Nabeehah Azeez, a junior majoring in criminology and criminal justice, and Jason Little, a senior majoring in communications, portray Esther and George, respectively, in UMSL's upcoming production of "Intimate Apparel," a play by awarding-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. (Photo by Niyi Coker)

The next production of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Media Studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis will continue an effort to highlight acclaimed women writers of color.

Coinciding with the start of African American History Month, UMSL will present “Intimate Apparel,” a play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, in seven performances between Jan. 27 and Feb. 4. Set in New York City in 1905, “Intimate Apparel” follows Esther, an African American seamstress who crafts beautiful lingerie for a range of clients, from the ladies of the Upper East Side of Manhattan to the prostitutes of the infamous Tenderloin District.

With the vivid characters that inhabit the story, Nottage tells a tale of self-discovery, acceptance and independence. Niyi Coker, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of African/African American Studies at UMSL, will direct.

“Assistant Professor Felia Davenport heads the department play selection committee,” Coker said. “She spearheaded the selection of this play, recommending it to the committee for its unique style, and to continue the tradition of producing the works of black female writers, especially those who have been recognized with Pulitzer Prizes as writers, to expose our students and institution to the work of these brilliant writers.”

Nottage received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005, and a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2007. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 for her play, “Ruined.” “Intimate Apparel” won the 2004 Steinberg New Play Award, presented by The American Theatre Critics Association.

Nottage holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree from the Yale University School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. Her plays have been produced throughout the U.S. and Europe at such venues as the Second Stage Theatre in New York, the Tricycle Theatre in London and the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.

“Intimate Apparel” will be performed Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 1-4 in the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. All performances are at 7:30 p.m., with exception of Jan. 29, which will be at 3 p.m.

The Touhill is located on UMSL’s North Campus, 1 University Blvd. in St. Louis County (63121). Tickets are $5 for UMSL students, $10 for general admission. Call 314-516-4949 or visit for more information.

Jack Crosby

Jack Crosby

Jack Crosby Senior Information Specialist 440 Woods Hall University of Missouri-St. Louis One University Boulevard St. Louis, Missouri 63121
Eye on UMSL: Building blocks

Members of the Spring 2024 graduating class of the University of Missouri–St. Louis play Jenga during the annual New Grad Bash on Thursday.