Stage Door News

Stratford: “Wedding Band” by Alice Childress starts performances at the Stratford Festival

Monday, June 19, 2023

Alice Childress’s riveting play Wedding Band – a profound meditation on injustice and intolerance – starts performances at the Stratford Festival’s Tom Patterson Theatre on Tuesday in a production directed by Sam White.

The play, which focuses on an interracial couple, is set in the American South in 1918, a dangerous time for such a relationship. But Julia – a fiercely independent Black seamstress – will not give in to law or convention. Her white fiancé, Herman, dreams of immigrating to New York City, where they can be legally married, but when he is stricken with influenza, the couple’s love is tested like never before.

The production features Cyrus Lane as Herman and Antonette Rudder as Julia Augustine, with Maev Beaty as Annabelle, Joella Crichton as Lula Green, Ijeoma Emesowum as Mattie, Liza Huget as Fanny Johnson, and Lucy Peacock as Herman’s Mother. The cast also includes Bola Aiyeola, Aliya Anthony, Aria Anthony, Eleanor Beath, Kevin Kruchkywich, Madison Taylor MacKenzie, Jonathan Mason, Jameela McNeil, Ariel Ollivierre, Irene Poole, Danté Prince, Glynis Ranney, Jamillah Ross and Micah Woods.

The creative team features Set Designer Richard H. Morris Jr., Costume Designer Sarah Uwadiae, Lighting Designer Kathy A. Perkins, Composer Beau Dixon, Sound Designer Debashis Sinha and Dramaturg Arminda Thomas.

“The wonder of the Tom Patterson Theatre stage,” says White, who is also the founding Artistic and Executive Director of Shakespeare in Detroit, “is that an audience gets an intimate, 180-degree look into these women’s stories. And each of them have a distinct one, as Childress has great compassion for all of her characters – both Black and white, the men and the women. For each one, she gives us cues as to why they think, feel and navigate the world in the way that they do. These are fully human characters whose flaws and imperfections are from the earth. The traumas of abuse, losing a child or children, falling in love, making a living and surviving are the given circumstances of this play and the world we live in today. And after experiencing a pandemic ourselves, the conversation about the influenza in 1918 doesn’t feel so long ago.”

Wedding Band has its official opening on July 14 and runs until October 1 in the Tom Patterson Theatre. Tickets are available at or by calling 1.800.567.1600.

The 2023 season also features King Lear, Rent, Much Ado About Nothing, Les Belles-Soeurs, Monty Python’s Spamalot, A Wrinkle in Time, Frankenstein Revived, Grand Magic, Richard II, Casey and Diana, Women of the Fur Trade and Love’s Labour’s Lost. For more information, visit

Photo: Cyrus Lane and Antonette Rudder. © 2023 Ted Belton.