Regional Premiere

Visit our Health & Safety page to read COVID-related updates, from performance date adjustments to new policies and procedures, including our vaccine requirement for all audiences attending live public performances through December 2021. READ MORE

N by Adrienne Pender
October 23 - November 20, 2021
Adrienne Earle Pender
Director / Associate Line Producer
Nadia Guevara
Regional Premiere

Eugene O’Neill’s groundbreaking 1921 play, The Emperor Jones, was the first American play that featured an African-American actor in the lead role on Broadway. Charles S. Gilpin’s portrayal of Emperor Brutus Jones was hailed as “revelatory,” and he was named the finest actor of the age. The opening of The Emperor Jones made stars of both men; it was O’Neill’s first commercial success, and Gilpin became the toast of the theater world. But by 1926, O’Neill was a legend and Gilpin was lost to history. Adrienne Pender’s N explores the challenging relationship between Gilpin and O’Neill and how it ultimately hinged on one word — a word that lifted one of them to the heights of American theater and destroyed the other.

As part of a season-long partnership, Challenging Racism and The Keegan Theatre have prepared an educational packet and additional resources designed to encourage conversation and thought around race and its intersection with other themes presented in N.  DOWNLOAD THE PACKET

Online Resources
Special Performances
Audience Talkback: Meet the Artists

November 7, 2021 | Following the performance
Free and open to all patrons

Audience Talkback with CHALLENGING RACISM: The Intersection of Race & Theater/Art

November 14, 2021 | Following the performance
Free and open to all patrons


DC Metro Theater Arts Review

“This compelling piece excavates segments of theater history that have been long forgotten, tossed to the wayside, and ignored. Playwright Adrienne Earle Pender sheds light on the fascinating connection between…”

Read More

Broadway World Review

“N is a solid and timely production… As Gilpin, Kevin E. Thorne II is commanding and rangy, as striking a figure as the actor he portrayed. … Lolita Marie plays Gilpin’s supportive wife Florence with compassion — a level head who…”

Read More

Washington City Paper Review

“Pender has crafted a layered and nuanced double portrait of both men. The power imbalance of race and money is always present, but both Gilpin and O’Neill are artists dedicated to their craft, both believers in…”

Read More

MD Theatre Guide Review

“The director, Nadia Guevara, keeps the tension building while taking tight, emotional control. It’s somehow more devastating than fireworks would be.”

Read More
Adrienne Earle Pender
Adrienne Earle Pender

ADRIENNE EARLE PENDER began her writing career in 2001. Her first play, The Rocker, was a finalist in the FutureFest 2002 Festival of New Works in Dayton, Ohio. Her play Stone Face was a selection in the Reader’s Theater at the 2003 National Black Theater Festival. Additionally, Banana Split Lady made its debut at the 1st Annual Great Plains Theatre Conference in Nebraska. Pender’s play Somewhere In Between had a staged reading at the Drama Book Shop in New York in 2010 and a staged reading at Wordsmyth Theater in Houston, TX in May 2014. Her play More Than Anything in the World received a staged reading at the inaugural Women’s Theater Festival in Raleigh, NC, in July 2017. Adrienne’s latest play, N, was named a finalist in the FutureFest 2015 Festival of New Works in Dayton. It received a staged reading at the Eugene O’Neill Festival in Danville, CA, and made its world premiere production in Raleigh, NC at Theatre in the Park in February 2017. N was recently optioned by an independent film company, and the movie based on the stage play completed filming in October 2018. Adrienne was named a Tao House Fellow by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation in September 2015. She is also a member of the Dramatist Guild.

Kevin Thorne
Kevin E. Thorne II
Lolita Marie
Lolita Marie
Jared Graham
Jared H. Graham
Production Team
Director / Associate Line Producer
Nadia Guevara
Otis Cortez Ramsey-Zoe
Stage Manager
Gabrielle Busch
Set Designer / Master Carpenter
Matthew J. Keenan
Lighting Designer
Venus Gulbranson
Sound Designer
Cresent Haynes
Costume Designer
Paris Francesca
Properties / Set Dressing Designer
Cindy Landrum Jacobs