BY TAMMY SCILEPPI
If you’re craving something really good, that you can sink your teeth into, then how about a hefty serving of “Chicken and Biscuits”?
You and yours will surely enjoy this uniquely satisfying, new family comedy by playwright, composer and actor Douglas Lyons (“Beautiful”), running through March 22 at Queens Theatre. Opening night is set for Friday, March 6.
Directed by Zhailon Levingston (“Tina”), “Chicken and Biscuits” has some surprises in store for audiences, as sassy sisters Baneatta, played by Jennifer Fouche (“Chicago”), and Beverly, played by Ebony Marshall-Oliver (“Ain’t No Mo”), reluctantly join forces when it’s time to bury their beloved papa, Bernard Jenkins. Everyone pretty much behaves at the funeral — where the family honors him by eating his favorite dinner of chicken and biscuits — until a huge secret is revealed. Can you guess what it is?
“The play itself is also a meal. There’s shade, love, healing and comedy all mixed into in one,” said Lyons, who lives in Astoria.
“This play was my own personal experiment of clashing high humor with deep conflict. At the blink of an eye the audience may go from laughter to tears,” he added, noting that the family you see on stage, “will hopefully remind you of your own, and audiences will hopefully want to call their parents, aunties and kids afterwards.”
The fabulous group of comedic actors, who have appeared on stages and screens all around the country — from the “Chicago” National Tour to The Public Theater and to Netflix’s “When They See Us” — also includes Robert G. McKay (“When They See Us”) as Reginald, Alana Raquel Bowers (“What to Send Up When It Goes Down”) as Simone, Josh Adam Ramos (“Brideshead Obliterated”) as Kenny, Brendan Ellis (“Stupid F**king Bird”) as Logan, Ashanti J’Aria (“Disaster”) as Brianna, and Aigner Mizzelle (“Betty & The Belrays”) as La’trice.
Set in Lyons’ hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, “Chicken and Biscuits” was inspired by a family secret, according to the playwright, who said he grew up eating that dinner at least once or twice a month after church.
“For me, the title symbolizes traditions in black culture. And the play is a VIP pass into black family,” Lyons explained. “It’s mess, it’s love, it’s comedy and it’s beauty. I belly-laugh at least once in every scene.”
The play is also quite unique because “you rarely see this many black women leading a piece,” according to its creator.
Lyons noted that the play’s message is “a reminder to love before it’s too late.” And one of his favorite quotes from “Chicken and Biscuits” is, “Family is family. It don’t fade away till it’s gone.”
The show is recommended for everyone ages 10 and up.
For tickets, showtimes and more information, visit queenstheatre.com.