0 15 min 8 mths

Mosaic Theater Company presents the regional premiere of Confederates, a breathtakingly fierce examination of history, race, and the women who stand on the frontlines of freedom, no matter the cost. After a successful premiere off-Broadway in 2022, Director Stori Ayers directs an all-new production of the play, written by two-time Tony Award Nominee and MacArthur Fellow Dominique Morisseau. The play runs October 26-November 19, 2023. Each performance will be followed by powerful conversations with local Black women leaders, including representatives from Arena Stage, Folger Shakespeare, Woolly Mammoth, and more.


Sara is an enslaved rebel turned Union spy. Sandra is a tenured professor at a modern-day university. Despite living 160 years apart, their parallel struggles unite them across time. Celebrated American playwright, MacArthur Fellow, and two-time Tony Award nominee Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud, Skeleton Crew) forges into brand new modes of storytelling in this breathtakingly fierce examination of history, race, and the women who stand on the frontlines of freedom, no matter the cost.

“I am honored to welcome my dear colleague Dominique Morisseau to Mosaic Theater with this powerful play that offers a fresh reflection on our history and our present,” said Mosaic Theater Artistic Director Reginald L. Douglas. “In Confederates, Dominique asks the universal question of how do you hold on to your heart inside of systems that try to erase your humanity by shining an honest light on the unique resistance and resilience of Black women throughout time. I know that audiences of all backgrounds will feel seen and affirmed by this poignant and funny new play the same way that I do.

“Our production also deepens Mosaic’s tradition of using theater as a catalyst for conversation by welcoming a diverse array of local Black women cultural leaders to share what freedom means to them in post-show discussions,” Douglas added. “It is an honor to welcome some of the many talented women who make our city shine to the Mosaic stage in this new and innovative way.”

“For me, this play is about liberation,” said Director Stori Ayers. “Liberation is the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery or oppression. Confederates is a freedom story. We follow Sara and Sandra on their journeys to liberate themselves from the plantations that they work on. While Sara is fighting for physical freedom from the literal chains that bind her … Sandra is fighting for mental freedom from the microaggressions that are eating away at her soul.”

The press opening for Confederates is scheduled for Sunday, October 29, at 3PM. Members of the media are invited to attend this performance, or any performance thereafter.


Playwright Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle): Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company; Manhattan Theatre Club; Tony nominated), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and National Black Theatre). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre), Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre), and Follow Me to Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the Tony Award-nominated book writer on the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series Shameless. She’s currently developing projects with Netflix, HBO, and A24, and wrote the film adaptation of the documentary STEP for Fox Searchlight. Awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, two OBIE Awards, and the Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship. Dominique was also named one of Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18 and was a recipient of the 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant. On social media @domorisseau (Twitter and Instagram).


Director Stori Ayers is a Storyteller. She’s a New York-based Actor, Director and co-founder of [RARE] Lotus Productions. Originally from Washington, DC, she has a passion for stories that challenge social norms, ignite a spirit of activism, and inspire future generations. Stori directed the world premiere of Confederates by Dominique Morisseau at Signature Theatre in NYC. For this production, she won an Antonyo Award for Best Direction (Off-Broadway) and received a nomination for Outstanding Direction from the Drama League. Other directing credits include: Paradise Blue at Geffen Playhouse; Skeleton Crew and Who All Over There at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati; Blood at the Root at Chautauqua Theatre Company; and Night Vision and Third Grade for Playing On Air. Stori was honored to serve as the Associate Director of Skeleton Crew on Broadway, and, with her love for young artists, Stori has also directed at the University of Michigan, Penn State University, and Mary Baldwin University. As an Assistant Director, Stori assisted Todd Kreidler on the world premiere of August Wilson’s one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned, starring Ruben Santiago-Hudson at Signature Theatre (NYC). She was the 2018 and 2019 Directing Fellow at Chautauqua Theater Company, where she assistant directed Giovanna Sardelli, Laura Kepley, and Sarah Wansley.


Joel Ashur* (Abner/Malik) is thankful to return to Mosaic Theater. His recent credits include Bars and Measures at Mosaic Theater, Good Bones at Studio Theatre, How the Light Gets In at 1st Stage, Nollywood Dreams at Round House Theatre, Sweat at Fulton Theatre, Sister Act at North Carolina Theatre, Lombardi at Actors Theatre of Indiana, and A Friend of a Friend: Tales from The Underground Railroad at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Caro Dubberly* (Missy Sue/Candace; they/them) is excited to make their Mosaic debut in this wild and wonderful play! Regional credits include: Translations and The Father at Studio Theatre, Baby Screams Miracle at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Tiny Beautiful Things at Baltimore Center Stage, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus at The Kennedy Center, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience at Imagination Stage, Hurricane Diane at Avant Bard Theatre, Top Girls and Next to Normal at Keegan Theatre, and Be More Chill at Monumental Theatre Company, among others. Caro serves as the acting teacher for the Musical Theatre Conservatory program at Imagination Stage and directs plays and musicals at Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School. Caro’s musical, A Guide to Modern Possession, was a semi-finalist for the 2023 Eugene O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference. www.carodubberly.com

Valeka Jessica* (Luanne/Jade; she/her) is making her Mosaic Theater debut. DC credits include Detroit ‘67 at Signature Theatre, A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage, Father Comes Home from the Wars at Round House Theatre, and Sunset Baby at Rep Stage. Regional Theatre Credits include Women in Jeopardy at Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Intimate Apparel at Actor’s Express (Suzi Bass Best Supporting Actress Nomination), School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, and I’m a Mother F**king Superstar: So Where Are My Babies? at Synchronicity Theatre. London Theatre Credits include I’m a Mother F**king Superstar: So Where Are My Babies? at The Barbican Centre. Television credits include Power Book IV: Force Season 2 on STARZ. Follow Valeka and all of her fabulosity on Instagram and Tiktok. @valekajessica @blossomingafterdivorce

