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Coronado Playhouse Presents 'Harlem Duet'


  • WHEN Ongoing from now until April 18, 2021[days & times]
  • WHERE Virtual / Coronado Playhouse
    Map | Website
  • AGES 18+
  • COST $25

When Coronado Playhouse was putting together this year's season, they approached director Kandace Crystal — who was instrumental in the development of the Theatre Alliance Roundtable series — and asked her to choose a work to direct. From a note in the program, Anthony Zeilig (VP of the Playhouse's board of directors) said, "For the first time in our history, we are producing a show by a Black author, directed by a Black director, with a Black cast and a mostly BIPOC production team. Was 75 years too long for this to happen? Absolutely."

The play functions as a kind of unstuck-in-time prequel to Shakespeare's "Othello," and it was written by Djanet Sears and premiered in Canada in 1997. The script jumps around in time — contemporary Harlem, an 1860s plantation, the Harlem Renaissance — and follows the messy love that unravels between Othello and his first wife, the complicated Billie. The inclusion in the crew of an "intimacy choreographer" (Natalie Griffith Robichaux) definitely caught my eye, so expect some adult situations.

Danielle Bunch is Billie, Malachi Beasley is Othello, and the full cast in this filmed, staged production includes Carla Banu DeJesus, Heather Barton Tjalma, Ahmed Kenyatta Dents and Andrea Acuna. -- Julia Dixon Evans, KPBS

In what could be a prelude to Shakespeare’s Othello, Djanet Sears’s Harlem Duet recounts the story of Othello and his first wife, Billie (before Desdemona). Their history is told through the lives of three couples during eras of special significance in the Black American Experience.
Set in contemporary Harlem at the corner of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Boulevards, the tale tows the line of racial identity, sexual politics, and mental illness in the black community. Sears’ script diffuses the action through three timelines: the 1860s, 1928 and the present.

Harlem Duet received Canada’s highest literary honor for dramatic writing, the Governor General’s Literary Award, in 1998. That year it also received the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award.

This show will be recorded on stage and streamed to patrons on demand. Streaming is only available March 19 – April 18.

No discounts are available for this production. For questions, call the Box Office (619) 435-4856 or email

Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending. Check local COVID-19 restrictions and updates.

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