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black odyssey
black odyssey
Winter Theatre Sale

black odyssey

New York, NY
The Odyssey is reimagined in modern-day Harlem.
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About black odyssey

Obie-winning playwright Marcus Gardley (upcoming film adaptation of The Color Purple, The House That Will Not Stand) blends classic mythology, African-American history, and modern theatricality to create the poetic black odyssey. This vibrant reimagining of the Odysseus saga is set in modern-day Harlem, telling the epic tale of Ulysses Lincoln, a soldier facing the most daunting of voyages to reunite with his family. While fate may seem in control of Ulysses’ destiny, his ancestors and their buried history will help guide his journey home. Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb (Ain’t No Mo’).

Tell Me More

Classic Stage Company continues its season with black odyssey, Marcus Gardley's Odyssey adaptation making its New York premiere. Get black odyssey tickets on TodayTix.

The black odyssey play follows modern-day soldier Ulysses Lincoln following his tour in Afghanistan. Like Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey, he has to make a tricky trip filled with supernatural and mortal perils alike in order to get back to his family. Time collapses and the lines between the human and superhuman worlds melt away as Ulysses's ancestors, and their history as Black Americans, guide his way.

The premiere of black odyssey in New York is the culmination of the play's own yearslong, cross-country journey. Since the world premiere in Denver, Colorado, the show has gone up in Orinda, California (where the setting was changed from Harlem to Oakland) and Providence, Rhode Island. The show was scheduled to come off Broadway in 2022, but it was postponed by a year.

Playwright Gardley won a 2019 Obie Award for The House That Will Not Stand, inspired by The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca. Directing black odyssey off Broadway is fellow Obie Award winner Stevie Walker-Webb. He won for directing the critically acclaimed Ain't No Mo' and just made his Broadway debut with that play.

Get black odyssey tickets on TodayTix now.

What to Watch For

  • black odyssey is not a musical, but the show includes song and poetry in its storytelling.
  • A major difference between Odysseus's and Ulysses Lincoln's journeys is that Odysseus physically travels throughout his journey, while Ulysses's is an internal journey of coping with the past and reconnecting with his life and family back home.
  • The names of characters in black odyssey are based on Odyssey characters. Zeus becomes Deus, Poseidon is Paw Sidin, Penelope is Nella Pee, and Athena is Aunt Tina. A couple characters' names, like Circe and the Cyclops, stay exactly the same.
  • The name Ulysses is also derived from Odysseus. Before Gardley, James Joyce made that parallel in Ulysses, his own epic novel inspired by the Odyssey.
  • black odyssey references lots of major figures of Black history, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Alice Walker, and the Scottsboro boys.
  • Gardley is no stranger to adapting Greek mythology. His acclaimed play ...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi is based on the myth of Demeter and Persephone.
Start date

February 9th, 2023

End date

March 26th, 2023




Classic Stage Company

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