Aisha’s moved back to the block, but the neighborhood’s changed. She’s an urban planner, returning to her hometown, renovating a townhouse that’s seen better days. Aisha tries to convince her husband to spring for crown molding and endures the noise that blares from the street all night. But when their contractor is caught up in an act of violence a block away, Aisha’s homecoming becomes more complex than she expected. A Studio-commissioned play by 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner James Ijames, Good Bones explores gentrification and belonging, displacement and upward mobility, and being haunted by a legacy you’re only just beginning to understand.
Runtime: Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission
Read the program.
In the interest of welcoming people with a wide range of needs and life experiences, Studio offers a bit of information on what you will encounter in the play. Use this information as it is helpful to you.
Environment Warnings: This production of Good Bones contains loud noises and onstage painting with actual paint.
Good Bones is generously underwritten by Sari Hornstein and by Amy Weinberg and Norbert Hornstein.
James Ijames is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, a director and educator. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre, JACK, The Public Theater (NYC), Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Timeline Theater (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ....Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise, a 2020 and 2022 Steinberg Prize and the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama recipient. James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University. He resides in South Philadelphia.
Psalmayene 24 is an award-winning director, playwright, and actor. Directing credits include Flow and Pass Over at Studio Theatre, Necessary Sacrifices: A Radio Play at Ford’s Theatre, Native Son at Mosaic Theater Company, Word Becomes Flesh at Theater Alliance, Cinderella: The Remix at Imagination Stage, and Not Enuf Lifetimes at The Welders. Playwriting credits include Dear Mapel and Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son at Mosaic Theater Company, The Frederick Douglass Project co-written with Deirdre Kinahan at Solas Nua, and Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth at Imagination Stage. His solo play, Free Jujube Brown! is published in the anthology Plays from the Boom Box Galaxy: Theater from the Hip Hop Generation. Acting credits include Ruined at Arena Stage, Free Jujube Brown! at The African Continuum Theatre Company, and HBO’s The Wire. He is the writer/director of the short film The Freewheelin’ Insurgents. Psalm is the host of Psalm’s Salons at Studio, an interview-based cultural series that celebrates theatre and community through a Black lens. He is the recipient of a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play and has received the Imagination Award from Imagination Stage. His work has received grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Walt Disney Corporation. Psalm is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Mosaic Theater Company. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Dramatists Guild, and Actors’ Equity Association. On social media at @psalmayene24 (Instagram).
(As of June 2022)
Joel Ashur is making his Studio Theatre debut. His recent credits include How the Light Gets In at 1st Stage, Bars and Measures at Mosaic Theatre, Nollywood Dreams at Round House Theatre, Sweat at Fulton Theatre, Sister Act at North Carolina Theatre, Lombardi at Actors Theatre of Indiana, and A Friend of a Friend at Capital Repertory Theatre.
Johnny Ramey is an accomplished Juilliard-trained performer. He won the Robert Prosky – Helen Hayes Award for performing in Superior Donuts at Studio Theatre. Johnny has many credits that span stage, film and television. His next project to be released shortly is the feature film Rustin for Netflix, directed by George C. Wolfe. Rustin is a biopic of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin produced by Higher Ground Productions, a company founded by the Obamas.
Cara Ricketts has performed in both Canada and the US, including Time and the Conways on Broadway, several seasons as a leading lady at Canada’s Stratford Festival, and Isabella in Measure for Measure with Theatre for a New Audience in New York. Cara played Rose in 20th Century Fox’s The Resident. She also appeared as Mary in the CBC/Netflix series Anne with an E, winning the ACTRA Award for this performance. Guest appearances include WB's DC series Titans and BBC America’s Emmy Award-winning series Orphan Black. Video game performances include Mickey in Far Cry New Dawn and Sayla in Far Cry Primal.
Deidre Staples (she/her) is an actor and writer. Her Studio Theatre credits include John Proctor is the Villain and The Wolves (understudy). Selected regional theatre credits include My Body, No Choice at Arena Stage; Daphne’s Dive at Signature Theatre (understudy); The Skin of Our Teeth at Everyman Theatre; and Twelfth Night, The Crucible, and Around the World in 80 Days with the National Players Tour 70. She wrote and performed White-ish at the Atlas Intersections Festival which is being produced at the Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective in Asheville, NC. Awards: Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Performing in a Play. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Howard University. www.deidrestaples.com
Obinna Nwachukwu is a native Washingtonian who is honored to be working with Studio Theatre. Over the last eight years, he has become familiar in the local theatre scene with roles such as Jonathan Harker in Dracula at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and Tumbler in The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus at Restoration Stage, amongst several others. He recently made his feature film debut in Residue (Netflix), written and directed by Merawi Gerima (Slamdance Film Festival 2020 award for Best Actor). For fun, he enjoys being in nature, playing basketball, and viewing art in its many forms. He would like to thank his family and friends for their continued support.
Simone Brown’s D.C. credits include Into The Woods (Rapunzel; Helen Hayes nomination for Best Ensemble) at Signature Theatre, Rocky (Linda McKenna) and The Bodyguard (Rachel Marron U/S and ensemble) at Toby’s Dinner Theatre; Good People (Kate) and Womxn on Fire Festival at Keegan Theatre, Nothing to Lose at Unexpected Stage Company, Snowy Day (Female Player U/S) at Adventure Theatre Center, Carmen (Frasquite) at Opus Concert Theatre, Heathers: The Musical (Heather Chandler) at Howard Community College Theatre, and Sweeney Todd (Johnanna) at Kensington Arts Theatre. Regional credits include The Sound of Music (Sister Margaretta/Maria U/S), The Merry Widow (Joujou), La Boheme (Chorus) at the Charlottesville Opera; and Die Zauberflöte at the Chicago Summer Opera. She has a B.M. from Xavier University of Louisiana and an M.M. from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins. Thank you to Mike for all your love and support. Follow her career at www.simonebrownsoprano.com and on social media @simoneami and @blackprincessdmv (Instagram)
Jordan Sharber is an actor, movement artist, and creative who is making her Studio Theatre debut. Theatre credits include Aftermath, Deacon’s Awakening, and She Kills Monsters at Al Freeman Jr. Theatre and The Till Trilogy Reflection Series at Library of Congress. She can also be seen in the short film Crowned at Howard University. Jordan is currently a Graduating Senior Acting Major at the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University. She would like to thank Eric Ruffin, and Howard and Cassandra Sharber for their continuous support. On social at @jordan.sharber (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter).
Interview with James Ijames
A Note from the Dramaturg, Adrien-Alice Hansel
Go-Go: The Heart of DC