Jordan E. Cooper: Youngest Black Broadway Playwright Receives 6 Tony Award Nominations

 

For his play “Ain’t No Mo,” Jordan E. Cooper has won six Tony nominations, including “Best New Play,” “Best Featured Actor in a Play,” and “Best Featured Actress in a Play.”

Black Wall Street Times claims that the 27-year-old is the youngest Black playwright on Broadway history. The play is made up of a number of quick comedic bits set in an unusual future.

The Play’s website discloses the provocative question, “What if the U.S. government offered Black Americans one-way tickets to Africa?” The play is said to move faster than the transatlantic jet plane, as the satirical comedy speeds through the turbulent skies of being Black in today’s America. Cooper’s play received early support from ‘big time’ producers like Dwayne Wade, Gabrielle Union, Lee Daniels, and RuPaul Charles.

It took a social media campaign to get the play running as it faced impending closure around a week after it premiered on December 1, 2022; nonetheless, on December 23, the show’s curtains once again closed, which Cooper described as a “frustrating experience.” Despite the play’s brief Broadway run, it received a lot of Tony nominations in 2022. Additionally, a lot of viewers praised it.

“So it takes time, especially when you’re a Black show to find your audience and especially when you’re leaning on traditional Broadway marketing which doesn’t necessarily market to Black folks. And this is a play that was written specifically for Black folks.” He told BET. “So, it is imperative right now that we really look into how we market these shows, and really look into where it goes. So people can know that they’re invited, and people can know that this is for them, because, traditionally, Broadway is not always meant for us, right?”

According to the young playwright, he traveled back to Texas to watch the nominations with his family. He recalls the memory of seeing his play come to life, “Yes, I was living my dream, but at the same time I was having to fight for my life in a way.”

In an Instagram post after the Tony announcement, he wrote “I’m a Tony-nominated actor & playwright My God, My God. Thank you to my amazing cast & crew members & producers [Lee Daniels] and the incomparable [Stevie Walker Webb] and to the American Theater Wing for recognizing this piece of work. Thank you to COMMUNITY who rallied and lifted this thing up even when people couldn’t see its worth. DON’T GIVE UP ON WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE SO.”

Jordan E. Cooper is an Obie Award-winning playwright and performer who was once selected as OUT Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year. He has received a special citation from Obie for his play, ‘Aint No Mo.’ According to Broadway.com, Cooper recently created and executive produced his first television project, ‘The Ms. Pat Show’ which critics have called “One of the most radical sitcoms in the modern era.” He is also noted as the youngest Black showrunner in television history, as well as the youngest American playwright in Broadway history.

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