‘Lackawanna Blues’ starts limited engagement on Broadway

A play based on the unusual childhood of its writer and star is opening on Broadway for a limited time.

News 12 Staff

Oct 8, 2021, 9:26 PM

Updated 923 days ago

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A play based on the unusual childhood of its writer and star is opening on Broadway for a limited time.
In “Lackawanna Blues,” Ruben Santiago-Hudson pays homage to the woman who took him in and raised him. The play also brings to life the colorful cast of characters who lived in the boarding house where Santiago-Hudson grew up.
“Lackawanna Blues” takes the audience back in time to 1956 inside the boarding house where Santiago-Hudson was raised by Miss Rachel – the woman who ran the house. He called her “Nanny.”
“Something was missing from everybody in that house, whether it was a limb or their heart. And she made them whole,” Santiago-Hudson says.
As the writer, director and actor of the play, Santiago-Hudson portrays more than 20 characters, with Nanny at the heart of the play, as she was in his life.
“My mother spiraled down the streets and she came to get me a few times. But I always ended up back with Nanny,” Santiago-Hudson says.
In a 2005 television movie of “Lackawanna Blues,” Nanny was portrayed by S. Epatha Merkerson. But this will be the first time the play has been performed on Broadway.
“I am now at this age, starting to understand the deprivation of American society to these African American people,” Santiago-Hudson says. “When I was a young kid of 11 or even when I was 40 years old and did the play before, I didn’t so much realize these things. Now I do.”
“Lackawanna Blues” was supposed to have its official opening on Oct. 7, but performances have been canceled through Oct. 10 due to Santiago-Hudson’s recurring back injury.
The play will be shown at the Manhattan Theatre Club. It features music by Blues guitarist Junior Mack.
Santiago-Hudson first performed “Lackawanna Blues” off-Broadway in 2001. 


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