Nikkole Salter* (Sandra) is hailed by Variety as “thoroughly convincing.” Los Angeles-born, OBIE Award-winning actress and writer Nikkole arrived onto the professional scene with her co-authorship and co-performance of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play In the Continuum. She was most recently in Mud Row at People’s Light and in the Broadway production of The Great Society. As a dramatist, she has written 8 full-length plays, been commissioned for full-length work by 6 institutions, been produced on 3 continents in 5 countries, and been published in 12 international publications. She is scheduled to make her directorial debut at Baltimore Center Stage with Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. She is a chairman of the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship program, and a founding board member of the NJ Play Lab. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Arts Workers United. She received her BFA in theatre from Howard University and her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program. She is currently teaching and serving as the Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts within Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. nikkolesalter.com

Deidre Staples* (Sara; she/her) is thrilled to be working with Mosaic Theater Company. Select credits include: Good Bones (Carmen), John Proctor is the Villain (Nell; Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Production in a Play and Outstanding Ensemble in a Play- Hayes), and The Wolves (#8 U/S) at Studio Theatre; My Body No Choice (“A Rest Stop”) at Arena Stage; Daphne’s Dive (Ruby U/S) at Signature Theatre; The Skin of Our Teeth (Gladys) at Everyman Theatre; Twelfth Night (Maria), The Crucible (Mary Warren), and Around the World in 80 Days (Ms. Aouda) with the National Players Tour 70. She wrote and performed White-ish at the Atlas Intersections Festival in 2020. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Howard University. www.deidrestaples.com

The production team for Confederates includes Nadir Bey (Scenic), Moyenda Kulemeka+ (Costumes), John D. Alexander+ (Lighting), David Lamont Wilson (Sound), Deborah Thomas (Properties), Deja Collins (Projections Designer), Sierra Young (Fights & Intimacy Choreographer), and Chelsea Radigan (Dramaturgy & Casting Director). Shayna O’Neill* is the Production Stage Manager.

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
+ Member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE.


Mosaic expands the concept of its Reflection Series, started in 2022 in conjunction with The Till Trilogy, to year-round programming that provides inroads for deep engagement with the themes of our plays. Through cross-disciplinary, citywide partnerships, Mosaic will produce an innovative series of concerts, readings, panels, and symposiums that spark meaningful reflection and foster conversation about our work.

For Confederates, each performance will be followed by powerful conversations with local Black women leaders, including:

Melanie Adams, Anacostia Community Museum
Victoria Murray Baatin, Kennedy Center
Michelle Banks, Visionaries of Creative Arts
Nicole Brewer, Anti-Racist Theatre
June Crenshaw, Wanda Alston Foundation
Karen Ann Daniels, Folger Shakespeare
Ariel Elizabeth Davis, Arts Administrators of Color
Kimberly Douglas, Woolly Mammoth
Heidi Ellis, HME Consulting & Advocacy
Marion Gray-Hopkins, Coalition of Concerned Mothers
Juanita Hardy, Millennium Arts Salon and Mosaic Theater Board Member
Ashley W. Harris, National Museum of Women in the Arts
Kahina Hayes, Dance Institute of Washington
Dr. Natalie Hopkinson, writer and professor, American University
Kristen Jackson, Woolly Mammoth
Carroll Johnson-Welsh, Mosaic Theater Board Member
LeeAnet Noble, Shakespeare Theatre
Damion Perkins, Mosaic Theater Board Member
Erika Scott, Ford’s Theatre
Hana Sharif, Arena Stage
Angela Tate, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Sharita Thompson, Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
Donna Ratley Washington, Atlas Performing Arts Center Board Member
More to be announced. Visit www.mosaictheater.org for a full list and dates.

In addition, Mosaic will launch a season-long collaboration with Dr. Faedra Chatard Carpenter of American University on Confederates. The partnership will allow the acclaimed professor’s dramaturgy students to work alongside Mosaic’s Artistic Producer Chelsea Radigan on Mosaic’s productions and new play programs, connect with professional theater artists, and learn firsthand about professional theater production processes.


Mosaic Theater aligns its safety protocols with those of the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Masking is recommended, however it is no longer mandatory—masks in theaters and public spaces at the Atlas Performing Arts Center are now optional. For the latest information, visit mosaictheater.org/health-and-safety.


Press Performance

Sunday, October 29, 2023 at 3PM (or any performance thereafter)


$42-$70; available at mosaictheater.org


Sprenger Theatre at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002


Thursdays at 11AM; Thursdays–Fridays at 7PM; Saturdays at 8PM; and Sundays at 3PM

Box Office

The Box Office can be reached at (202) 399-7993 or [email protected] from 11AM–5PM Monday through Friday, or two hours prior to a performance.

Ride-Share Offer

Mosaic is partnering with Alto, the luxury ride-sharing App. Alto is offering $5 off rides to and from Mosaic Theater performances with the code: MOSAICTHEATER. Go to ridealto.com and download the App. To redeem: Download or open the Alto app and add code MOSAICTHEATER under Promotions in the Profile tab. Once added your credit will automatically apply to your rides. Offer valid until 12/31/23. Not an Alto member? New users get a free 14-day trial. With Alto’s membership you will always enjoy up to 30% off ride fares, full access to our fleet during our busiest hours, and the ability to preschedule rides – tap the clock on the booking screen to book your rides to and from the event in advance.


Valet Parking is also available from H Street Parking across the street from the Atlas at 1360 H Street NE. Availability:

Thursday and Friday beginning at 6PM; $25

Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon; $30

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