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For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf

From 95 member  reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging

About the show

Filled with passion, humor, and raw honesty, playwright/poet Ntozake Shange’s form-changing choreopoem tells the stories of seven women of color using poetry, song, and movement.  More…

From the show:

A groundbreaking work in modern American theater, FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF, returns to The Public for the first time since it premiered in 1976, before its breakthrough run on Broadway.

Filled with passion, humor, and raw honesty, legendary playwright/poet Ntozake Shange’s form-changing choreopoem tells the stories of seven women of color using poetry, song, and movement. With unflinching honesty and emotion, each woman voices her survival story of having to exist in a world shaped by sexism and racism.

Obie Award winner Leah C. Gardiner (Born Bad, generations, If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka) directs this seminal work that speaks to our world today about women’s struggles, strength, desires, resilience, and the sanctified magic of love and possibility.

Member Reviews (95)


Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging
Avg Score

Slow, Intense, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You enjoy shows with strong female characters and heavy themes. Great performances from the whole cast.

Don't see it if Told through a series of monologues, some poetic language. If you have a hard time following you may want to watch the movie beforehand.

Absorbing, Slow, Glorious, Intense, Great acting

See it if You want to be carried away by seven absorbing paths on a journey that at times is joyous while other times heartbreaking. Intriguing.

Don't see it if You want a traditional play with a linear plot. This is more of an emotional journey than a straight forward story.

Also A little slow getting there but we’ll worth it.

Thought-provoking, Energetic, Dated, Colorful

See it if you want to see a rhythmic, spirited (albeit intense, at times) revival of a seminal work of female empowerment, told through poetry & dance

Don't see it if u prefer conventional storytelling & plot-based drama; u expect this 1970s work to feel less dated in the #metoo & #blacklivesmatters era.

Edgy, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if Gardiner's fluid staging, Brown's robust choreo & Chang's lighting provide an evocative setting for these "girls" & their gritty journeys

Don't see it if The dramatic in the round staging while potent causes audibility problems Despite Shange's poetics & fine ensemble, writing can go slack

Some good performances, Occasionally listless, Colorful, Dated

See it if you’d like to see an adequate production of a mid-1970s theater milestone.

Don't see it if you are expecting that this classic poetic dance-play about race & gender would feel relevant in the age of Black Lives Matter & #MeToo.

Also I’m glad for the chance to experience this mid-1970s theatrical & cult... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Dated, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if Chunky rainbow pop-beaded assembly of movement-monologue reflecting the black femme experience stemming from putdowns.

Don't see it if Not diminishing the original impact,the revival is lessened by forward social accomplishment.Still, it's poetic buffering of harsh realities

Dynamic revival of legendary early feminist show about travails of black women/benefits of sisterhood; but shows its age

See it if sexy propulsive dancing by 7 sensational dancers; tells vivid individual stories of black women caged by patriarchal society

Don't see it if stories told via DENSE poetry; individual stories not well integrated; black feminism moved past this show’s focus on black male oppression

Slow, Inconsistent performances, Overlong, Confusing, Dated

See it if you have never seen a version of this classic play from the 1970s. Doesn't quite hold up in the days of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.

Don't see it if you like plays with strong plots and scenery. This one has poems, songs, and dance—a choreopoem. It does not have any scenery.

Also One major problem is that if you are seated on stage, you are treated ... Read more Read less

Beautiful, Thought-provoking, Intense, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You want to see an all female cast deal with heavy themes with grace and beauty. Thought provoking and heartbreaking. Great movement.

Don't see it if You want a traditional play with a linear plot. More monologue and movement than plot driven play. You want light and fluffy.

Powerful, Great writing, Great staging, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if you love cutting edge theatre.Best version of this seminal show I've ever seen.Powerful w/o being preachy.Moving w/o being trite.Brilliant

Don't see it if you want light & fluffy.This is brilliantly written,directed & performed.You will not forget the message or the show.This one stays with you

Thought-provoking, Powerful, Intense, Confusing, Great writing

See it if Powerful words, powerful performances. The monologue-poems were gripping. Heart-breaking at times.

Don't see it if If you prefer your plays to be linear, and tell one story, rather than lots of little tales leading to an overall theme.

