Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

Administration & Cardinal Box Office

411 E 7th St
Bloomington, IN 47408
(812)336-9300 Box Office
(812)336-7110 Admin

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As part of Cardinal’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, we are commissioning a new play from an up-and-coming playwright, Brenson Thomas. This piece will be created and developed at Cardinal, with an aim to produce the world premiere in our 2022-2023 Season. 


Jacquel Drayton is barrelling towards rock bottom when he learns his long absent uncle, Malachi, has grown ill and is moving in with Jacquel’s mother, Suzana. With no real prospects ahead of him, Jacquel returns home. He is instantly at odds with Suzana, who’s weary from carrying the weight of the world on her back, and he finds a nemesis in Malachi, a jaded queen who has little patience for his nephew’s behavior. As Jacquel confronts his demons—including a past love—and Malachi’s life draws to a close, the prodigal men finally connect, and relearn the values of care through their kinship.

“Most of my work deals with family, and loss, and I’ve been thinking a lot about ancestors and elders and what we pass down. The AIDS epidemic robbed us of a generation of revolutionary artists and thinkers, but for my LGBTQ+ siblings and I, we were also deprived of queer mentorship; elders who threw bricks for our liberation and could help guide us through the world. So, I wanted to depict the kind of queer intergenerational relationship I have yet to experience. There is often the question of why this play now? And my answer is, because Black lives truly, without question, really actually matter. And our stories matter. In a country that’s built on the oppression and trauma of Black and brown bodies, seeing Black joy and care and love and softness and fellowship on stage is always vital.” – Brenson Thomas








More details coming soon!

Meet the Playwright

BRENSON THOMAS is a theatre maker/performer, and writer. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA in Theatre program, Brenson has collaborated/performed original work with Tony Award Winner Stew, Tony Award Nominee David Neumann, and performed in Philadelphia at the Wilma Theater, the Arden Theatre, and most recently with Lightning Rod Special in The Appointment (FringeArts/Next Door at NYTW; Barrymore Nominee for Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical). Brenson is also a TV writer, most recently writing for Twenties, Emmy Award-winner Lena Waithe’s television show on BET. When he’s not hunched over his laptop crying about blank Google docs, Brenson enjoys long walks around the city, doing bad accents, smashing patriarchal white supremacist structures, and Beyoncé.


Photo by Jenna Pinchbeck.




Cardinal’s New Play Commission is proudly sponsored by: Connie & Harv Hegarty, Sally Gaskill, & Baird Matthews Snyder Group. Supported in part by Cardinal Stage’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund.

Baird Mathew Snyder Group