Rain Pryor’s One-Woman Play “Fried Chicken and Latkes” Earns NAACP Theatre Award
On February 21, 2005, Jewish comedian, actress, singer, and writer Rain Pryor received an NAACP Theatre Award for her one-woman autobiographical play, “Fried Chicken and Latkes.” In the play, Pryor explores her experiences with racism growing up Black and Jewish in Beverly Hills, CA, as well as her complex relationship with her father, the late comedian Richard Pryor.
Rain Pryor was born on July 16, 1969, in Los Angeles, CA, to Black comedian Richard Pryor and Jewish actress and dancer Shelley Bonis. Pryor and Bonis were married for about two years before they separated; they shared parenting responsibilities throughout their daughter’s childhood. In “Fried Chicken and Latkes” and other creative projects, Pryor has described the challenges of growing up biracial in Beverly Hills: “I struggled at the hand of others, because the era was not ready for change–for seeing beyond black and white. In a most untypical manner, this struggle came from both the black side and the Jewish side. I simply did not fit, nor belong,” she told Broadway.com in 2012.
“Fried Chicken and Latkes” involves a blend of creative modes like singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, impressions, and more, in some of which Pryor has a professional background. She has acted in several television and stage roles, most notably on the show “Head of the Class” from 1989 to 1991. She also sang and acted as Billie Holiday in the United Kingdom tour of the Billie Holiday Story and as Ella Fitzgerald in the United Kingdom premiere of Ella, Meet Marilyn. Comedy, however, was new territory for Pryor when she wrote and performed “Fried Chicken and Latkes.” Drawing in part from her father’s comedic legacy, but more importantly from comedic instincts of her own, Pryor put together a performance that the New York Times called “ebullient” and “built for Broadway.”
Outside of her work as a performer, Pryor has worked as artistic director of the Strand Theater in Baltimore, MD, appeared as a panelist discussing race in the entertainment industry, and published her memoir, Jokes My Father Never Told Me, in 2006.
Ade-Brown, Lathleen. “Rain Pryor Shows off Her Many Dimensions in One-Woman Show, ‘Fried Chicken and Latkes.’” Essence, October 27, 2020. https://www.essence.com/celebrity/rain-pryor-one-woman-show-fried-chicken-and-latkes/.
Pressley, Nelson. “Rain Pryor: Drought Buster for Baltimore’s Strand Theater?” Washington Post, September 21, 2012, sec. Theater & Dance. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/rain-pryor-drought-buster-for-baltimores-strand-theater/2012/09/20/47b5e94a-fc30-11e1-98c6-ec0a0a93f8eb_story.html.
Pryor, Rain. “Rain Pryor on How Her Jewish Mother and ‘Genius’ Father Richard Inspired Her Solo Show Fried Chicken and Latkes.” Broadway.com, October 2, 2012. https://www.broadway.com/buzz/164415/rain-pryor-on-how-her-jewish-mother-and-genius-father-richard-inspired-her-solo-show-fried-chicken-and-latkes/.
Wiltz, Teresa. “Time to Laugh, Time to Cry.” The Washington Post, December 6, 2006. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/05/AR2006120501499.html.
Webster, Andy. “Instead of a Bedtime Story, a Lullaby from Miles Davis.” The New York Times, August 14, 2012, sec. Theater. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/theater/reviews/fried-chicken-and-latkes-a-rain-pryor-solo-show.html.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Rain Pryor’s One-Woman Play “Fried Chicken and Latkes” Earns NAACP Theatre Award." (Viewed on December 3, 2023) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/feb/21/2005/rain-pryors-one-woman-play-fried-chicken-and-latkes-earns-naacp-theatre-award>.