo’? Just ask the play’s director, Stevie Walker-Webb.
“I love telling the story,” he declares. “Jordan is one of my best friends, we went to The New School together. I was getting my Master’s and he was getting his Bachelor’s. He came to my house for dinner one night, and said, ‘I have a couple of pages of this play that I’m working on. I’m not sure if it’s a play, but you should read it.'”
Walker-Webb listened to Cooper read one of the play’s monologues delivered by Peaches, his fabulous drag persona who is checking in all Black Americans to take a government-sponsored plane back to Africa. “I just cackled in my living room,” the director recalls “I said, ‘You have to finish writing this.’ I didn’t know that was an invitation for him to stay at my house for like four days.”
The next 96 hours were magical. “He sat in my living room, in my favorite chair, and did not get up until he finished the play. It literally just fell right out of him,” Walker-Webb says. “Once he finished it, we read it, we laughed, we cried. And immediately I was like, I have to do whatever I have to do to make sure this clay gets into the world.”
Produced by Lee Daniels, the one-act drama brings together a series of vignettes that shares different stories of Black Americans, from those dealing with senseless deaths at the hands of the police to those who would rather leave their Blackness in the basement, all confronted with the notion of leaving America behind to return to the motherland. It’s raw and real, with incredible performances by the cast, especially Crystal Lucas-Perry, who plays “Black.” Her rapid-fire delivery of all things that define Blackness is worth a Tony nod.
Ain’t No Mo’ officially opens on Broadway Dec. 1.
photo credit: Top: Krista Schlueter. Middle: Joan Marcus