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‘Jaja’s African Hair Braiding’ will launch national tour

The new Jocelyn Bioh play will offer engagements in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

(L-R) Brittany Adebumola and Dominique Thorne in the Broadway production of “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” 2023 (Credit: Matthew Murphy)

On the heels of its twice-extended Broadway run, Manhattan Theatre Club has announced a national tour of “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding.” The new play by Jocelyn Bioh will be presented in three theaters across America, beginning with an engagement at Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage, which will open on Sept. 6.

“Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” will then play Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California beginning on Nov. 8, and will subsequently play an engagement at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which will start on Jan. 14, 2025.

Casting and creative team for the tour will be announced at a later date.

Set in a single day in a Harlem hair braiding salon, “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” follows the quotidian activities, dreams and challenges of the salon’s mostly African-immigrant employees and its customers. Directed by Whitney White (who will repeat her work for the tour), the Broadway run began previews on Sept. 12, 2023 and opened on Oct. 3 at Manhattan Theatre Club’s (MTC) Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The production closed on Nov. 19, after offering a series of post-show talkbacks and livestreaming its final week of performances.

“Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” was produced on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club, under the leadership of artistic director Lynne Meadow and executive director Chris Jennings, and Madison Wells Live with LaChanze and Taraji P. Henson. The tour of “Jaja’s” is being produced by Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, in association with Madison Wells Live and LaChanze.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the producers of the tour. This has been corrected.