Tyler Perry Broadway: On November 27th, Jordan E. Cooper made history as the youngest American playwright ever on Broadway when he previewed his show “Ain’t No Mo’,” which began an open run in New York City this month and will run as long as it proves profitable.
Before the cast members took to the stage on Dec. 9, Cooper delivered some unexpected news during a speech after curtain call: The show would be ending its run on Broadway on Dec. 18 — less than three weeks after its debut!
Video footage captured the announcement as it caught some audience members by surprise, leading them to exclaim “What?” and “No!”
Cooper, a queer Black playwright, wrote his play “Ain’t No Mo‘” with the idea of solving racism by offering Black Americans one-way plane tickets to Africa. In an open letter on December 9th he described the play as a “radical Black work” that deserves its place on Broadway too!
“In the name of art, resistance, and belonging… please support this production by purchasing a ticket and joining us for church,” he wrote.
Cooper made an emotional curtain-call speech on Instagram, where he posted an open letter with the hashtag #SaveAINTNOMO in hopes of garnering support for the show.
After Cooper’s social media push, celebrities such as filmmaker Tyler Perry, singer Queen Latifah and TV producer Shonda Rhimes responded by purchasing tickets and contributing towards the production. On Thursday afternoon, Cooper announced that “Ain’t No Mo’ had been extended on Broadway through December 23.
“Thank you to everyone who bought or sponsored a ticket, posted, shared or told someone about the show,” he wrote on Instagram. “We’ve had sold-out audiences all week.”
This comedy made its Broadway debut this year after enjoying an extended run at the Public Theater in 2019.
At the time, it was named a New York Times Critic’s Pick. And this year, The Wrap called it both “the most audacious” and “the best new play” to open on Broadway.
“Spinning faster than a transatlantic jet plane, this groundbreaking comedy navigates the perils of being Black in contemporary America,” according to its description. “Brilliantly combining sketch comedy, satire, avant garde theater and an element of drag, AIN’T NO MO’ will leave you smiling through your tears–and thinking through them too,” it adds.
Stevie Walker-Webb, making his Broadway debut alongside Cooper, directed the production and Lee Daniels produced it – co-creator of hit show “Empire”. According to Cooper, ticket prices were set at $50 in order to make the show more accessible for more people.
Since Cooper announced the play was at risk of closing, several shows have been purchased by celebrities like Perry, Rhimes, Sara Ramirez, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith; Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade; drag queen RuPaul, actor-screenwriter Lena Waithe and Queen Latifah have hosted special performances as well. Furthermore, prominent figures like restaurateur Pinky Cole and producer Swizz Beatz have donated to support the production as well.
Legendary entertainer Whoopi Goldberg came to see “Ain’t No Mo'” and expressed her support in a video posted Friday.
Ramirez, who previously starred in “And Just Like That” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” is another star who has bought out performances. In a video posted Saturday, the actor expressed their desire for the show to continue beyond its extension.
Ramirez expressed her support of the show, noting: “I am confident in what they’re doing right now and don’t think this show should end on December 23.”
They urged anyone with the capacity to spread the news about “Ain’t No Mo'” either by posting about it on social media or purchasing tickets to the show at Belasco Theatre.
“I firmly believe this show can find its audience – it just needs some patience,” Ramirez expressed his optimism.
On Saturday, Cooper took to Instagram once more to express her gratitude to those who have supported the show.
“Who knows where this journey will lead us,” Cooper wrote in the caption. “This is bigger than one play; it’s about transformation.”