Video: Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s LACKAWANNA BLUES Was Nourishment For My Soul and Has Been Extended through Nov. 12; Santiago-Hudson also Featured on Live at the Lortel Podcast

Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson has returned to MTC for the Broadway debut of Lackawanna Blues, his brilliant solo play celebrating the strong, big-hearted woman who raised him: Miss Rachel.

Junior Mack and Ruben Santiago-Hudson in Lackawanna Blues. Photo by Marc J. Franklin

In a 1950s boarding house outside Buffalo, Nanny, as she was affectionately called, opened her doors to anyone and everyone in need of kindness, hope, compassion and care. Giving a tour-de-force performance accompanied by live music written by acclaimed composer Bill Sims Jr. and performed by Blues Hall of Fame Guitarist Junior Mack, Santiago-Hudson embodies more than 20 vibrant characters, creating a richly textured reminiscence that’s inspiring, uplifting and right at home on Broadway.

Santiago-Hudson is a gifted storyteller and Lackawanna Blues was nourishment for my soul. We’re so glad to have you back where you belong.

Junior Mack and Ruben Santiago-Hudson in Lackawanna Blues. Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Manhattan Theatre Club has added additional performances on Tuesday, November 9 at 7PM, Wednesday, November 10 at 2PM, Thursday, November 11 at 7PM and Friday, November 12 at 8PM at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street).

Junior Mack and Ruben Santiago-Hudson at the first preview curtain call of Lackawanna Blues at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on September 14, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

Santiago-Hudson was recently featured in the Live at The Lortel podcast series which is designed to give theater makers the opportunity to share insight into their creative process and inspiration with a larger audience. These conversations dig deep into the artists’ work and career, including past, present, and future projects. Live at The Lortel looks at the intersection between art and activism. They honors the work of theater artists who boldly use their public platform for philanthropy, to advance the state of theater, and to support the issues that they are passionate about. They look to explore how an artist’s passion for activism and philanthropy influences their artistry on the stage. Watch below:

Santiago-Hudson also directed the Broadway production, Jitney which garnered several awards for “Outstanding Revival” including a Tony Award and six Tony nominations. Santiago-Hudson recently adapted August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Netflix, which was produced by Denzel Washington, directed by George C. Wolfe, and starred Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. Ruben’s directing credits include: The Piano Lesson, Skeleton Crew, Othello, Gem of The Ocean, Paradise Blue, My Children! My Africa!, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Cabin in the Sky, The Happiest Song Plays Last, Two Trains Running, Things of Dry Hours and more. Santiago-Hudson received a Tony Award as featured actor for his performance in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and made his Broadway acting debut alongside Gregory Hines in Jelly’s Last Jam. Other Broadway credits include Stick Fly and Gem of The Ocean.”Select theater credits include The Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII and Measure for Measure (The Delacorte) Ceremonies in Dark Old Me and A Soldier’s Play (NEC), Lackawanna Blues and East Texas Hot Links (The Public Theater). He wrote, executive produced, and co-starred in the HBO film Lackawanna Blues based on his OBIE and Helen Hayes Award-winning play. The movie received many honors including Emmy, Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award, The Christopher Award, and the Humanitas Prize.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson at the first preview curtain call of Lackawanna Blues at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on September 14, 2021. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team for Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Lackawanna Blues includes Michael Carnahan (scenic design), Karen Perry (costume design), Jen Schriever (lighting design), and Darron L West (sound design); with music performed by Junior Mack and original music by Bill Sims Jr. Kamra A. Jacobs is the Production Stage Manager.

MTC has aligned with their Broadway colleagues in setting safety protocols. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, and a valid I.D. will be required to enter the theatre. Masks must be worn at all times. For more specific information go to:

Ticketing Information
Tickets for Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Lackawanna Blues are available online at, by phone at 212-239-6200, or in person at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre box office (261 West 47th Street).

Subscriptions to MTC’s new season of plays are now available by calling the MTC Clubline at 212-399-3050 or going to

To sign up for MTC’s “30 Under 35” program, offering $30 tickets for theatregoers age 35 and under, visit

Before the show, Marjorie Johnson and I had a bite at Virgil’s, digging in to pork belly, baby arugula, fries, pickled cucumbers, mac and cheese, brisket, collard greens and cornbread.

Marjorie Johnson, Lia Chang, Perri Gaffney at Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s LACKAWANNA BLUES at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
Lia Chang. Photo by Perri Gaffney

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young, written and directed by Garth Kravits, recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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