Love and forgiveness: 'Chicken and Biscuits' takes spotlight in must-see Wayne State University theatre production

Wayne State University theatre students (left to right) Geshawna Francis, Faith May, Jordan Patterson and Jenea Johnson perform in the production of Douglas Lyons' "Chicken and Biscuits."

Take a glimpse into loss and how one family begins to move on, as the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance invites audiences to witness the journey of the Jenkins family.

Audiences will be transfixed by playwright Douglas Lyons’ “Chicken and Biscuits” — performing March 22-30 on Wayne State University’s Hilberry Gateway STAGE — as they watch the Jenkins’ shenanigans unfold while laying the family’s patriarch to rest.

Follow along with prim and proper Baneatta; her rational and calm husband, Reginald; and Baneatta’s spirited and feisty sister, Beverly; along with their children, Kenny, Simone, and La’Trice. As rivaling sisters, Baneatta and Beverly must navigate the challenges and tensions that arise during the funeral.

But underneath the surface is a secret Baneatta struggles to keep hidden about their deceased father, as the sisters must deal with the shocking revelation that could either bring them closer or tear them apart.

The cast features WSU students from the undergraduate theatre program, all led under the direction of Billicia Charnelle Hines, associate dean in the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. “It is such a joy to be able to work with these phenomenal students to bring this product to life,” said Hines.

Jaela Beeks (left) and Jesse Boyd-Williams rehearse their roles as Baneatta and Reginald Marbry, respectively, in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance's production of "Chicken and Biscuits."

Assisting Hines in directing the production is fourth year B.F.A. acting student Jo Jackson. “The play reminds us that our Black women carry such heavy weight,” Jackson said.

“Chicken and Biscuits” explores themes of love, forgiveness and healing through the lens of a Black family's comedic and emotionally complex dynamics. It was one of seven plays produced on Broadway in the 2021 season by a Black playwright and the second most produced Black play performed nationwide in 2022-2023.

Audiences are also invited to join the cast and creatives following the March 27 matinee for a curated talkback about the process of crafting this piece.

See all dates, times and purchase tickets online or call the Hilberry Gateway box office at (313) 577-2972.

For media inquiries:
Brandon Graves,, (313) 577-3010

About the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts

The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts is home to today’s aspiring artists, performers, technicians, scholars, dancers, debaters, entrepreneurs, and communication professionals who all represent the college’s legacy of excellence in our respective fields. The college serves students majoring in 17 undergraduate programs, 10 graduate programs and three graduate certificates through its departments: the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art, Art History and Design, the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, and the departments of communication and music. From debate to dance, jazz to journalism, and fashion design to center stage, our students create captivating performances, inspire artistic and academic excellence, and conduct innovative research on behalf of our Detroit community.

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 24,000 students. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about Wayne State University, visit

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