The New School presents a stage reading of the new comedy 
DINNER by Lisa B. Thompson

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 7.00pm @The New School 


New York, March 16, 2023—In partnership with Black Studies at the University of Texas, The New School proudly presents a stage reading of Dinner, a new comedy written by New School Presidential Visiting Scholar, Lisa B. Thompson on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 7.00pm in The Auditorium at Kaplan Hall, located at 66 West 12th Street. The reading will be followed by a brief talkback with the playwright. 

Dinner spotlights the first meeting between the parents of engaged couple Joanna and Jonathan. As Joanna struggles preparing an elaborate meal to impress her future in-laws, she finds herself at the center of a battle between the Black middle class and the Nigerian upper class. “Guess who’s coming to dinner” and discover what’s on the cultural and political menu when the African diaspora gathers to dine.

Lisa B. Thompson is a Presidential Scholar at The New School for the 2022-2023 academic year. The program brings major thinkers of the highest standing to the university to teach unique courses, collaborate on creative or research initiatives, deliver lectures, and participate in public programming and other special projects. Thompson is the Bobby and Sherri Patton Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and the Advisor to the Dean for Faculty Mentoring and Support at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Liberal Arts. She is an award-winning theater artist, teacher, and scholar whose plays employ character and story to thoughtfully explore the Black family, motherhood, migration, racial violence, and sexuality. 

Thompson suggests that “it’s time for us to dig into some of the dynamics and differences throughout the African Diaspora so we can build a deeper understanding, mutual respect and stronger bonds between us.”

Dinner features Alinca Hamilton as Joanna and Kayodè Soyemi as her fiancé, Jonathan. Seasoned actors Eddie Blackman and Chantal Jean-Pierre play Joanna’s parents and Tomike Ogugua and Daralyn Jay are Jonathan’s parents, with Alexis Slade as our bride’s best friend. 

Associate Dean for Equity (Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts) Marshall Jones, III directs the reading and states: “Dinner is a bold play which addresses simmering tensions between Black Americans and Africans.  Both sides are blinded by stereotypes, but Lisa cleverly weaves in humor and comedy to tackle these important cultural issues.”

The reading is part of Professor Thompson’s final week in residence at The New School, which will also include a screening of the classic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and a panel discussion exploring themes of identity, anti-blackness, class and power in theater and film on Thursday, April 13.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.




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Media Contacts:

The New School
Merrie Snead
646 909-4684
[email protected]


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