Off-Broadway Recommendation: WHITE GIRL IN DANGER (Second Stage and Atlantic at the Tony Kiser)

Post image for Off-Broadway Recommendation: WHITE GIRL IN DANGER (Second Stage and Atlantic at the Tony Kiser)

by Tony Frankel on January 23, 2023

in Theater-New York


Beginning March 15 (with an official opening on April 10, 2023), you can tune in to the epic and viciously funny new musical White Girl in Danger from Michael R. Jackson creator of Tony-winning Best Musical A Strange Loop (read Stage and Cinema‘s review). Director Lileana Blain-Cruz (The Skin of Our Teeth), the rightfully in-demand Choreographer Raja Feather Kelly (If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka), and Music Director Meg Zervoulis helm this fever dream mashup of classic daytime and primetime soap operas, Lifetime movies, and red-hot melodrama.

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Michael R. Jackson, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Raja Feather Kelly

A co-production between the theater companies, Vineyard and Second Stage, this limited 8-week run will play through Sunday, May 21, 2023. Originally developed by Vineyard as part of a multi-year residency for Mr. Jackson, the show will play at Second Stage’s Off-Broadway home, the Tony Kiser Theater, 305 West 43rd St — tickets are now on sale at 2nd Stage.

The plot involves the citizens of the soap opera town Allwhite, who face high-stakes drama and intrigue all the days of their lives. But Keesha Gibbs and the other Blackgrounds have been relegated to backburner stories of slavery and police violence for all of theirs. Keesha is determined to step out of the Blackground and into the center of Allwhite’s juiciest stories. Can Keesha handle the Allwhite attention — especially from the Allwhite Killer on the loose? What role do the other Blackgrounds play in Keesha’s Allwhite schemes? And just whose story is this anyway?

Subscriptions and memberships to both Vineyard Theatre and Second Stage Theater are available at Vineyard and 2nd Stage, respectively.

WHITE GIRL IN DANGER’s full cast features Liz Lark Brown, Kayla Davion, Latoya Edwards, Jennifer Fouché, Morgan Siobhan Green, Molly Hager, Vincent Jamal Hooper, James Jackson Jr., Tarra Conner Jones, Alyse Alan Louis, Lauren Marcus, and Eric William Morris. LaDonna Burns, Melessie Clark, Alexis Cofield, Shane Donovan, Jon-Michael Reese, and Natalie Walker round out the cast as understudies.


LIZ LARK BROWN (Diane W/Barbara W/Judith W) is a founding member of The Musical Theatre Factory. She is grateful to have been there when Michael chose actors to play an outline which became today’s White Girl in Danger. Most recently: Drama League Award-winning Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club (Audible)Longtime member of “Joe Iconis & Family;” featured on ALBUM. Solo show Tarnished (MAC, Bistro and Nightlife Awards)@Lalabee213.

KAYLA DAVION (Florence) Broadway: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (Tina), Waitress the Musical (Dawn u/s, Ensemble), King Kong (Ann Darrow u/s, Ensemble). TV: “The Good Fight,” “Power Book III: Raising Kanan.” Film: Better Nate Than Ever. Kayla is also a Chita Rivera Recipient.

LATOYA EDWARDS (Keesha Gibbs) has appeared Off-Broadway in Superstitions (The Pool Plays); The Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center); School Girls, or, the African Mean Girls Play (MCC & Center Theatre Group); and Miss You Like Hell (The Public Theater). TV/Film: They Saw the Sun First (BAFTA winner), The Many Saints of Newark, “The Get Down,” Beauty, “Law & Order: SVU,” religion (u can lay your hands on me).

JENNIFER FOUCHÉ (Abilene). Native Detroiter turned official New Yorker. Broadway: POTUS Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying To Keep Him AliveChicagoChicken and BiscuitsChicago (National Tour, Japan Tour). Off-Broadway: SISTAS The Musical, (original cast), B Boy Blues. Off West End: Half Me, Half You. TV: “Wu Tang: An American Saga,” “Jessica Jones,” “Quantico,” “Person of Interest,” “SMASH,” “Pinkalicious” & “Peteriffic.” Film: B Boy BluesCrown HeightsWhite Pickett Fence. IG: @jkfouche

MORGAN SIOBHAN GREEN (Caroline) Broadway: Be More Chill. National Tours: Eurydice in Hadestown (Original Tour Company). Regional and Off-Broadway: Moby Dick (American Repertory Theatre), Between The Lines (Kansas City Rep), Folk Wandering (ART NY).  TV: Zuri on “The Bold Type,” “Because I’m Me” music video (The Avalanches). 

