MV on Broadway

While it’s well known that stars of stage and screen visit the Island, fewer people are aware that Martha’s Vineyard took its own star turn on Broadway this past winter. Welcome to the summer home of the LeVays, an affluent African American family whose stately home is situated in a town specified as “not Oak Bluffs.” Lydia R. Diamond set her Tony Award–nominated play Stick Fly, which ran from December through February at the Cort Theater in New York City, on the Vineyard in the year 1975. The play, with music by pop-R&B singer Alicia Keyes, who was also one of the play’s producers, explores an emotionally stormy weekend at the LeVays’ vacation home.

Lydia, who first visited the Island eight years ago, explains, “I knew that the play needed to be set on the Vineyard while writing it. I had done my research and read so much about the long history of African Americans on the Vineyard.” So why not Oak Bluffs, long established as a favorite vacation destination for blacks in America? “It was important that the LeVays’ family history is different,” says Lydia. As for her own thoughts about Oak Bluffs: “I feel a sense of belonging there that I don’t think I’ve ever felt anywhere in America.”