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Tarell Alvin McCraney to Star as Joan Jett Blakk in Ms. Blakk for President

The Oscar-winning writer will take on the persona of America's first black drag queen presidential candidate.

Tarell Alvin McCraney will take on the title role in Ms. Blakk for President, cowritten by him and Tina Landau, and making its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre this spring.
(© David Gordon)

Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced complete casting for the world premiere of Ms. Blakk for President, cowritten by ensemble members Tina Landau (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight, Choir Boy). Performances will run from May 23-July 14 with an official opening on June 3.

Conceived by Landau, she also directs this true and little-known Chicago story that will star McCraney as Ms. Joan Jett Blakk. Joining McCraney in the cast are Patrick Andrews, Molly Brennan, Daniel Kyri, Jon Hudson Odom, and Sawyer Smith.

Ms. Blakk for President is described as follows: "Meet Ms. Joan Jett Blakk as she sets off on her journey to run for President of the United States. Inspired by the true story of America's first black drag queen presidential candidate, Joan's story begins in Chicago; it's 1992 and, with the AIDS crisis at its height, Joan and the newly formed Queer Nation Chicago have big goals in mind. Joan sets off on an exhilarating and dangerous journey to drag queer politics out of the closet and into a future where ALL are visible and ALL have a place at the table. Part campaign rally, part nightclub performance, part confessional, and all PARTY!, Ms. Blakk for President takes us into the heart and mind of one of Chicago's most radical and influential citizens."

The production team includes David Zinn (scenic design), Toni-Leslie James (costume design), Heather Gilbert (lighting design), Lindsey Jones (sound design), Rasean Davonte Johnson (projection design), and Gigi Buffington (company voice and text coach).