Crumbs From the Table of Joy

By Lynn Nottage

Directed by Paul K. Bryant-Jackson

February 26–March 1, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
March 2, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
MainStage, Gates-Abegglen Theatre, Center for Performing Arts

Tickets: $7 Students, $8 Seniors, $10 Adults

  • $5 a ticket curricular discount is available to students who receive credit for attending. Professors who give credit for attendance will receive 2 free tickets to the performance. To participate, contact the Miami Box Office by e-mail, or by calling 513-529-3200.
  • Group discounts are available to resident advisors, student organizations, and high-school group

Roundtable Discussion

"In a New Day, Peace Will Come"
Tuesday, February 25
4:00 p.m. Gates-Abegglen Theatre

Moderator: Ashley Dunn, theatre graduate student
with panelists:
Dr. Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Associate Professor of Theatre
Dr. Stephanie Dunning, Associate Professor of English
Dr. Paul Jackson, Director of Graduate Studies, and Professor of Theatre
Dr. Cheryl Johnson, Associate Professor of English
Dr. Tammy Kernodle, Professor of Music
Dr. Ron Scott, Associate VP for Institutional Diversity

A special Q&A talkback by cast members will follow the Saturday, March 1 performance, Gates-Abegglen Theatre

Cast & Crew

Ernestine Crump:  DayDay Robinson

Ermina Crump:  Jaime Coaker
Godfrey Crump:  Vonzell Carter (Miami '06)
Lily Ann Green:  Ashley Dunn
Gerte Crump:  Lizzie Docel

Scenic Designer:  Mari Taylor
Costume Designer:  Meggan Peters
Lighting Designer: Robert Stimmel
Sound Designer:  Josh Wilson
Technical Director:  Josh Wilson
Vocal Coach:  Jay Stratton

Stage Manager:  Emma Crowe


The date is 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, a time where racial tensions in the U.S. are on the verge of spilling over. America is dealing with the after effects of World War II, the start of the Cold War, and is bracing itself for the Civil Rights movement. It truly is a time of change, something that is familiar with the Crump household. Crumbs is a memory play told through Ernestine, a seventeen year old, African American young woman whose family is dealing with their own realities of change. Reeling off of the loss of his wife, Godfrey Crump, Ernestine’s father, is left with the sole responsibility of raising his two maturing daughters. He finds peace in a televangelist named “Father Divine,” and moves his family from the south and customs of Florida to Brooklyn to follow his teachings. Adjusting to this culture shift, Ernestine and her younger sister, Ermina, seek to find their own way of coping. For Ernestine, her solace is to escape in the actresses she saw in the movies, and for Ermina, the attention of young boys. Laced with communist notions, and talks about the Black revolution, Aunt Lily, the sister to Ernestine’s mother, shakes up the conservative world that Godfrey desired to create by moving in with the family. Her aim is to mother her young nieces, and to release them of their father’s teachings. The tension between free thought, and conservative views proves to be too much for Godfrey, and he again runs away to find solace; this time without his girls. While away, he meets a German woman named Gerte, who he falls in love with and decides to marry. He returns home with his new wife, and his daughters must then grapple with the idea of having a German stepmother. Gerte and Godfrey’s relationship is challenged, as they are victims to the cruel world of racism. Can the family truly “cope” this time and how?

Crumbs is the coming of age story of Ernestine, and the ways in which her family finds their way—their own peace. Their story is a testament to the challenging nature of change, and the ways in which to manage it. In the end for the Crump family, “joy comes in the morning.”

Central Themes of the Play

– Family issues with displacement

– Psychological effects of change

– Bridging cultural divides

– Grieving and bereavement

– Coming of age–progressing into womanhood

– 1950’s in America and themes surrounding:

  • Civil rights
  • Women's rights
  • Free thinking vs. Communism
  • Racism
  • Interracial marriage and family relationships
  • Religion
  • Music of the 50's

Playwright Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage’s new play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre (Lily Award, Drama Desk Nomination) and most recently at the Geffen Playhouse.  It can be seen this upcoming season at Lyric Stage in Boston and The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre (OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play). It subsequently toured widely throughout US regional theatres and premiered internationally at the Almeida Theatre in London. The play has since been produced throughout the world, including Cambodia, Chad, The Caribbean, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Germany. Her other plays include Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers and POOF!.

Nottage is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play (Ruined), Helen Hayes Award (Ruined), the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama, as well as fellowships from the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. She is a co-founder and producer at Market Road Films LLC, a film production company. 

Nottage is a board member for Theatre Communications Group, BRIC Arts Media Bklyn, Donor Direct Action, The New Black Fest, Voice and Vision, and the Dramatists Guild.

Related topics and links:

An Interview with Playwright Lynn Nottage

Anticommunism in Postwar America, 1945–1954: Witch Hunt or Red Menace?

Post-War Economic Boom and Racial Discrimination

Jazz in America: Bebop in the 50's

Langston Hughes and "Poetry in Motion" on the Brooklyn IRT

See recent works of Miami Alum, Vonzell Carter who plays the role of Godfrey Crump in Miami's production of "Crumbs for the Table of Joy"