Slave Play has garnered a star-studded audience that includes Madonna, Scarlett Johansson and Whoopi Goldberg

By Deirdre Durkan
January 14, 2019 07:40 PM
Stephen Lovekin/Getty; Neilson Barnard/Getty; Getty

The provocative off-Broadway show, Slave Play, has earned an early celebrity following.

Madonna, Scarlett Johansson and Whoopi Goldberg were spotted attending a showing of the Jeremy O. Harris play last weekend in New York City.

The play, which focuses on sexual relationships between mixed-race couples during the era of slavery, has earned several accolades and a bevy of admirers which also include composer Stephen Sondheim and Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner.

On Monday, Harris, 29, used Twitter to shut down a report from Page Six that Madonna was lured to the show for its “full-frontal male nudity.”

“There’s been a lot of fake news regarding slave play,” he wrote, before confirming he and the singer, who brought daughter Lourdes Leon, “shook hands.”

The play, which aimed to spark conversations about race, history, gender and sexuality in America, was directed by Robert O’Hara and opened at New York Theatre Workshop December 9.

It was recommended for audiences aged 17 or older, due to nudity, sexual content, simulated sexual violence and racially violent language.

The show was ultimately extended an additional two weeks through January 13, 2019, and earned the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences and the 2018 Paula Vogel Award.

While his professional debut was dubbed “an antebellum fever dream,” by The New York Times, Harris was particularly impressed by the celebrity turnout on Sunday.

“Scarjo, Sondheim, Madonna, and Whoopi. The freaks don’t just come out at night y’all. They come out for slave play,” the playwright, who is still finishing his third year at the Yale School of Drama, joked on Twitter after the final performance.

“I don’t want people to be able to walk away from a play about slavery and say, ‘Oh, well, that’s not about 2018,’” he told the NY Times. “Being a black body in the world makes you feel kind of insane.”