The White Card
A.R.T. Season
February 24 - April 1, 2018
The White Card
"The world premiere of Claudia Rankine's The White Card is a must-see event for Boston theater."
EDGE Media
"Playwright and poet Claudia Rankine steps boldly into the breach to begin a conversation and challenges us to stay in the room."
Broadway World

ArtsEmerson Presents
the American Repertory Theater Production
By Claudia Rankine
Directed by Diane Paulus
Dramaturgy P. Carl

In The White Card, a conversation at a dinner party thrown by Virginia and Charles, an influential Manhattan couple, for up-and-coming artist Charlotte raises questions about what—and who—is actually on display. Claudia Rankine’s 2014 New York Times best-selling Citizen: An American Lyric unpacked the insidious ways in which racism manifests itself in everyday situations. Now, this world-premiere play poses the question, “Can American society progress if whiteness stays invisible?”

The cast includes Karen Pittman (Broadway’s Good People and Passing Strange) as Charlotte, Daniel Gerroll (Broadway’s Enchanted April and Shadowlands at Off-Broadway’s Acorn Theater) as Charles, Patricia Kalember (Broadway’s Don’t Dress for Dinner and Losing Louie) as Virginia, Jim Poulos (Broadway’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and RENT) as Eric, and Colton Ryan (Dear Evan Hansen) as Alex.

The White Card will utilize non-traditional seating at the Emerson Paramount Center's Robert J. Orchard Stage. Patrons will be assigned specific seating locations at a later date.

Following performances of The White Card, audiences are invited to remain in the theater for Act II, a facilitated conversation about the play. Click here to learn more about Act II and associated initiatives.

Looking for more spaces to continue the conversation or take action? This resource list has some suggestions about resources to engage and local organizations to connect with following the play. 

Creative team
Playwright Claudia Rankine
Director Diane Paulus
Dramaturgy P. Carl
Scenic Design Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Design

Emilio Sosa

Lighting Design Steven Strawbridge
Sound Design Will Pickens
Projection Design Peter Nigrini
Casting Stephen Kopel, C.S.A.
Associate Director Carl Cofield
Production Stage Manager Sharika Niles
Virginia Patricia Kalember
Eric Jim Poulos
Charles Daniel Gerroll
Charlotte Karen Pittman
Alex Colton Ryan
Additional staff
Assistant Stage Manager Alex Eberle
Assistant Director Halle Morse
Assistant Scenic Designer

Claire Deliso

Assistant Costume Designer

Heather Stanley

Assistant Lighting Designer

Zach Molin

Projections Programmer

Seaghan McKay

Front of House Mixer

Justin Vining

A.R.T. Institute Production Dramaturg

Rebecca Curran

Act II Facilitator Trainer Stacy Blake-Beard
Act II Facilitators Bethany M. Allen, Betsy Bard, Kevin Becerra, Lizzy Cooper Davis, Robert Duffley, Ashley Herring, Trina Jackson, Kathy McDonough, James Montaño, Brenna Nicely, Destiny J. Polk, Leslie Sterling, Aba Taylor, Maureen White
Production Assistant

Juliet Mazer-Schmidt

Substitute Production Stage Manager (March 20 - April 1) Tareena D. Wimbish
Substitute Assistant Stage Manager (March 13 - April 1)

Nicole Catalano

For Virginia: Laura Yumi Snell
For Eric: Michael Scott Gomez, Ryan Rhue
For Charles: Rafael Marinho, Nathaniel Weiss
For Charlotte: Adobuere Ebiama, Me'Lisa Sellers, Erin Nicole Washington
For Alex: Joel Derby, Jesse Charles Friedman

We chatted with Pittman about everything from her recent work on the upcoming second season of Marvel’s Luke Cage series on Netflix, to what it means to talk race in Boston.  More

"In The White Card," said Jared, "Rankine deals us an engrossing, dispiriting and raw examination of the fault lines between the races. The confrontations onstage are likely to land in our own conscious leaving much to reconcile. It’s not often that theater, as a looking glass, is this crystal clear." More

Claudia Rankine’s play is particularly poignant in the Boston setting. The A.R.T. and ArtsEmerson audiences are primarily white. The house lights are kept on throughout the show because the audience is a crucial part of the performance. The White Card holds a mirror up to its patrons and asks, ‘Is this you?’ More

