Inda Craig-Galván

The Great Jheri Curl Debate

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Full-length, Drama

by Inda Craig-Galván

Veralynn Jackson knows hair, her neighborhood, and she also knows that the invention of the Jheri Curl marks the end of the world... or at least a career shift. When she takes a job in Mr. Kim’s Korean-owned Black beauty supply store, she’s in her element, until the posters start talking to her. For Mr. Kim, closed off by what he’s left behind to be in the U.S., the last thing he wants is this nosy new employee prodding him to expose old wounds. Their eventual friendship opens a door for each of them to reclaim their lost art.

“That these two characters find and clear some ground together, despite the assumptions imposed on them from outside, is the kind of miracle you can’t put in a bottle.”—Rob Weinert-Kendt, American Theatre Magazine

“Magical realism, race relations, and a heartfelt story all in one, THE GREAT JHERI CURL DEBATE by Inda Craig-Galván packs an emotional punch, while still leaving room for plenty of quirkiness and wit.”
—Julia Stier, Stage Raw

Production Notes:

Cast of Characters
(2W, 3M)

VERALYNN JACKSON — 40s. F. African-American. Long-time resident of this neighborhood. Knows a little something about hair.
MR. KIM — 50. M. Korean immigrant. Business owner. Lives somewhere else. NOT this neighborhood.

JHERI REDDING — 72. M. White. Born Robert William Redding. Hairdresser, chemist, inventor of The Jheri Curl. Lives in a poster.

LORRAINE — 30. F. African-American. Female model on all the packaging for the S Curl. Lives in the same poster hugged up with Marvin. Would like to kill him one day. Also plays MUSHROOM.

MUSHROOM — 30. F. African-American. She wears a sleek mushroom style hairdo. And she does not have time for the nonsense. Played by the same actress as LORRAINE.

MARVIN — 30. M. African-American. Male model sporting the exact same S Curl as Lorraine. Uses way too much activator. He also wants out of this arrangement. Also plays AFRO MAN.

AFRO MAN — 30. M. African-American. He wears a large afro.
Veralynn’s sexy fantasy come to life. Except he’s also in her imagination. Played by the same actor as MARVIN.

Place: Jeffery Manor Beauty Supply, in the all-Black neighborhood of
Jeffery Manor on the South Side of Chicago.

Time: Spring 1979 through Fall 1982.


Inda Craig-Galván

Inda Craig-Galván is a Chicagoan who lives in Los Angeles, where it’s warm. Her plays include Black Super Hero Magic Mama (Geffen Playhouse), (), I Go Somewhere Else (Playwrights’ Arena), and The Great Jheri Curl Debate (2022 world premiere, East West Players). Her play A Hit Dog Will Holler world premiered at Skylight Theatre Company in a co-production with Playwrights’ Arena and is being produced as a podcast adaptation for Raditopia Presents in 2022. Inda was recipient of the Kesselring Prize, Blue Ink Prize, Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Award, and her plays have twice been featured on the Kilroys List. Inda is also a TV writer on Demimonde, the upcoming HBO series created by JJ Abrams. MFA in Dramatic Writing, University of Southern California...[FULL BIO]

TheatricalWrites QnA with the Author

Meet Inda Craig-Galván QnA

Meet Inda Craig-Galván, author of BLACK SUPER HERO MAGIC MAMA and A HIT DOG WILL HOLLER.

Her work is raw, honest, and hilarious. Her plays explore real-world problems wrapped in the dynamic magic of the theatre. She took some time to discuss these two plays in depth and reveals the best advice she’s ever received. Read now to learn more about her process of writing this play and the importance (or necessity) of collaboration within theatre.