Bossa Nova by Greenidge ’96 Premieres at the Yale Rep

At left, Francesca Choy-Kee, Ella Joyce and Malenky Welsh in Bossa Nova by Kirsten Greenidge ’96. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Bossa Nova, a play by Kirsten Greenidge ’96, recently had its world premiere opening at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, where it runs through Dec.18.

Greenidge’s play centers around Dee Paradis, a young African American  woman who struggles to define herself under the watchful eyes of her mother and her jazz-loving white history teacher. The play moves around in time from the early 1980s to Dee’s school days a decade earlier and then back again.

In her New York Times review of the play, Anita Gates wrote: “Ms. Greenidge has a lovely way with language and piercing insight into issues of identity and self-worth….Dee…is an important creation, representing those who have found themselves torn between cultures and confused by other people’s perceptions of them.”

In his Boston Globe review, Don Aucoin said: “Race. Class. Family. Identity. Power. These are some of the complex chords touched in Bossa Nova, Kirsten Greenidge’s lyrical and ambitious new drama….”

Greenidge is also the author of the plays Milk Like Sugar, The Luck of the Irish, Rust, The Curious Walk of the Salamander, 103 Within The Veil, Sans-Culottes in the Promised Land, and The Gibson Girl. She has developed her work at Sundance (Utah and Ucross), Magic Theatre, Madison Rep, New Dramatists, the Mark Taper Forum, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Hourglass Theatre, A.S.K. Theatre Projects, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and other venues. She earned her BA at Wesleyan University, and her MFA at the Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa, where she was a Barry Kemp Fellow. She is currently working on a commission from Yale Repertory Theatre.

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: