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Why playwright Jeremy O. Harris says he also needed to become a producer

Best known as the Tony Award-nominated scribe of “Slave Play,” Harris most recently produced “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window.”

Jeremy O. Harris at the gala performance of “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” (Credit: Rebecca J Michelson)

Jeremy O. Harris burst onto the New York scene as the playwright of the provocative, no-holds-barred “Slave Play.” His name began to buzz around circles of theatrical influence when the play debuted Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop and grew to a roar by the time the show played Broadway and later earned 12 Tony Award nominations. Harris has continually expanded his own influence, socializing with pop culture glitterati, guest-starring on Netflix’s “Emily in Paris,” appearing in the film “The Sweet East” and, most recently, producing the Tony-nominated revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window.”

Some may think acting and producing distracts Harris from his original craft, but Harris says both additional disciplines are necessary to help him become a better writer. “[People] were like, ‘Why are you acting? Why are you producing so much? You need to just get back to writing,’” Harris said. “I was like, ‘Guys, me producing things I love, me acting in things that I love is going to make me write something that I love even more.”

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