'Zora Returns' play at Theatreworks

Zora Neale Hurston subject of one-woman play staring Antonia Badon

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A play about famous writer Zora Neale Hurston is a true character study — and not just of the author herself.

Actress Antonia Badon chronicles the life of the trailblazing writer in her one-woman show “Zora Returns” by transforming herself into the author — as well as 15 different men and women who played a role in Hurston’s life.

“Zora is an encouraging play that allows its audience to go on a journey that has forever shaped our history,” said Badon, whose show opens at Theatreworks in Downtown on May 3.

Hurston moved to Harlem from Florida in 1925 with $1.50 in her pocket and after becoming one the first black woman to study at Barnard College and Columbia University, emerged as one of the pioneers of a Harlem Renaissance.

In “Zora Returns,” Badon inhabits the people who shaped Hurston, telling the story of the writer’s uneasy childhood confronting racial discrimination and her growth as a poet, folklorist, artist, and anthropologist, who wove her narratives through the voices of other African Americans.

“With the gift or story-telling and the ability to soar beyond the highest of heights, Zora reached her apex,” said Badon.

“Zora Returns” at Theatreworks Vorhees Theatre [186 Jay St. between Nassau Street and High Street, downtown Brooklyn (718) 260–5588] May 3–4. 2 pm and 8 pm. May 5, 2 pm. Free. Visit

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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