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Touching Play “CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY” Opens March 3

Jean Edwards and Nik Scott in CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY

January 20, 2023 – The Live Arts 2022/23 Transformations Season continues with Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s poignant memory play, CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY, directed by Live Arts Education Director Ti Ames.  CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY will have 12 performances in the Gibson Theater, March 3 through March 19, 2023, at Live Arts Theater, 123 E. Water Street, in Charlottesville. Tickets are $27 for adults or $22 for students and senior citizens and are available at, 434-977-4177 x123, or by emailing CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY is presented by The Caplin Foundation and sponsored by Allison Partners. 

Live Arts will host two special events for CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY:  Opening night reception following the performance on Friday, March 3, 2023; and a post-show audience talkback on Thursday, March 16 (7:30pm curtain). Audiences can enjoy the bar and concessions one hour prior to the performance and during intermission.

About the Show

“Imagine a pairing…between Tennessee Williams and Lorraine Hansberry, a memory play about a black family, a glass menagerie in the sun … ”NY Post

Lynn Nottage’s CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY is a touching coming-of-age story told through the eyes of 17-year-old Ernestine Crump. Ernestine’s father, Godfrey, recently widowed and grief-stricken, moves Ernestine and her younger sister Ermina north from Pensacola to a basement apartment in Brooklyn. The girls escape their isolation by going to the cinema, while their father finds solace in radio evangelist Father Divine. Things change quickly and explosively when their mother’s sister Aunt Lily, a free-spirited communist, bursts into their home. At once lyrical and thought-provoking, CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY is a play packed full of history, of family, and of love.  

The title of CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY comes from the Langston Hughes’ poem Luck: “Sometimes a crumb falls/ From the tables of joy,/ Sometimes a bone/

Is flung./ To some people/ Love is given,/ To others/ Only heaven.” Of her play, Nottage says, “The 1950s was such a moment in American history in which I felt so much change…everything I had seen was in black and white. And I wanted to make it colorful. So I started writing CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY to try to understand that era.” 

The production is directed by Ti Ames, and features impressive local talents: Nik Scott as Ernestine, Jean Edwards as Ermina, Simeon Brown as Godfrey Crump, Ty Daniels as Lily, and Stephanie Finn as Gerte, with Christiana Mitchell and Sharon Millner understudying various roles. CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY also features a dynamic creative team: Scott Dunn (production stage manager); Will Slusher (scenic designer); Heather Hutton (lighting designer); Ivan Orr (sound designer); Martha Adekunle (costume designer); Maggie Rogers (properties designer); Laura Rikard (intimacy consultant); and Andrew Bryce (dialect coach).

CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY is a Live Arts Mentor/Apprentice production, with teens from area high schools apprenticing in the areas of stage management, scenic design, lighting design, and costume design. The Mentor/Apprentice Program provides a unique, hands-on opportunity for teens to learn about technical theater while working on a mainstage production alongside experienced designers to create the look, sound, and feel of a production.

Performance History

CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY received its world premiere at Second Stage Theatre in New York in 1995, and its West Coast premiere at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, in 1996.

About the Playwright

Lynn Nottage is the first and only woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Widely produced in the United States and throughout the world, she recently premiered MJ the Musical and Clyde’s on Broadway, and an opera adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel commissioned by The Met/Lincoln Center. Other work includes the musical adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s novel The Secret Life of Bees; Mlima’s Tale; Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE Award, Tony and Drama Desk Nominations); By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Drama Desk Nomination); Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award); Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers; and POOF!. Nottage’s numerous awards and honors include a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, TIME 100 (2019), the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, the Helen Hayes Award, the National Black Theatre Fest’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, and a PEN/Laura Pels Award.. She is an associate professor in the Theatre Department at Columbia School of the Arts, and artist-in-residence at the Park Avenue Armory. 

About the Director 

Ti Ames (they/them/theirs) is a director, actor, and educator native to Charlottesville. As a Black, nonbinary, and queer person, Ti approaches theater with a focus on ritual, healing, and collective survival to uplift underrepresented voices in the Charlottesville community and beyond. They are the education director at Live Arts and teach African American History at the Renaissance School. They are also an accomplished playwright, script adapter, acting/vocal coach, and dramaturg. At Live Arts, Ti directed the teen summer musical RENT in 2019 and Shelby Edwards’ LOST HOME, WIN HOME, which opened the 2020/21 Forging Ahead Season. Other directing credits include: Seven Guitars (University of Virginia, associate director); Black Mac: A Macbeth Adaptation and See About the Girls (Charlottesville Players Guild); The Brothers Size and Olympus (Oberlin College, director, vocal and sssociate director); She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms (Renaissance School); Lights Out, Nice to See You Again (Virtual).

About Live Arts 

Live Arts is a volunteer-powered, nonprofit community theater in Downtown Charlottesville. Founded in 1990, Live Arts is celebrating 32 years of forging theater and community. The 2022/23 Transformations Season is made possible by season sponsors Elizabeth and Joe LeVaca, media sponsors C-VILLE Weekly and WTJU 91.1FM, pay-what-you-can sponsor Ting, education sponsor The Local, and IT partner PJ Networks Computer Services. Specific shows are sponsored by Allison Partners, The Caplin Foundation, Chaski Global, Pamela Friedman and Ronald Bailey, Barbara and Jay Kessler, Latitude 38, The Madwoman Project at CACF, Panorama Consulting, Silverchair, Strauss Construction, Woodard Properties, George Worthington and Cameron Mowat, and philanthropic gifts by hundreds of theater lovers in our community.

Live Arts is supported by grants from Albemarle County, City of Charlottesville, the BamaWorks Fund of Dave Matthews Band at the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, the DN Batten Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, Dominion Energy Foundation, and Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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