After graduating from drama school in Chicago, Charlayne Woodard, a young African-American woman, eagerly packs her bags and heads for New York City to live with her boyfriend and pursue an acting career. Her family is concerned about this move—to say the least. "That child is free till she fool," says Grandmama. "Free enough to do any foolish thing that jump into her mind. My Lord, that's too free." Although Charlayne imagines she will be living in a fabulous East Side apartment, she finds herself in a tiny fifth-floor walk-up with a bathtub in the kitchen. Unfazed, she sets out to have a career as a "serious actor." "I came to New York with five monologues: Sophocles, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, and Ntozake Shange." Instead, she's cast in the original company of the hit Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin'. IN REAL LIFE cannily chronicles Charlayne's initial seduction into the thrills of stopping a show as well as the physical and emotional price of sustaining the energy to do so night after night. Among the many colorful characters that people Charlayne's world is a charismatic Rastafarian playwright whose descent into drugs runs parallel with Charlayne's climb to success. IN REAL LIFE explores what happens, in the words of Langston Hughes, to "a dream deferred."
"Luminous…" —NY Times. "The exuberant, fiercely talented Charlayne Woodard proves herself a gifted storyteller." —NY Newsday. "Positively symphonic…Life affirming…Hugely enjoyable…" —LA Times. "First Woodard held us in the palm of her artful hand; then she blew us away." —Hollywood Reporter. "A joyous affair…" —Associated Press. "Hilarity reigns…" —Seattle Post Intelligencer.