Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet

P&P marcus 8

Production Sponsored by


in association with the Knight Arts Challenge funded Henry Box Brown Festival

October 17 – November 3, 2013

“An extraordinary event…MARCUS is an engaging, gently provocative, universal tale. And, yes, it’s sweet.” —San Francisco Chronicle.

From the theater that brought you 2012’s hit production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, comes the Philadelphia premiere from the African-American playwright touted as the “next August Wilson,” Tarell Alvin McCraney. A provocative, poignant, fiercely humorous, and ultimately universal story of a “sweet” young man’s journey to discover the “secret” of who he really is and where he really came from. Days before Hurricane Katrina strikes the projects of Louisiana, the currents of his life converge, overflowing into his close-knit community and bringing three generations of characters, all named after African gods, together in the stirring conclusion of McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy.

About the Playwright

Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s plays include Wig Out! (Sundance Theatre Lab, Vineyard Theatre, and the Royal Court Theatre) and The Brother/Sister Plays: In the Red and Brown Water (Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition; premiered at the Alliance Theatre), The Brothers Size (premiered at The Public Theater in association with the Foundry Theatre and in London at the Young Vic), and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet (premiered in a co-production by McCarter Theatre Center and The Public Theater). Other productions of The Brother/Sister Plays include those by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, and The Studio Theatre, among others. McCraney’s plays also include Without/Sin; Run, Mourner, Run; and The Breach, written with Catherine Filloux and Joe Sutton (commissioned and premiered by Southern Repertory Theater in New Orleans.) He was nominated for London’s Olivier Award for The Brothers Size and has received the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, a 2009 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Play, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Whiting Award, the first Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, and a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University.

Ticketing Information

On the Main Stage

  • Wednesday and Thursdays at 7pm
  • Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
  • Saturdays at 2pm
  • Sundays at 3pm

Special Events

The Players: An Actor Talkback
Sunday, October 20th
Join the cast of Marcus for an informal talkback after the show, moderated by director Daniel Student.

Post-Show Classroom: Go Back To School with Local Professors
Sunday, October 27th
Wish you could go back to college and really analyze a play, its themes, and its ideas? Stay after the show for a panel of guest professors who will shed light on the play. And pay attention, there might just be a pop quiz at the end. Featuring Swarthmore history professor Allison Dorsey, St. Joseph’s University English professor Laura Pattillo and Plays & Players-featured playwright Quinn D. Eli.

Behind The Scenes, On The Stage: Explore the Production Process
Sunday, November 3rd
Get a glimpse into what it takes to put a production on its feet and meet production designers in a post-show talkback.  Learn about what different designers do, how a director approaches a script and what the heck a dramaturg is.

Conversation with the Community: Topics at Play in the Real World
Time and Date TBA
Plays & Players partners with a local organization whose mission explores the play’s themes in a practical setting.  Gain a more immediate perspective for how elements of the show play out in today’s Philadelphia.

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Cast and Creative Team

Starring: Janan Ashton, Andre G. Brown, Taysha Canales, Jaylene Clark, Erin Fleming, James Tolbert III and Zuhairah

Daniel Student (Director) serves as Producing Artistic Director at Plays & Players, for whom he has directed Bloody Bloody Andrew JacksonJoe Turner’s Come and Gone, A New BrainTake Me OutEarly in the Mourning, and Oleanna, and starred as Shakespeare in William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead. Other programs he has created at Plays & Players include the Philly Fringe Preview Series, the Philly Bake-Off and PIFA New Play Festival, and the Emerging Artists in Residence (EAR) program. His show he co-created and co-performed with Jennifer MacMillan and R. Eric Thomas, Overexposed: A Slightly Awkward Peep Show enjoyed five sold out performances with Quince Productions before going to the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe (also starring Jamison Foreman.) He re-mounted Overexposed in 2013, as well as performing a new show with Ms. MacMillan and Mr. Thomas, (in)voluntary commitment. “Superheroes Who Are Super!,” a classic comic book staged reading series which he created, produced, and frequently directed, won Best In Philly from Philadelphia Magazine in 2010. Other recent directing credits include Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead (Philly Fringe), The Pillowman (Bootless Artworks), and Bug (All College Theatre at The College of New Jersey). He is a graduate of Vassar College and attended the 2007 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab.

Set Design by Colin McIlvaineCostume Design by Amanda SharpLighting Design by Chris Hallenbeck, Sound Design by Dan KontzProps Design by Danielle Ferguson, Assistant Direction by Sophie PeytonDramaturgy by Nell Bang-Jensen, Assistant Dramaturgy by Eric Thomas, Dialect Coaching by Melanie JulianStage Management by Lauren Tracy, and Assistant Stage Management by Lena Barnard