MOLLY HAGER (Megan White) Original casts of Waitress on Broadway, Heathers: The Musical (New World Stages) and Duncan Sheik’s Whisper House (59E59). Virginia Rider on “Five Days At Memorial” (AppleTV+).

VINCENT JAMAL HOOPER (Tarik Blackwell). Off-Broadway debut! Vincent Jamal Hooper has appeared in multiple companies of Hamilton — including LA, Australia, and Puerto Rico (alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda) — playing the roles of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, George Washington, Lafayette/Jefferson, and King George III. Other favorite roles — The Youth in Passing Strange, Benny in In the Heights, and Stokely Carmichael in The Great Society. Television credits include “Chicago Med” (NBC), “Shots Fired” (FOX), and “American Crime” (ABC). IG: @_vincentjamalhooper.

JAMES JACKSON JR. he/him (Clarence). A Strange Loop (Broadway, Off-Broadway) Obie Award-winner. NYC: Radio City Christmas SpectacularHenri Gabler (Exigent Theatre). Solo: (Shady Sings the BluesThe Black-Ups) – Joe’s Pub, Club Oberon/A.R.T., Lyric Theatre/LA, Green Room42, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Post Office Cabaret/Provincetown. Nat’l Tours:  Whistle Down the Wind.  Regional: Dreamgirls (DASH Award), The Wild Party (SpeakEasy Stage). Co-host of Broadway-themed podcast 5 Questions with James and JAM. & @JJacksonJr

TARRA CONNER JONES (Nell Gibbs) is a NYC based singer/actor/writer originally from Jacksonville, Fl. She is proud to be making her off-Broadway Debut! Some past credits include:  The Color Purple, Little Shop of Horrors, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Ain’t Misbehavin`, Shrek, Hairspray, Chicago the Musical, Dreamgirls, and From Birmingham To Broadway (written by Tarra).

ALYSE ALAN LOUIS (Maegan Whitehall). Broadway: Amélie, DisasterMamma Mia!. Drama Desk Award nominee for Soft Power at The Public Theater (Hillary). Off-Broadway: White Girl in Danger (NYSAF); TEETH (NAMT); A New Brain (Encores Off Center); The Civilians’ Pretty Filthy (Abrons). Regional: Rattlesnake Kate (The Denver Center); Soft Power (CTG and Curran); Amélie (CTG and Berkeley Rep); Fall Springs (Barrington Stage Company); The Rocky Horror Show (Bucks County Playhouse); Original Cast Recordings: Soft Power (Grammy nomination), Amélie ,Pretty FilthyA New Brain. @alyselouis

LAUREN MARCUS (Meagan Whitehead). Broadway: Be More Chill (Original Cast, Lyceum Theatre). Select credits: Sarah Silverman’s The Bedwetter (The Atlantic), Fiddler On The Roof (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Little Shop of Horrors (Pittsburgh Public), The Humans (St. Louis Rep), Company (Barrington Stage). Film: tick, tick…BOOM! As a writer, Lauren was a 2021 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist and was chosen by New York Stage and Film to develop her original television pilot with their Filmmakers Workshop. She released her first full-length retro-pop album this winter.

ERIC WILLIAM MORRIS (Matthew S/Scott M/Zack Paul Gosselar) can currently be seen in a great supporting role in the FX limited series “Fleishman Is In Trouble” opposite Jesse Eisenberg. Theatrically, he starred in Broadway’s King Kong and in Richard Greenberg’s The Perplexed at MTC opposite Margaret Colin. Other TV Credits: “Mindhunter,” “FBI,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” ABC’S “Quantico,” and Amazon’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”

LADONNA BURNS (Understudy) is a New York based singer and actress, from Indianapolis. NY credits: Caroline, or Change (Caroline), Follies (Stella), Unraveled (Anna). National Tours: RENT (Seasons of Love Soloist) and Seussical (Sour Kangaroo). Regional credits include Sister Act (Sister Mary Lazarus), All Shook Up (Sylvia), Smokey Joe’s Café (BJ), Ain’t Misbehavin (Armelia). World Premiere of Grace at Ford’s Theatre. A proud member of Broadway Inspirational Voices! Thank you to her family for their constant support, especially Chris. Thank you, Brian Keith Graziani at Hell’s Kitchen Agency.

