Living in the near-literal shadow of Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, life-long partners Arthur and Henry are coming to terms with their differing opinions of marriage on the heels of Florida legalizing same-sex unions. Meanwhile, their son Alex and niece Phaedra try to break free from the vicious cycles of heartbreak and addiction. Kingdom is the story of an entirely LGBTQ African-American family struggling to create a life together and, in the process, capture a little bit of magic of their own.
Alexander, a member of Disney World’s marketing team, is handling legal business at the home of his parents, Arthur and Henry. As he fails to get Arthur to comply to legal matters, Arthur reveals a wedding ring and confesses that he intends to marry Henry, his partner of over 40 years, who is dying from prostate cancer. Alex feigns happiness, and as he wrestles with his own issues, a revelation sinks its hook into him. The news reveals that his ex-partner, Malik Johnson, a pro NFL quarterback, is getting married to a cheerleader for his team.
Confused and irascible, Alex laments the dilemma to his cousin Phaedra (also gay). Phaedra tries to console him, but also plants a seed in his head: Malik may contact him, just to be sure the truth of their nine-year relationship is never revealed. Alex is driven to fuel his alcohol addiction, which is kept between him and Phaedra— or so he thinks. Henry and Arthur return from their daily trip to Disney World and reveal that Malik is in town, and they have invited him to dinner.
Later that night, Malik makes his entrance, welcomed by everyone but Alex, who has been drinking heavily, but no one speaks on the matter. The family reunion turns hectic as Alex unleashes his resentment on Malik. Their argument spills into the yard. Desire and sharp truths are hurled between the two. It is “resolved” by Alex confessing that he would never “out” Malik. Malik, secretly pleased, exits.
The next morning, Arthur makes a grandiloquent gesture to propose to Henry, who refuses to marry. Henry reveals that he cursed Arthur’s deceased ex-wife so he and Arthur could be together. Arthur is hurt beyond measure, enters the house, and ravages the Disney memorabilia. Everything is halted when Alex’s car crashes into the tree outside.
Two days later, Alex returns home from the hospital to discover he has lost his job and the respect of his family. Henry informs Alex that he has not earned enough stripes to justify his recent actions or habit. The news, ever an oracle, informs Alex that a photo of Malik kissing “a man” in a hospital bed has gone viral.
Later that afternoon, Henry confronts Arthur, and the two lay all their cards on the table. In the end, the subject of marriage remains an “if.” Phaedra enters, beaten and bruised, assaulted by her girlfriend’s ex-husband. She screams to the sky, calling out to Mufasa for guidance, wishing that there were a place for her happiness as well.
The next day, Arthur has a heart-to-heart with Arthur, who reveals to him that the core of his issues is shame (over his sexuality) that has not been dealt with. Malik returns, to everyone’s surprise, and reveals that he has been cut from the team and has lost his chance of the Super Bowl.
Alex finds himself at a bridge; Malik asks Alex to come forward and clear the rumors. Alex, knowing that he has been a secret for too long, knowing that shame has brought him to where he is, rejects Malik’s plea. Alex leaves Malik to handle his shame on his own terms.
Alex spirals deep. Henry finds him drunk, and tells Alex that he booked a ticket for him to a rehab facility in Arizona. Alex at last confesses that the reason for his addiction and anger is that he firmly believes that happiness does not belong to him. Henry gives him a pencil and paper, telling him to make a list of all his good and bad, and then to bury it in the earth when he is done. But before Alex can begin, a “matter” must be taken care of.
That night, Henry surprises Arthur by proposing to him at Magic Kingdom. Phaedra, dressed as Mickey from Fantasia, officiates the wedding, and Alex, dressed as Prince Charming, is the crown bearer. “I do’s” are exchanged and sealed with a kiss. The family is greeted by a firework show. They look to the sky and cast all their worries up.
Harris’ groundbreaking world premiere is a lovely, modern rumination on what makes a family.
– Lauren Whalen, Chicago Theater Beat
Henry – (60s-70s): African American. Arthur’s partner of nearly 50 years.
Arthur – (60s-70s): African American. A retired US Army veteran.
Phaedra – (Late 40s): African American. Identifies as an “old school butch lesbian.”
Alexander – (Late 20s): African American. Arthur and Henry’s son. Works for Disney World.
Malik – (Late 20s): African American. A quarterback in the NFL.
Setting: Arthur and Henry’s home: a humble and delicate house located in a working middle-class neighborhood; the Pine Hills neighborhood.
Notes: The house is small, but carries a rich history and warmth. It is Southern— Florida Southern. Artifacts of military awards and decorations, family photos, and Disney memorabilia scatter the house with the organization one would find in a museum. There is a backyard which is outlined by a corroding wooden fence. There is also a large silver trunk that is consumed by rust, a weather-beaten tin garbage can, and a muscular branch that looms from the neighboring yard. An old punching bag hangs from it.
Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups begin at $90.00 per performance for theaters under 150 seats, and rise depending on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.
Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.
An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).
Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.
“Recommended! Kingdom, given an impassioned premiere in director Kanome Jones’s insightful staging for Broken Nose Theatre, reveals [playwright] Harris on the brink of greatness… shows engrossing empathy for all his characters. This is the rare gay play that refuses to judge even the unrepentantly closeted character.” –Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader
“★★★½ Stars! Unmissable… Harris’ groundbreaking world premiere is a lovely, modern rumination on what makes a family." –Lauren Whalen, Chicago Theater Beat
“★★★★ A breath of fresh air." –Darlene Leal, Roosevelt Torch
“A lovely, lovely story… The characters are as vivid and colorful as the Disney merchandise that litters the set, but much more nuanced and real.” –Jessie Bond, Splash Magazine
“Something all of Chicago sorely needs to see right now. When questions about representation and storytelling occur, it is companies like Broken Nose that are willing to produce the intersectional stories that bring out the best in our society.” –Sarah Bowden, Theatre By Numbers
“Opens the doors to many discussions needing to be had about black gay men and the scarcity of affection… A beautiful message to experience…” –Phillip Lewis, PerformInk
“[A show with] Amazing representation that you don’t see onstage…” –Scott Duff, Out Chicago Radio
An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date, unless other arrangements have been made in advance with your Stage Rights Licensing Representative.
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for Kingdom consists of:
13 Production Scripts / $160.00 (shipping included)
Production Scripts for Plays are professionally printed and bound with a full-color cover.
You will have the option to purchase additional Production Scripts at a discounted rate when you complete your Licensing Agreement.
Official Logo Pack Now Included! To help you promote your show, Stage Rights now includes a logo pack with your license. The logo pack includes high resolution versions (both color and black and white) of our show logo. The logo is the portion of the artwork with the title of the show. The surrounding artwork is also available for an additional fee.
Stage Manager’s Script – Printed on standard 8.5” x 11” 3-hole-punched paper, with the same page numbers and text as the Printed Production Scripts, but with more space on the page for notes and cues.