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History of the Play

"There are certain things that your heart just leads you to, and I guess this is one of those seems to be quite timeless."


History of the Play

Samm-Art Williams’s play Home was originally produced by the Negro Ensemble Company at St. Mark’s Playhouse in 1979. The production, directed by Douglas Turner Ward—one of the Negro Ensemble Company’s founders—was a great success and transferred to Broadway in 1980 for an extended run at the Cort Theatre. Home was nominated for a Tony for Best Play, a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, an Outer Critics Circle Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the North Carolina Governor’s Award.

Almost 30 years later, Signature Theatre Company in New York featured the play as part of the Negro Ensemble Company’s residency at the theatre in the 2008-2009 season. This revival was directed by Ron OJ Parsons, who also mounted a production of the play at Chicago’s Court Theatre in 2010. Since 2010, the play has also been seen at regional theatres across the country.

In an interview about the Signature Theatre production, Williams said of the play’s contemporary resonance, “Now I did not sit down when I first started to write this play saying, ‘Now I’m going to write a play that’s...going to transcend time and 400 years from now will still be proper and appropriate.’ I didn’t think about all those things, but I’m glad that it happened. There are certain things that your heart just leads you to, and I guess this is one of those seems to be quite timeless. And I hope that it continues to be so.” ♦

Read more: Timeline of Black American Theatre

Read more: Literary Ancestry Essay Series

Read more: Recommended Plays and Further Reading

“Author: Samm-Art Williams.” Broadway Play Publishing Inc. Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

BWW News Desk. “Lyrical, Uplifting HOME by Samm-Art Williams Comes to ICT.” Broadway World, 15 Sept. 2017. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Court Theatre. “About the Playwright.” Home Study Guide. 2010. 

“The Historic Negro Ensemble Company: 2008-09 Residency 1.” Signature Theatre. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

“Samm-Art Williams Interview.” YouTube, uploaded by SignatureTheatreNY, 5 Jan. 2009.

Smith, Tim. “Rep Stage presents Samm-Art Williams' 'Home'.” The Baltimore Sun, 5 Mar. 2013. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

“The Tony Award Nominations.” Tony Award ® Productions. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Williams, Samm-Art. Home. Dramatists Play Service, 1998.

"Williams, Samm-Art 1946– ." Contemporary Black Biography. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.