brownsville song (b-side for tray)

By Kimber Lee

Directed and Choreographed by Paige Hernandez

Life in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn can feel predictable, and inevitable, but Tray has a way out. Then, when a senseless act of violence cuts his life short, his family must confront their grief and find a way to move forward. Kimber Lee’s hopeful drama shifts between memory and reality, and bids that we examine the personal pain beyond the headlines.

Praise for brownsville song (b-side for tray):

“Ms. Lee’s language is vivid and rhythmic…[and] it argues persuasively against treating the next neighborhood death as just one more sad statistic.” – The New York Times


Run Time:
90 minutes with no intermission

Ticket Prices:

Adult – $40
(no online processing fees at all)

Senior/Student/Military – $30
(no online processing fees at all)

*all previews are half price.

Radical Neighboring Initiative:
Name Your Own Price tickets are available for each performance to make sure that the price of a ticket does not stop anyone from seeing live theater.  To claim a ticket under the program just show up at the Box Office one hour before the show and there will be a minimum of 10 Name Your Own Price tickets available.


brownsville song (b-side for tray) feature: hear from the artists

Brownsvill video link








Humana Festival of New Plays: Kimber Lee interview

Kiber Lee Interview copy










Lena – Lolita Marie
Tray –
Sideeq Heard
Devine –
Kita Grayson
Regina Aquino*
Junior –
Avery Collins

*Member Actor’s Equity Association


Playwright – Kimber Lee

Director/Choreographer – Paige Hernandez
Scenic/Costume Designer –
Deb Sivigny^
Lighting/Sound Designer –
William K. D’Eugenio
Original Music/Composer –
Nick tha 1da
Properties and Set Dressing –
Patti Kalil
Stage Manager –
Kelsey Jenkins

^Member United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829


“Hernandez jazzes up the staging with a few choreographed touches, including an adorable weeping-willow dance for Devine. Off and on throughout the show, original music by the composer known as Nick tha 1da (“The Hip-Hop Children’s Trilogy,” etc.) evokes the liveliness and hipness of a big-city community. It all helps round out our sense of Tray’s distinctive life. By the time the play ends, we feel his death as a painful loss.”The Washington Post

“Brownsville Song (b-side for tray) refutes dangerous assumptions about the “inevitability” of death in poor, urban neighborhoods by showing the incredible magnitude of one life lost. It’s a desperately needed conversation in U.S. cities, where shocking inequality remains starkly divided along racial lines, and often separated by a mere few blocks. Emotionally potent, heartily acted, and boldly convicting, this production sings on a human frequency that everyone can hear.”Broadway World

“The onslaught outside of gun violence and senseless killings could easily make this play feel too timely, too topical, too true to life. But what Theater Alliance achieves with Kimber Lee’s brownsville song (b-side for tray)  is something else entirely. When you see it you’ll feel it. It’s hope to hold on tight to.”DC Metro Theater Arts

“For most of the show, we see Tray trying to express himself in his college scholarship essay. It’s a clever framing device that takes on a greater significance when it circles back to question: how can we see the worth of an entire life in a snapshot? What can you say about a boy who died? brownsville doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but the life of Tray suggests one.”DCist

“Theater Alliance’s brownsville song (b-side for tray) offers a small glimmer of hope in this broken world.  Although it tells of how a young man’s promising life is cut short by gang violence, brownsville song is ultimately a story of empathy, forgiveness, and finding strength in coming together…This is an important play, and I applaud Theater Alliance for bringing it at a time it’s needed most.”DC Theatre Scene

Praise for previous productions:

“argues persuasively against treating the next neighborhood death as just one more sad statistic.” — The New York Times

“this is the right play at the right moment…asks questions worth asking: What do we do with all the dead young men of color and the ripples their absence leaves behind? brownsville song (b-side for tray) shows just how much those lost lives matter.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

“The home of “brownsville song” is Brooklyn, but almost any American city can recognize the story of the young person who dies after being caught in the crossfire of crime in an impoverished African-American neighborhood.” — Courier-Journal, Louisville