Great singing, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy watching a production about the experience of minority women set to poetry, song and dance

Don't see it if You prefer traditional plays with dialogue

Moving, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great performances, Absorbing

See it if unusual theatrical experience, lyrical & poetic monologues in between (and sometimes together with) dance movements; appreciate choreography

Don't see it if earlier monologues were hard to understand either because of way they projected or because story hard to follow.

Also With and between the monologues the movements showed great female cama... Read more Read less

Some actors hard to understand, Intense, Great writing for its time, Beautiful, energetic staging, Entertaining

See it if Gorgeous, exuberant panoply of black women’s experiences told through spoken & sung words & dance. Cast of talented actors.

Don't see it if Unfortunately, what was ground-breaking a generation ago - telling the story of marginalized people - drifts into rueful nostalgia today.


See it if Poetry of struggles, esp. under men, of Black women sprinkled with dance and song. Some vignettes are stronger than others.

Don't see it if No real plot but some poems have mini-plots. Some parts get slow and confusing.

Also Diversity: all Black female cast and band! One disabled who communicat... Read more Read less

Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a beautiful production of a ground breaking play written about the lives of black women. The movement onstage was exquisite.

Don't see it if If you need more action or don’t have the patience to listen to the profound telling of these women’s stories.

Also I enjoyed watching all the actors but it was a particular treat to see... Read more Read less

Poetry is often challenging, Somewhat uneven material, Great choreography

See it if You’re up for something different. The poetic language can be a challenge if you’re more used to something more literal.

Don't see it if You’re expecting a straight narrative.

Also I sat on stage and had a problem with the sound design. Some of the te... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Performance art/poetry reading, Slow, Great acting, Dated

See it if you want thoughtfully staged & evocative poetry about lives/loves of African-American women. Covers familiar ground since 1970s premiere.

Don't see it if you want a narrative or linear story. Perhaps 20% is compelling tales; the rest is more inchoate performance art. Strong acting & singing.

Slow beginning that ultimately delivers, Dated, but an important classic, Compelling acting, singing, and movement, Strong black women’s voices, Choreopoem

See it if You have always wanted to see this classic 70s piece. Appreciate powerful performances that evoke the challenges/power of Black women.

Don't see it if Are not a fan of poetry or dance -- this is an ensemble piece of emotive choreographed poetry.

Not great direction, Uneven, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great acting

See it if you want to see a solid but uneven production of this brilliant classic work. The cast is fantastic, and the text really holds up.

Don't see it if you want directorial choices that best highlight the text itself. I found a number of the staging and structural choices confusing and

Also distracting from the text itself.

Thought-provoking, Profound, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a seminal work on the experience(s) and multitudes of being a black woman in America.

Don't see it if you don't like abstract pieces, monologues, or non linear material.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Excruciating, Dated, Confusing

See it if you're interested in poetic monologues only tenuously related to one another. Moving performances and well-staged, but all over the place.

Don't see it if you're looking for Aristotelian theater with a cast of characters and narrative arc. There is storytelling, but no beginning/middle/end.

Exquisite, Resonant, Profound, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Exquisitely moving “choreopoem” as Shange herself describes it - a beautiful collage of poems, dances and music celebrating these lives

Don't see it if More like a collage than a straight narrative but it is as moving and powerful as it was ok when it first premiered; expressionistic&lovely

Lyrical, Storytelling

See it if you are okay with non-narrative, thematically tied vignettes.

Don't see it if you must see narrative.

Also it would be a shame to miss your opportunity to hear Sasha Allen's wor... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a different type of show with monologues, song, and dance, by talented actors with important things to say.

Don't see it if You need elaborate staging, or prefer shows with clear linear plots.

October 22nd, 2019
CRITIC’S PICK "Ntozake Shange’s Women Endure: The director Leah C. Gardiner delivers a warm and inspiriting revival of the landmark poetic drama, with a gloriously interdependent cast."
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October 22nd, 2019
4/5 Stars "The incantation begins with Ntozake Shange's singular text, first performed at the Public in 1976 and described as a 'choreopoem' by its creator. Shange's ingenious fusion of language, music and movement conjures one soul-stirring revelation after the next."
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October 22nd, 2019
"43 Years on, 'for colored girls…' Comes Alive at the Public Again"
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October 31st, 2019
"Choreopoetry in Motion Ntozake Shange’s work about seven young women of color who reflect on their lives and problematic prospects gets a revival at the Public."
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