How Black Mothers Say I Love You – RTP

By | January 15, 2023
Powerful and touching …” — Ottawa Citizen
Beautifully written … phenomenal …This play leaves you with a lot to think about and it is powerful stuff.  If your parents are still around, hug them. — Ottawa Life
“Trey Anthony has delivered another important play about the experiences of black women.” —The Star
You’ll Fall in Love with this Powerful Play!

How Black Mothers Say I Love You tells the story of hard-working Daphne, who left her two young daughters in Jamaica for six years to create a better life for them in America. Now thirty years later, proud and private, Daphne is relying on her church and her nearby dutiful daughter to face a health crisis. But when feisty activist daughter Claudette arrives unexpectedly from far away to help out, her arrival stirs up the buried past, family ghosts and the burning desire for unconditional love before it’s too late.

Playwright Trey Anthony is a visionary creator who uses the unique blend of comedy, theater, motivational talk, and her own life experiences to inspire and lift up others. Anthony’s sold-out hit play, ‘da Kink in My Hair, grossed millions and broke box office records across Canada, the United States, and England after it premiered in 2001. It was named one of the top ten plays in Canadian theatrical history and received 4 NAACP Theatre awards, including Best Playwright. It continues to be produced on stages throughout North America. How Black Mothers Say I Love You premiered in 2017. It was the first play to be featured on The Globe and Mail’s Bestsellers list. It has now been optioned as a feature film by Conquering Lion Productions with critically acclaimed director Clement Virgo (Empire, The Book of Negroes, The Wire) attached to direct.

Richmond Triangle Players’ production, the play’s Virginia premiere, is directed by Desirée Dabney. Dabney has appeared in almost every stage in Richmond, including at RTP in Times Square Angel. She is Head of Musical Theatre at TheatreVCU.  Playing the matriarch Daphne is Dorothy “Dee-D.” Miller (Auntie Mama in RTP’s acclaimed, RTCC-awarded Best Play of the Year Sugar in Our Wounds). Her daughters will be played by Zakiyyah Jackson (who appeared in RTP’s hit production of The Cake), Shalandis Wheeler Smith (seen at RTP in The Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company’s What They Did for Us) and, making her RTP debut, Bailey Robinson.

Set Design is by William Luther, Costume Design is by Margarette Joyner, Lighting Design is by Dakota Carter, with Dabney also acting as Sound Designer. Properties Design is by Tim Moehring, Hair and Make-Up Design is by Jahara Jennae, Intimacy Choreography is by Raja Benz, Technical Direction is by Rebecka Russo and Dialect Coaching is by Erica HughesChayla Simpson is the Assistant Director and Dramaturg, Nathan Ramos is the Assistant Stage Manager and Jennipher Murphy is the Production Stage Manager.

The production takes place at Richmond Triangle Players’ home at the Robert B. Moss Theatre at 1300 Altamont Avenue in Scott’s Addition, just northwest of the intersection of Arthur Ashe Boulevard and West Broad Street.  Reserved seat tickets can be purchased online at RTP’s web site at, through RTP’s Facebook page, or by leaving a message on the RTP Ticket hotline at 804-346-8113.  Reserved seat tickets are $35-40. The lower-priced previews are $20; and student tickets are always $10 at any performance. 
RTP’s 2022-23 productions are made possible in part by generous contributions from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, CultureWorks, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Resilience Fund, the Shubert Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Richmond Triangle Players is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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