MELESSIE CLARK (Understudy) is thrilled to be making her off-Broadway debut! She was recently seen in the Grio Trio in the world premiere of Goddess at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Risa in Pittsburgh Public’s Two Trains Running. Other credits: PCLO’s The Wizard of OzGreaseRock of Ages and Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Little Shop of HorrorsSchool Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play. TV/film credits: “Archive 81” on Netflix and Anything’s Possible directed by Billy Porter on Amazon Prime. @melessieclark

ALEXIS COFIELD she/her (Understudy) is a Black American artist and scholar. Off-Broadway Debut! Training: NYU Tisch BFA in Drama (Atlantic, Classical Studio, ITW in Amsterdam). Credits include: MotherF**king Girl Scouts (Wild Project), Food for the Gods (La MaMa), “Severance” (Apple TV), Grace (Director – Natalie Jasmine Harris). Workshops: The National Black Theatre, Ars Nova and a new multi genre musical based on Jane Eyre. She is eternally grateful to her friends and family. Very Special Thank You to Bohemia and Stewart. @msalexiscofield

SHANE DONOVAN (Understudy) Tour: South Pacific, Hinton Battle’s American Variety Bang, Toddrick Hall’s Cinderella Rock. Regional: Papermill Playhouse (Grease), Fulton Theatre (Kinky Boots, Treasure Island, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Sweeney Todd), The Rev (Working), Arkansas Rep (White Christmas), Walnut Street Theatre (Miss Saigon). TV/Film: “Investigation Discovery,” “Welcome to Harlem.” Thanks to The Mine, Telsey, Creative Team, and Mum. For Hannah and Charlie! @shanemdonovan

JON-MICHAEL REESE he/him (Understudy).  Second Stage/Vineyard Debut! Broadway: A Strange Loop. Regional: James BaldwinJimmy and Lorraine (Pillsbury), This Bitter Earth (Penumbra), Theo (Two River), Marry Me a Little (New Ohio Theatre), Nikola Tesla Drops The Beat (ATF), Man of la ManchaTo Let Go and Fall (Theatre Latté Da), Lear (Exit Pursued By Bear), My Heart is the Drum (Village Theatre, Gregory Award: Outstanding Actor). Rep: SAKS&. BFA: CMU. @theJMRavatar

NATALIE WALKER (Understudy) is a performer and writer whose work has appeared in New York Magazine and Bookforum. Credits include her self-devised solo show Mad ScenesAlice by HeartDogfight in concert here at Second Stage, “Search Party,” “The Other Two,” “BoJack Horseman.” Despite Google’s insistence, she is neither the Australian Natalie Walker (Beef Palace…?) nor the American musician featured on “Grey’s Anatomy,” unless believing that makes you like her more, in which case she is one or both of them.


MICHAEL R. JACKSON (Playwright, Composer, Lyricist) is one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2022. His Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle winning A Strange Loop (which had its 2019 world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in association with Page 73 Productions) received 11 Tony nominations in 2022, winning Best Musical.

LILEANA BLAIN-CRUZ (Director) The Skin of Our Teeth (Lincoln Center, Tony nomination); The Listeners (Opera Norway); Dreaming Zenzile (St. Louis Rep, McCarter Theatre; Wayne Shorter and esperanza spalding’s …(Iphigenia) (The Kennedy Center); Hansel and Gretel (a film for Houston Grand Opera); Anatomy of a Suicide (Atlantic Theater Company); Fefu and Her Friends (TFANA); Faust (Opera Omaha); Fabulation, Or the Reeducation of Undine (Signature Theatre); Thunderbodies and Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Soho Rep.); The House That Will Not Stand and Red Speedo (New York Theatre Workshop); Water by the Spoonful (Mark Taper Forum/CTG); Pipeline (Lincoln Center); The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (Signature Theatre, Obie Award); Henry IV, Part One and Much Ado About Nothing (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); The Bluest Eye (The Guthrie); War (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and Yale Rep.); Salome (JACK); Hollow Roots (the Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater).

