Monday, July 24, 2023

Black Theatre Troupe's 2023-2024 Season!

Black Theatre Troupe announces its spectacular 2023-24 season which includes a hilarious comedy, two musicals, an August Wilson masterwork, and the company's annual holiday show. Black Theatre Troupe marks its return to Tempe Center for the Arts with the groundbreaking musical, The Gospel at Colonus. From its home at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center in downtown Phoenix, the company will present Steal Away, Black Nativity, The Piano Lesson and The All Night Strut.

Season flex packages for 4, 3 and 2 plays are on sale now starting at $89 at or by calling 602-258-8128.

Please note: Flex packages exclude Black Nativity.

2023-24 SEASON

Steal Away

By Ramona King

September 15 through October 1

Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center 

A Folktale, set in Chicago during the Depression, this farce is the story of 5 upstanding church ladies who raise funds to send young Black women to college by holding bake sales and the like. Their latest beneficiary, Tracyada, has more ambitious ideas. She wants them all to rob a bank! Of course, the ladies are reluctant to do anything that drastic; but when they are turned down at the bank for a loan to send another young woman to college, because the White bank manager doesn't think "colored girls" need an education, the ladies decide to join in Tracyada's scheme. Incredibly enough, they manage to pull off the robbery; and, they escape scot-free as the news comes over the radio that the police suspect the Dillinger gang!

The Gospel at Colonus

Book by Lee Breuer

Music by Bob Telson

October 27 through November 12

Tempe Center for the Arts

This landmark work of the American musical theatre blends the agony of Greek tragedy and the ecstasy of Black gospel music. This retelling of Sophocles’ classic Oedipus at Colonus is performed as a song play that is set in a Pentecostal church.

Inspired by the joyous faith at the heart of African-American gospel music, it replaces Bible stories with Greek myth. It is a sermon on the ways of fate and particularly on a “happy death” - that is sung, acted, and preached. The members of the congregation and choir under the leadership of the minister all assume the characters of “the play” with the ground-shaking thunder of a gospel revival meeting.

Black Nativity

By Langston Hughes

December 8 through 17

Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center 

Since 1975, BTT audiences have enjoyed this sold out, legendary holiday event by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. It again returns to the BTT stage for a special limited engagement. This stunning new production of Black Nativity is without a doubt a theatrical wonderment. A joyous company of singers, actors, dancers and musicians delivers its powerful message of joy, hope, victory and liberation. This song-play touches a special chord in the hearts of all at a very special time of the year.

The Piano Lesson

By August Wilson

February 2 through 18

Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center 

A brother and his sister are in a battle. At the center lies the family’s prized possession, an heirloom piano that is covered with incredible carvings detailing the family’s rise from slavery. Boy Willie wants to sell it and build the family fortune. Berniece on the other hand will go to any length to keep it and preserve the family history. Their uncle stands in between. The genius of August Wilson gives power and haunting voice to the ghosts of their past and elevates their stories to monumental heights and a stunning conclusion.

The All Night Strut 

Originally Conceived by Fran Charnas

March 22 through April 7

Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center 

No ifs, ands or buts, this show struts! From the funky jive of Harlem to the sophisticated elegance of El Morocco, this musical extravaganza celebrating a golden age in music and the great American songbook is filled with jazz, blues, be-bop and swing. It’s an all singing, all dancing extravaganza with classic standards like Ain’t Misbehavin’, Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer, In the Mood, Fascinating Rhythm, Tuxedo Junction and As Time Goes By. The All Night Strut promises to have you swingin’, jitterbuggin’ and tappin’ in the aisle! 

About Black Theatre Troupe

Founded by Helen K. Mason in 1970 as a space for underserved artists to share the Black experience, Black Theatre Troupe began performing small plays, poetry readings, and musical performances in a community center in Phoenix’s historic multi-cultural Eastlake Park. The Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center is now the company’s permanent home, a state-of-the-art facility located at Washington and 14th Streets in downtown Phoenix – exactly two blocks from where it all began. It features a 150-seat theatre, rehearsal space, costume shop and administrative offices. The Black Theatre Troupe’s main-stage productions and educational outreach programs serve constituents from seniors to young adults and children. 

Recognized as one of the longest, continuously operating Black theatre companies in the United States, Black Theatre Troupe has become one of Phoenix’s major cultural attractions, providing training, employment and performance opportunities for multi-ethnic and underserved artists for over 50 years. 


Black Theatre Troupe's productions and educational outreach programs broaden and enhance relationships within the community, from seniors and young adults to children, fostering understanding outside the Black community and bridging divisions which have too often separated people of color from the majority population.

Since its debut production in 1970 of Lonnie Elder’s nationally acclaimed drama of social and political consciousness, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, Black Theatre Troupe has gained a national reputation for producing powerful works with an emphasis on Black playwrights and is dedicated to delivering some of the country's most courageous theater, while illuminating our shared humanity.

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