by Charles White

Featured image for “Hutch”



Black cabaret singer Leslie Hutchinson wants to leave the nightclub act he performs with his partner, Opal Cooper, so he can play Othello in a 1930 London production. But his chance at the role is undermined by the presence of a more famous friend, and an interracial sex scandal threatens his career.




Charles White is a founding member of Harlem Playwrights 21, a not-for-profit playwriting workshop which has been operating since 2011. His most recent play, Unentitled, was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company and premiered in July 2023 at 59E59 Theaters. Gong Lum’s Legacy was produced off-Broadway in March 2022 by New Federal Theatre in conjunction with The Peccadillo Theater Company. Another play, Succession, premiered at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC in August 2022 and was produced again by Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis, TN in February 2024. Charles has developed his work in New Federal Theatre’s Playwriting Workshop under the tutelage of playwrights Michael D. Dinwiddie, Kermit Frazier, the late P.J. Gibson, Laurence Holder, Cassandra Medley and Richard Wesley. He is a graduate of Princeton University, where he participated in the Creative Writing Program under the late author, Wilfrid Sheed, and NYU Law School.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

2009-10. I realized it after I enrolled in the playwriting program at New Federal Theatre.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

I stumbled on a few articles about the protagonist, Leslie Hutchinson, and I subsequently read a biography and did additional research.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Seeking and dramatizing untold stories.


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

August Wilson, Tracy Letts, Stephen Adly Guirgis.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I went to a New England boarding school for four years.


What are some of your favorite plays?

The Piano Lesson, August: Osage County, The Motherfucker With the Hat, A Soldier’s Play, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Importance of Being Earnest.


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

I’m working on a play that explores class privilege.