CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University Theatre will present the West Coast premiere of Elizabeth Kuti's historical drama, "The Sugar Wife," March 1-3 and March 9-10, beginning at 7:30 p.m., and at a matinee performance on March 11 beginning at 2 p.m.

Set in Dublin's Quaker community in the mid-1800s, the play reveals the story of Hannah and Samuel Tewkley, who invite freed slave Sarah Worth and her companion Alfred into their home as Sarah tours on the abolitionist speaking circuit.  Samuel runs a thriving tea and coffee shop in Dublin and faces the consequences of the infamous sugar trade that used slave labor.

The play grapples with ethical issues of business, money and morality. Charlotte Headrick, director of "The Sugar Wife," is an admirer of Kuti's work.

"There is romance, intrigue, and the social relevance of the question of how we make our money," Headrick said. "Where is the morality? It is fast-moving and has some real moments of humor. But this is a drama that should make audiences debate the actions of these characters."

Like Kuti's other plays, "The Sugar Wife" blends fictional characters with historical reality. OSU Theatre will host a post-show discussion for audiences on March 10 that will include Headrick and Robert Thompson, associate professor of ethnic studies at OSU.

The OSU student cast includes Richelle Jean-Bart, Nicole Snyder, Rowan Russell, Michael Beaton, Alexandra Shireman, Anthony O'Hare, and Deborah Shapiro. Student Jordyn Patton serves as assistant director. OSU Theatre faculty member George Caldwell is the scenic designer and student Abbey Pasquini is the costume designer.

The play will be held on the Withycombe Main Stage. Tickets are $12 for general, $10 seniors, $8 student/youth and $5 for OSU students and can be obtained at or by calling 541-737-2784.

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Charlotte Headrick, 541-737-4918