Kalember, 61, is currently in Boston in the American Repertory Theater production of The White Card on the Robert J. Orchard Stage in the Paramount Center through April 1. The play, written by Claudia Rankine and directed by Diane Paulus, examines racism in a unique way. “This show is very polarizing, but very important,” said Kalember, whose husband, actor Daniel Gerroll, is also in the play. Born in Schenectady, N.Y., Kalember was raised in Louisville, Westport, Conn., and Detroit. She and Gerroll, who have three adult children and two grandchildren, live in Weston, Conn. We caught up with Kalember to talk about all things travel. More

It is accepted wisdom that “Seeing is believing,” and seeing is precisely what The White Card requires: seeing what is assumed and unexamined, namely the white card which gives those who have it a hidden pass, and those who don’t, provocation. The White Card got under my skin. It stages a very difficult conversation about racism and the unconscious white bias which perpetuates it, and culminates in a jolting moment of recognition which reveals the lens through which white culture looks– and does not see. More

Ms. Rankine has given us a challenging, timely, and necessary work that deserves both our undivided attention and praise. More

It's an intense and achingly relevant play...Rankine observes the details of white complacency with piercing vision. No white audience member can depart the experience able to say he or she has never been challenged to confront the meaning of white privilege, and in that sense the play is clearly successful. More

By the end of the play, there is a sense that the characters have been altered by their raw, highly-charged encounters with each other. It doesn't feel like a resolution, but a greater understanding has been achieved, leaving us with the hope that dialogue may continue. More

Claudia Rankine's new play explores understanding, identity, and belonging. More

As an inquiry into structural racism and an interrogation of whiteness — or, as the play’s sole black character puts it, “the ordinary complicity of white people’’ — The White Card is a bracing experience that leaves you with plenty to think about. More


Press Releases

ArtsEmerson and American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) announce casting for the world premiere production of The White Card. Written by acclaimed author, poet, and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine and directed by A.R.T.’s Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus, The White Card performs February 24 through April 1, 2018 at the Emerson Paramount Center’s Robert J. Orchard Stage, located at 559 Washington Street in downtown Boston.
ArtsEmerson, Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre, proudly presents the world premiere of American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T.) production of The White Card, written by acclaimed author, poet, and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine. Directed by A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus, The White Card performs February 24 through April 1, 2018 at the Emerson Paramount Center’s Robert J. Orchard Stage, located at 559 Washington Street in downtown Boston.
American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, under the leadership of Artistic Director Diane Paulus and Executive Producer Diane Borger, announces dates of accessible programming in the 2017/18 Season. American Sign Language (ASL)-interpreted, open-captioned, audio-described, and sensory-friendly performances will be offered.
The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University is pleased to announce its 2017/18 Season including Burn All Night, WARHOLCAPOTE, Sense and Sensibility, HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True, The White Card, and Jagged Little Pill.

Visit our Toolkit Library to access the The White Card Toolkit for information, articles, and activities about the show.


Read the program note from playwright Claudia Rankine and dramaturg P. Carl.


Read More, Do More
Consult this resource list to foster action and extend the conversations and scholarship created within the Citizen Read and Act II events associated with The White Card.


Was Charlottesville the Exception or the Rule?
by Clauda Rankine in The New York Times Magazine


Learn about Citizen Read, a dynamic project exploring the construction of race and identity in America through Claudia Rankine's 2014 New York Times bestselling book of poetry Citizen: An American Lyric, sponsored by ArtsEmerson and American Repertory Theater.


Read the program for this production here.


Read more in the A.R.T. Guide about The White Card and other upcoming productions.

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Ticket prices

For all questions related to tickets, please contact the ArtsEmerson ticket office at 617.824.8400, by email at, or in person at 559 Washington Street, Boston.

Run time

Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission, followed by an Act II discussion


559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111

Age Appropriateness

Recommended for grades 9+

ASL Interpreted

March 31 at 2PM

Audio Described

March 18 at 2PM

Performance sponsors:

The White Card is commissioned by ArtsEmerson, Boston, MA, and American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, MA.