Phillip Yordan originally wrote this play for a Polish family, but its blunt theme of liberated female sexuality was deemed unsuitable for the white public, so it debuted in 1944 with a black cast. It has since become something of a staple in the African-American theater canon ( it was also made into a film with Sammy Davis Jr. and Eartha Kitt).
Joe Locasta (Robert Clements) has thrown daughter Anna (portrayed with girlish seduction, charm and grainy attitude by Ashlee Olivia), out of his Pennsylvania home for sleeping around, so she takes up the despoiled life of a New York B-girl and prostitute. Her fortunes change when Joe's friend sends his son Rudolf (Dwain A. Perry), into town seeking help with finding the young man a wife. The $800 he brings with him set off a frenzy of conniving by covetous relatives to pair their Anna with Rudolf so they can rip him off, but their scheme amusingly backfires. Notwithstanding its dated moral perspective, Anna Lucasta
is an enjoyable play with elements of sex, love, family dysfunction and happyily-ever-after redemption framed with irony and humor. On balance, the performances are quite good under Ben Guillory's direction. Tom Meleck's bifurcated set piece is handsome and effective.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Nov. 10. Continues through Dec. 9, 2012