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Full cast, creative team announced for ‘Jaja’s African Hair Braiding’ at Manhattan Theatre Club

The world premiere of Jocelyn Bioh’s play is slated to open on Broadway this fall.

Somi Kakoma (Credit: Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) has announced the full cast and creative team for the company’s world-premiere production of Jocelyn Bioh’s “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding.”

The cast will feature Brittany Adebumola as Miriam, Maechi Aharanwa as Ndidi, Rachel Christopher as Jennifer, Kalyne Coleman as Chrissy/Michelle/Laniece, Somi Kakoma as Jaja, Lakisha May as Vanessa/Radia/Sheila, Nana Mensah as Aminata, Michael Oloyede as James and others, Dominique Thorne as Marie and Zenzi Williams as Sista Bea.

“Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” will mark the Broadway debuts of Adebumola, Aharanwa, Coleman, Kakoma, Mensah, Oloyede and Thorne. Christopher last appeared on the Main Stem in 2022’s mounting of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.” May was part of the cast of MTC’s “Skeleton Crew” and Williams last appeared in the 2016 revival of “The Crucible.”

Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting, Kelly Gillespie and Erica Hart.

Led by director Whitney White, the creative team will also include Tony Award-winning scenic designer David Zinn, costume designer Dede Ayite, lighting designer Jiyoun Chang, sound designer and composer Justin Ellington, video designer Stefania Bulbarella and hair and wig designer Nikiya Mathis. Dawn-Elin Fraser will serve as dialect and vocal coach. Melanie J. Lisby will be the production stage manager.

As previously announced, “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” is set to begin previews on Sept. 12 ahead of an official opening on Oct. 3 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Casting news comes on the heels of the announcement that MTC has partnered with LaChanze, Taraji P. Henson and Madison Wells Live as co-producers for the staging.

MTC operates under the leadership of artistic director Lynne Meadow and executive director Chris Jennings.