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Kenny Leon Will Direct Mahershala Ali and Tessa Thompson in Lydia R. Diamond’s ‘Smart People’

Kenny Leon Will Direct Mahershala Ali and Tessa Thompson in Lydia R. Diamond's 'Smart People'

Kenny Leon is set to direct the upcoming off-Broadway production of “Smart People,” written by Lydia R. Diamond (“Stick Fly”), with Mahershala Ali,  Tessa Thompson, Joshua Jackson and Anne Son all starring.

“Smart People” is described as follows: “The quest for love, achievement and identity is universal, but what role does race play in the story of our lives? On the eve of Obama’s first election, four Harvard intellectuals find themselves entangled in a complex web of social and sexual politics in this provocative and funny new play by Lydia R. Diamond.”

The creative team includes scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by Paul Tazewell, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, lighting design by Jason Lyons, and projection design by Zach Borovay.

Performances are set to run at Second Stage Theatre in NYC from January 26-February 11, 2016.

Long-time readers of this blog will recall our coverage of Lydia R. Diamond’s other play “Stick Fly” in 2012, which Kenny Leon also directed, and was produced by Alicia Keys and Reuben Cannon, with a cast that included Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Dulé Hill, Mekhi Phifer, Tracie Thoms, and Condola Rashad, who was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Featured Actress) for her performance. 

It opened on December 08, 2011, and closed on February 26, 2012 following mixed reviews. However, a few months after it closed, HBO announced that it had committed to a script order for what would’ve been a movie adaptation of the play. No word on whether it’s still something that’s in the works.

But glad to see continued interest in bring Diamond’s work to the stage (and screen potentially). More and more fresh, diverse voices are always appreciated!

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