RAJA FEATHER KELLY (Choreographer) is a choreographer and director, and the Artistic Director of the feath3r theory–a dance-theatre-media company. Kelly has created 16 evening-length premieres with the feath3r theory, most recently WEDNESDAY at New York Live Arts. He choreographed A Strange Loop, and is also a choreographer for Off-Broadway theatre with frequent collaborators like Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Michael R. Jackson. Recent works include We’re Gonna Die (Second Stage Theater), Macbeth In Stride (A.R.T.), On Sugarland (New York Theater Workshop), SUFFS (The Public Theater), and Lempicka (La Jolla Playhouse).

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WHITE GIRL IN DANGER joins Second Stage Theater’s 44th Season, which kicked off this fall with Bess Wohl’s new play, Camp Siegfried, directed by David Cromer. The New York premiere production recently concluded its run at the Tony Kiser Theater.  Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Between Riverside and Crazy, directed by Austin Pendleton, is currently in previews at Second Stage’s Broadway home, the Hayes Theater, officially opening on December 19th. The season will also include the Broadway premiere of Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, directed by Rachel Chavkin, beginning previews in April 2023 at the Hayes Theater.



Under the artistic direction of Carole Rothman, SECOND STAGE THEATER operates three New York City venues, exclusively dedicated to producing living American playwrights.

Second Stage recently completed its 43rd season, which included the Tony Award-winning revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out and the New York premiere production of Lynn Nottage’s Tony-nominated play Clyde’s, as well as the world premieres of Rajiv Joseph’s Letters of Suresh and JC Lee’s To My Girls. The company’s 2021-22 productions received several nominations and awards, including Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play (Take Me Out) and Best Featured Actor in a Play (Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Take Me Out); the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Revival of a Play (Take Me Out), Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Take Me Out) and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Uzo Aduba – Clyde’s); the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Projection Design (Shawn Duan – Letters of Suresh); and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design for a Play (Jennifer Moeller – Clyde’s).

Second Stage’s first season on Broadway at The Hayes Theater included Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by Trip Cullman (Tony nominee for Best Revival of Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role, Michael Cera and Brian Tyree Henry) and Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee, directed by Anna D. Shapiro.

Among Second Stage’s 180 productions are the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis; the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey; the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes; Mary Page Marlowe by Tracy Letts; The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown; Dogfight by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Peter Duchan; Dear Evan Hansen by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Steven Levenson; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage; Trust and Lonely, I’m Not by Paul Weitz; Grand Horizons by Bess Wohl; The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz; Everyday Rapture and Whorl Inside a Loop by Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott; Let Me Down Easy and Notes From the Field by Anna Deavere Smith; Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo; Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein; Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl; The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane; Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin; Jitney by August Wilson; Crowns by Regina Taylor; Saturday Night by Stephen Sondheim; Afterbirth: Kathy & Mo’s Greatest Hits by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy; This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan; Coastal Disturbances by Tina Howe; A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller; The Good Times Are Killing Me by Lynda Barry; and Tiny Alice and Peter and Jerry by Edward Albee.

The company’s more than 170 citations include six 2017 Tony Awards for Dear Evan Hansen (Best Musical; Best Lead Actor in a Musical, Ben Platt; Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Rachel Bay Jones; Best Book of a Musical; Best Original Score; Best Orchestrations); the 2009 Tony Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Alice Ripley, Next to Normal), Best Score (Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Next to Normal), and Best Orchestrations (Tom Kitt and Michael Starobin, Next to Normal); the 2007 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play (Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed); the 2005 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin, …Spelling Bee) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dan Fogler, …Spelling Bee); the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play (Mary Zimmerman for Metamorphoses); the 2002 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, 29 Obie Awards, 11 Outer Critics Circle Awards, four Clarence Derwent Awards, 17 Drama Desk Awards, 11 Theatre World Awards, one Dorothy Louden Award, 20 Lucille Lortel Awards, the Drama Critics Circle Award and 23 AUDELCO Awards.

In 1999, Second Stage Theater opened The Tony Kiser Theater, its state-of-the-art, 296-seat theater, designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. In 2002, Second Stage launched “Second Stage Theater Uptown” to showcase the work of up-and-coming artists at the 99-seat McGinn/Cazale Theater. The Theater supports artists through several programs that include residencies, fellowships and commissions, and engages students and community members through education and outreach programs. In 2018, Second Stage began producing at its 581 seat Broadway home, The Hayes Theater. Originally named “The Little Theater” and built in 1912, the city landmark has been remodeled by David Rockwell of Rockwell Group.

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