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November 18, 2021

Yet for sheer crackling timeliness, the play most of the moment is in fact the oldest: Alice Childress’s “Trouble in Mind,” which opened on Thursday at the American Airlines Theater. Originally produced in 1955 in Greenwich Village, but derailed on its path to becoming the first play by a Black woman to reach Broadway — a distinction that went to Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” four years later — it is only now getting the mainstream attention it deserves, in a Roundabout Theater Company production that does justice to its complexity.

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November 18, 2021

The work begs to be seen; it’s just a shame audiences have to wait until the final moments of Act II to hear the exasperated voice of an actor fed up with a system that has minimized her enormous talent because of her Blackness.

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November 18, 2021

Sixty-four years late and right on time, Alice Childress’ wise and stirring backstage comedy-drama Trouble in Mind is making its long-in-coming Broadway debut tonight, and to describe the play as prescient would be an understatement. Uncanny rings truer.

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November 18, 2021

Prospects for a Broadway transfer in the 1950s, a pre-curtain announcement informs us, fell through when Childress refused to soften the play’s ending. As a result, Trouble in Mind has largely fallen into obscurity, which makes this Roundabout Theatre Company revival feel like even more of a revelation. It’s as though an old curtain had been lifted from a mirror: To a startling degree, the play anticipates many of the conversations that have taken place in the past two years about the devaluation of Black artists in the theater world.

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November 18, 2021

The story isn’t really surprising, except that now that audiences have a chance to see the play, its combination of biting humor and moments of powerfully moving drama would seem a potent formula for popular success in any era.

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November 18, 2021

Trouble in Mind explores many issues in the industry, from racial inequity and concerns over accurate representation to union rules and sexual harassment. It is an eerie portrait, a haunting reminder that these problems are nothing new. Trouble in Mind finally being on Broadway is a call to arms, an insistence that things need to change. 

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November 18, 2021

LaChanze plays Wiletta, and under Charles Randolph-Wright’s flamboyant direction, she is not only explosively mad as hell, she is filling a void. She delivers the star turn denied to other actors of color.

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New York Stage Review
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Frank
Scheck

November 18, 2021

The play’s backstory is indeed so compelling that the Roundabout recounts it in a brief pre-show curtain announcement which naturally elicits cheers. And then the play begins, and it doesn’t take long for cold, hard reality to sink in: Trouble in Mind proves an uneven, problematic work whose history is more powerful than what we see onstage.

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New York Stage Review
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Elysa
Gardner

November 18, 2021

Sixty-six years later, it may be hard to appreciate how daring Childress was in her time. But Roundabout Theatre Company and director Charles Randolph-Wright have ensured that Trouble’s eloquence and bite remain intact, with an excellent ensemble cast that features both estimable veterans and rising talent.

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Observer
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David
Cote

November 18, 2021

Without question, Trouble is an old-fashioned play—if we understand the term to mean well-built, lean, and clear of purpose. You absolutely must see it if you care about Black work on Broadway, American theater, and the evolving state of our “canon.”

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New York Daily News
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Chris
Jones

November 18, 2021

The belated arrival of “Trouble in Mind” on Broadway, a quarter-century after its hugely talented writer’s death, is a hopeful sign, especially since Roundabout is letting everyone know they (unlike the suits of the 1950s) have not changed a word from what Childress intended. An alternate view is that the play is evidence of how long this problem has existed and thus how hard it has been to solve. I just wish this remarkable piece of writing had been given a more truthful production.

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Associated Press
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Mark
Kennedy

November 18, 2021

Alice Childress’ searing play “Trouble in Mind” has finally made it to Broadway and the only frustrating thing about the show is that it has taken this long.

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Theatrely
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Juan A.
Ramirez

November 18, 2021

It is when Wiletta and Al argue that the play strikes hardest, though Childress peppers the script with caustic reminders that racism is a minute-by-minute offense. That said, a collection of microaggressions is not enough to build dramatic tension, and Randolph-Wright’s plain direction doesn’t capitalize on the wealth of opportunity present in the gifted cast.

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November 18, 2021

The text still contains astonishing power; it could have been written yesterday. But Charles Randolph-Wright’s production wavers in several crucial moments, and the show slows rather than sharpens as it comes to a close.

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November 18, 2021

Trouble in Mind needed to be on Broadway in 1955, and it needs to be on Broadway now. It still feels radical to hear what Wiletta states so clearly and passionately about how racism works, not just in theater but as a cultural system. Trouble in Mind playing on Broadway now is an indictment of the present as much as an indictment of the past—a statement of the persistence of racism and inequality.

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