The Slave Who Loved Caviar

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$10.00 - $15.00

About This Show



December 23, 2021 to January 9, 2022
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave.
The theater will be open if you want to see the show in person.
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8:00 PM; Sundays at 3:00 PM
(Yes, there will be performances Xmas Eve & Day and New Year's Eve & Day.)
Runs 2 hours including intermission.
Tickets $15.00. Box office (212) 254-1109,
If you decide not to attend in person, all performances will be Live Stream for only $10. Live Stream means performances are shown at the same time as the performance in person, Eastern Standard Time.
There will be a private link in the receipt after purchasing tickets.
Critics are invited on or after Dec. 23 (opening date).
NEW YORK, November 20 — Playwright Ishmael Reed uses satire to explore aspects of American culture and history overlooked by others. His newest play, "The Slave Who Loved Caviar: A Theatrical Investigation Into the Relationship Between Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol," challenges the notion that Basquiat was merely Warhol’s "mascot." Theater for the New City will present its world premiere December 23, 2021 to January 9, 2022, directed by Reed's frequent collaborator, Carla Blank.

While Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is a household name, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) is less commonly known outside the art world.  His father was born in Haiti; his mother was born in Brooklyn to parents of Puerto Rican descent.  Jean-Michel became a graffiti artist, pop icon, musician and neo-expressionist painter.  He unified street art with painting, bridging modes that were historically considered high and low art.  Warhol and Basquiat collaborated intensely in 1984 and 1985, with Warhol assuming an almost parental role in Basquiat’s life.  Warhol’s studio assistant, Ronny Cutrone, remembered, “It was like some crazy-art world marriage and they were the odd couple. The relationship was symbiotic. Jean-Michel thought he needed Andy’s fame, and Andy thought he needed Jean-Michel’s new blood. Jean-Michel gave Andy a rebellious image again.”

 Ishmael Reed is author of twelve novels, nine collections of essays, fifteen anthologies of criticism and ten plays of which this is the latest. The New Yorker has labeled him "America’s most fearless satirist" and his exposés often attract bitter criticism.  A firestorm of comments, often ferocious, appeared in The New York Times and Broadway World in response to his "The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda" (Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 2019), which deconstructed the Broadway play’s abolitionist portrayal of the founding father with incisive, impeccably-researched satire.  The play portrayed a naive, defensive Miranda awakening to the sins of the Founding Fathers.  Writing in The New York Times, Elizabeth Vincentelli characterized it as "classic activist theater" and "a cross between 'A Christmas Carol' and a trial at The Hague's International Criminal Court."  Reed's eighth play, "Life Among the Aryans" (Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 2018), envisioned a future when the downtrodden denizens of the Alt Right realize they'd be better off if they were Black.  His latest anthology, "Bigotry on Broadway," co-edited with Carla Blank, was published this fall by Baraka Books.  His best-known novel, "Mumbo Jumbo" (1972), was cited by Harold Bloom as one of the 500 great books in the Western Canon.  His newest poetry collection, "Why the Black Hole Sings the Blues: Poems 2007-2020," was released from Dalkey Archive Press in November 2020.  He is also a publisher, songwriter, cartoonist, public media commentator, lecturer, teacher, and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and PEN Oakland, non-profit organizations run by writers for writers.

Carla Blank is a director, dramaturge, writer and editor. From 2003-2012 she directed productions of Wajahat Ali’s "The Domestic Crusaders." A collaboration with director Robert Wilson, "KOOL- Dancing in my Mind," an homage for Japanese choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi, premiered at NYC’s Guggenheim Museum in April 2009. From 2003-2012 she directed productions of Wajahat Ali’s "The Domestic Crusaders." She directed "News from Fukushima," a multimedia performance work by Yuri Kageyama, at La MaMa in 2015 and Z Space in San Francisco in 2017. A documentary film of the 2017 performance is receiving international acclaim. She directed Ishmael Reed’s "Hubba City" in Xiangtan, China in 2016.
The actors are Jesse Bueno, Maurice Carlton, Raul Diaz, Roz Fox, Laura Robards, Monisha Shiva, Brian Simmons, Robert Turner, and Kenya Wilson, who with Daniel Lugo also serves as an understudy.
Rome Neal, Director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, is Production Coordinator.
Video production is by Zohair Zaidi.
Set designer is Mark Marcante.
Assistant Set Designer is Lytza Colon.
Lighting Designer is Alexander Bartenieff.
Costume Designer is Diana Adelman.
Projection Designer is Miles Shebar.
Original music is composed and performed by Ishmael Reed.

COVID Protocol and Etiquette:
As of August 17 2021, people 12 and older are required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO.
Children ages 5 to 11 are now required to have proof of vaccination. They must show they have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Starting January 29, 2022, children ages 5 to 11 must also show proof of full vaccination.

Proof of vaccination may include the NYC Vaccination Record, CDC Vaccination Card (or photo), Excelsior Pass or NYC COVID Safe App.

All patrons must be vaccinated in order to see shows. Please provide proof before purchasing and picking up tickets.
Face masks must be worn throughout the building and for entry into the theater.

Show Details

Dates: Opening Night: December 23, 2021 Final Performance: January 9, 2022
Location: Theater for the New City, New York City

155 First Avenue,

New York,


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