Trouble in Mind


Trouble in Mind

Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3w, 6m

Set during rehearsals for a major Broadway production, Trouble in Mind illuminates the inner life of a Black actress struggling with her career. Alice Childress's 1955 play – which finally premiered on Broadway in 2021 – is a funny, moving and heartbreaking look at racism, identity and ego in the high-stakes world of New York theatre.

Image: 2021 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3w, 6m
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
  • Nominee: 2022 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play


A talented and experienced Black actress has been cast in Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching play set to open on Broadway. She's paid her dues throughout the years, playing stereotypical supporting roles in second-rate shows, and is ready for her star turn. Chaos in Belleville, written by a white playwright, might not be quite as enlightened a piece as she's been hoping for — but that doesn't mean it won't sell out. And selling out is the question at the heart of Alice Childress's comedy-drama. A cast of multigenerational Black actors rehearse under the purview of a white director and stage manager, and as the rehearsal process unfolds, theatre conventions and racial politics collide, resulting in a surprisingly funny yet deeply piercing look at the entertainment industry.
Trouble in Mind opened off-Broadway on November 3, 1955 at the Greenwich Mews Theatre in NYC. For that production, a white producer insisted the play's ending be changed from ambiguous to something lighter to comfort audiences. Childress rewrote the ending to keep the production moving forward. While the show was at the Mews, it was optioned for Broadway, though the option was packaged with requests for more rewrites. Childress rewrote Trouble in Mind for two years before  making the difficult decision to stop rewriting. The play did not see the light of Broadway until 2021, when it was produced by Roundabout Theatre Company. Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, the Broadway production opened at the American Airlines Theatre on November 18, 2021 and featured LaChanze, Chuck Cooper and Michael Zegen.
WILETTA MAYER – A middle-aged actress.
HENRY – The theater's elderly doorman.
JOHN NEVINS – A young actor.
MILLIE DAVIS – An actress, about thirty-five years old.
JUDY SEARS – A young actress (white).
SHELDON FORRESTER – An elderly character actor.
AL MANNERS – The director (white), in his early forties, a well-tweeded product of Hollywood.
EDDIE FENTON – The stage manager (white), eager and quick.
BILL O'WRAY – A character actor (white), worried at all times, except when he's performing.
  • Time Period 1950s
  • Setting A Broadway theater in New York City, 1957.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


“Glorious to behold.” – Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal

“The play of the moment... A fascinating knot of racial politics and dramatic theory.” – The New York Times

“It will take your breath away.” – Associated Press

“Teems with ideas and robust characters.” – The Hollywood Reporter


  • Trouble in Mind - 2021 Broadway Trailer youtube thumbnail

    Trouble in Mind - 2021 Broadway Trailer

  • Trouble in Mind - 2022 Tony Awards Highlights youtube thumbnail

    Trouble in Mind - 2022 Tony Awards Highlights

  • Trouble in Mind - Old Globe Trailer youtube thumbnail

    Trouble in Mind - Old Globe Trailer

  • Trouble in Mind - Two River Theater Trailer youtube thumbnail

    Trouble in Mind - Two River Theater Trailer


  • Trouble in Mind

    Image: 2021 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Trouble in Mind

    Image: 2021 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.


Available Formats:


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Alice Childress

Born in 1916 and raised during the Harlem Renaissance under the watchful eye of her beloved maternal grandmother, Alice Childress grew up to become first an actress and then a playwright and novelist. A founding member of the American Negro Theatre, she wrote her first play, ...

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