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Manic Pixie Dream Girls Aren’t Black


Written by Amara Janae Brady
Directed & Orchestrated by Xander Browne
Music Directed by Christie Chiles Twillie

Developmental Reading:  May 6 – 17, 2024
Reading Presentations:
Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30pm
Friday, May 17 at 7:30pm

All presentations will be held at the
Mussetter-Struble Theater (1949 Campus Drive in Evanston)

General Public – $10
Students (in advance) – $8

As a video game designer (well, almost!), Delilah has never had a problem with her untamed imagination. But when her boss suggests that the lead character in her latest video game is too unrealistic and unrelatable because “Black women don’t play video games,” she decides it’s time to reel her imagination in. Fortunately for her, her video game has another idea – Delilah gets sucked into the amazingly colorful world she created. She finds there’s nothing wrong with her lead, but there is something wrong with the massive, violent changes she didn’t make! Now, she must defeat her greatest foe, self-doubt…but…kinda disguised as white supremacy. Manic Pixie Dream Girls Aren’t Black has previously received a MacDowell Residency, a residency with The Parsnip Ship, and a reading at Original Idiots.


Amara Janae Brady (she/her) is a generative artist & cultural dramaturg from Chicago. At the crux of her artistry is showcasing the humanity and divinity of Black women and connecting underserved communities with experiences that mirror their own. She is a 2023 MacDowell Fellow, a New Roots Fellow, a current fellow of WP Theater’s 2022-2024 Lab, and a member of The Public Theater’s Devised Working Group 2023-2024. Writing: the beautiful things are gonna kill you (Kilroys 2023; The Bushwick Starr; The Public Theater), “my dick is david duke” or The Sad Fat Negress Can’t Get a Date (Ars Nova), This is Where We Go (MCC), Last Ones First (Crux VR in association with Blair Russell Productions); The SupaDupa Kid (Barrington Stage Co.); Manic Pixie Dream Girls Aren’t Black (WP Theater + Northwestern University). Performance: “my dick is david duke” or The Sad Fat Negress Can’t Get a Date (Ars Nova), Hachetation (O’Neill), Wine in the Wilderness (Roundabout), Abduction (Atlantic Theater Co.), This Is Where We Go (MCC), Bernarda’s Daughters (The Lark; Audible + New Group), Annie Golden: Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Co.), NYTW, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, 54 Below, Joe’s Pub & others. She’s a member of Iconis & family. Producing: “my dick is david duke” or The Sad Fat Negress Can’t Get a Date (Ars Nova), the 2019 Theatre Communications Groups National Conference. Assistant Producer of NYT Critic’s Pick, Jillian Walker’s SKiNFoLK (Bushwick Starr). YouTube series, ‘Skinny & White’ Aren’t Character Traits. In This Paper I’ll Explain. Resist, check your privilege, & then give some space to Women of Color & Trans Folx. Ashé to the ancestors. All Power to all people. 


Xander Browne (he/him) is a queer Black comedic playwright/director/composer based in Brooklyn with a degree in Directing from Columbia University. His work explores the various intersections of religion, sexuality, race, technology, and conservation. This past year he has provided musical direction for workshops at The Public, The Flea, and the 5th Climate Change Theatre Action Festival. He also directed Alex Beige’s Blackpilled: A Blueprint at the International Human Rights Arts Festival. His musical W a t c h M e, a gay ASMR fantasia, has been workshopped with the New York Theater Workshop, at Adelphi University, and with Roundabout Director’s Group. His musical The Last Vampyre, a lesbian vampire farce set in Winnipeg, Canada, was a finalist for Live & In Color’s Bingham Camp Musical Retreat and is a part of L&IC’s summer 2023 reading group. His frequent collaborations with Patrick B. Phillips have culminated in the musical MIXED, a meditation on being biracial that has been featured in 54 Below’s “Let Them Hear You” concert series. Xander’s play Take Me Home, a dark racialized take on The Wizard of Oz, was a finalist for the Dr. Floyd Gaffney Playwriting Prize. Recently, his music has been featured at The Brick’s New Work Festival and in Torn Out Theater’s Antigonick. You can also hear his music in Ars Nova’s ANTfest play The Apostle Peter and His Lover John, Also an Apostle available for streaming, and his work has been performed regularly as part of 54 Below’s Black Writers Showcase. Xander is a featured line-up artist with the Breaking and Entering Theater Collective and has worked extensively with the artist residency program SPACE on Ryder Farm.


Christie Chiles Twillie (she/her) is a Pianist, Music Director, Sound Designer, Composer/Orchestrator. Among the 40+ musicals she has Music Directed are: HAIR (Asolo), Five Guys Named Moe, Newsies, The Gospel at Colonus, Raisin, A Jolly Holliday (Skylight), Dreamgirls (Paramount, Goodspeed, McCarter), the Chicago premier of Minnie’s Boys (Porchlight), Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Into The Woods (Devonshire), Jelly’s Last Jam (Cape Fear) and the upcoming productions of The Color Purple (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival), A Year with Frog & Toad, and Milo Imagines the World (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Her Sound Designs and original compositions have been heard at Timeline (Notes from the Field), GEVA (We Are Continuous, Vietgone), TheatreWorks Hartford (Clyde’s), Northlight (Fireflies), Forward Theatre (Niceties), UArts (Shapeshifters). Christie was awarded a Footlights Best Musical Direction Award – Professional Production (Five Guys Named Moe), a Rachel Rockwell Fierce Women Behind The Table award for Music Direction by Porchlight Music Theatre, a BTAA nomination for Best Music Direction for her Original Score for Yellowman, and she was a Chicago Broadway World Finalist for Best Music Direction (Big Fish). Christie is a member of the American Federation of Musicians; Theatre Musicians Association; MUSE (Musicians United for Social Equity), and she is a Board Member for MAESTRA.