Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

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Comedy Drama

Jaja's African Hair Braiding

by Jocelyn Bioh

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A photo of a young Black woman looking up and smiling with her eyes closed while long braids whip behind her against a purple background. A photo of a young Black woman looking up and smiling with her eyes closed while long braids whip behind her against a purple background.

Tressed to impress!

2024 Tony Nominee! Welcome to Jaja’s bustling hair braiding shop in Harlem where a lively and eclectic group of West African immigrants create masterpieces on the heads of neighborhood women every day. During one sweltering summer day, love will blossom, dreams will flourish, and secrets will be revealed. The uncertainty of these women’s circumstances simmers below the surface of their lives, and when it boils over, this tight-knit community is forced to confront what it means to be an outsider on the edge of the place they call home. This boisterous, heartwarming play by award-winning Ghanaian American playwright Jocelyn Bioh makes its regional premiere following its dazzling Broadway debut

Run time: ~1 hr, 30 min with no intermission

Content warning: Jaja’s stylists and clients are no strangers to gossip and gab, sometimes using mild adult language and sexual references. In these complex female friendships, they feel empowered to discuss racism, divorce, domestic violence, and deportation, all while sharing dreams and braiding masterpieces.

Photo credits | First Timer’s Guide, Brooke Steele in The Frog Princess; Ticket Info, Bryant Bentley, Burgess Byrd, and Leslie Goddard-Baum in Detroit ’67 (Mikki Schaffner); Subscriptions, Cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Ticket Discounts, Torie Wiggins in Your Negro Tour Guide. All images by Ryan Kurtz unless otherwise noted.