Unpacking in P’Town

Runs Mar 1Mar 31, 2024
By Jewelle Gomez
Directed by Kimberly Ridgeway

Wistful | Witty | Kindred Spirits

Every summer, former vaudevillians Buster, Lydia, Minty, and Scottie reunite in Provincetown to drink, dance, and forget about the real world. But this year is different. It’s 1959, the fight for Civil Rights is heating up, and a restlessness hangs heavy in the humid air. In between the reminiscing, this chosen family is forced to face changes they’ve been hiding from for so long. Completing the Word and Music trilogy by LAMBDA Literary Award winner Jewelle Gomez, Unpacking in P’town is a world premiere portrait of the queer artists of color who paved the way for others to live out loud.

Run time: About 2 hours (includes one intermission)  l  Read the show program here.
Fees included in all ticket prices.

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Presented in Partnership with African American Arts and Culture Complex and Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project.
Plan your visit with transportation tips, health & safety notes, seat maps and more.

  • NCTC’s Founding Artistic Director Ed Decker & Playwright Jewelle Gomez have worked together for more than a decade. Read where it all began here.
  • Legendary Playwright Jewelle Gomez (The Gilda Stories, Waiting for Giovanni, Leaving the Blues) has crafted a poignant portrait of four lifelong friends standing on the precipice of both personal and national change. Learn more about Jewelle’s incredible life and prolific body of work in the documentary Jewelle: A Just Vision
  • This World Premiere Commission offers the perfect blend of historical fiction and magical realism
  • You’ll want to run away to Provincetown with this tightly-knit found family
  • We’ve curated the perfect evening for you with a wide selection of pre-show events you can explore below

“Do not miss this jewel by Jewelle…full of fun and frolic as well as dilemma and drama“ – Theatre Eddys

“This beach love story for friends and spirits is a must see”VMedia

“The five top-notch actors bring humanity and love to this sweet, lyrical work” Theatrius

“Gomez is a real storyteller, maybe one of our best” – Bay Area Reporter

“Gomez deserves the highest praise” – Queer Cultural Center

  • Mar 1 – 31, 2024: Full run
  • Mar 1 – 8: Pay-what-you-wish Previews
  • Mar 6, 13, 20, and 27: Enjoy live music from pianist Dee Spencer from 6:30-7:30pm on Wednesday nights
  • Mar 7: Special Book Giveaway from the Hormel LGBTQIA Center pre-show
  • Mar 8: Pre-show chat at 7:30pm with playwright Jewelle Gomez & NCTC Founding Artistic Director Ed Decker
  • Mar 9: Opening Night
  • Mar 14: Enhanced Safety Performance
  • Mar 15: Pre-show chat at 7:30pm with playwright Jewelle Gomez & Director Kimberly Ridgeway
  • Mar 16: Legendary LGBTQ+ bookstore Fabulousa joins NCTC preshow from 7-8pm with Jewelle Gomez books for purchase that Jewelle herself will sign this night
  • Mar 17:
  • Mar 29: Pre-show chat at 7:30pm with playwright Jewelle Gomez & our partners at African American Arts & Culture Complex

Meet the artist behind Wednesday Nights Live Music Pre-show!

Dianthe “Dee” Spencer is a Professor of Theatre and Dance and former Director of
the School of Music at San Francisco State University where she founded the jazz
studies undergraduate degree program in 1990. She is past director of the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship Award combo for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA), GRAMMY All-Star National High School Jazz Combo and the SFJAZZ All-Star High School Ensemble. The SFJAZZ ensemble was a finalist at the Essentially Ellington Competition for Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2002 and 2003. Dee served as a performer and adjudicator/clinician at Walt Disney World’s 2010 Jazz Celebration. As a keyboardist, Dee has recorded with former Tower of Power vocalist Lenny Williams and Aretha Franklin’s favorite drummer Bernard “Pretty” Perdie. She was a featured performer at the Beijing, Cork, Tasmanian, and Dresden International Jazz Festivals. In various settings, Dee has performed with jazz greats Jimmy Scott, Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Branford Marsalis, John Handy, Greg Osby, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Regina Carter and R&B sensation LEDISI. Her album “Tranquility” was released in August 2018.

Jewelle Gomez (Playwright, Cabo Verdean/Ioway/Wampanoag, pronouns: she/her) is a novelist, poet, and playwright. She is the author of seven books including the double Lambda Literary Award-winning, Black lesbian vampire novel, The Gilda Stories. Waiting for Giovanni, her play about James Baldwin, and Leaving the Blues, about Alberta Hunter, were commissioned and premiered at NCTC. She has written for numerous publications including The Village Voice, MS Magazine, The Advocate, San Francisco Chronicle, and Black Scholar.


Kimberly Ridgeway (Director, pronouns: she/her) is a director, actor, playwright, and producer. Kimberly has directed projects locally for Altarena Playhouse, African American Shakespeare Company, Contra Costa Civic Theatre, Dragon Productions Theatre Company, Ubuntu Theatre Project, Bay Area Performing Arts Collective, Bay Area Drama Company, SF Playhouse, Town Hall Theatre, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, SF Playground, Theatre Rhinoceros, 3Girls Theatre and TheatreFirst. She has also directed projects for Three Willows Theatre (TX), National Black Theatre (NY), and Spokane Civic Theatre (WA). Kimberly wrote, produced and directed the full-length stage plays Prospect Place, Heavy Burdens, No More Secrets, The ConfessionThe Gigolo Chronicles, and The Drowning Pool.  Some of Kimberly’s notable acting roles include The Revolutionists, The Piano Lesson, Colman Domingo’s DOT, and her award-winning portrayal of Camae in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. Kim can be found on Instagram @khaoss15 and NPX at: https://newplayexchange.org/users/58341/kimberly-ridgeway


Awele (ah WAY lay) (pronouns: she/her)
Stephen Kanaski (pronouns: he/they)
Desiree Rogers* (pronouns: she/her)
Minty * The Actor appears through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Matt Weimer (pronouns: he/him)
ShawnJ West (pronouns: he/him)

Season Producers: Michael Golden & Michael Levy, Robert Holgate, Lowell Kimble, Ted Tucker
Executive Producers: Gary Demyen & Les Partridge, Alan Mattacola, Bev Scott & Courtney, Jim Taul & Dave Hopmann
Producers: Annie Fisher, Maurice Kelly & Eric Jansen, Deb Mosk & Debra Shapiro, Ken Prag & Steve Collins