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St. Jacobs Country Playhouse

American Son

A Powerful New Drama

April 5 to April 23, 2023

Written by Christopher Demos-Brown

An estranged interracial couple desperately look for information about their missing teenage son when he is detained by the local police following a traffic stop incident. The worried parents' disparate histories and backgrounds collide while two officers pursue details of the missing youth. Maternal, marital, and societal tensions escalate as all four become engulfed in a battle of bias, judgment, and racial prejudice that will never be as simple as black or white. 

Winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award and a New York Times Critics’ Pick, American Son is an explosive new drama that examines a nation’s racial divide through the eyes of parents whose worst fear hangs in the balance.

American Son follows the story of a mother, Kendra Ellis-Connor, as she searches for answers about her missing son, Jamal. The play is set in a police station waiting room at 4 a.m. where Kendra and her estranged husband, Scott Connor, engage in an intense dialogue with a pair of police officers. As the story unfolds in real time, the play delves into themes of identity, race, and the criminal justice system in America.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes without intermission.

Audience Recommendation: Recommended for ages 13 and up. There is no official rating system for live theatre. We encourage you to use your judgment based on your child's age and maturity level.

Read the Digital Program


We are frequent theatre attendees at many different venues. My husband and I have concluded the 'American Son' performance was the most powerful we have ever seen. The acting was superb and very believable. Kudos to all, in particular Oyin Oladejo. A very impactful presentation on current day issues. The topics and issues deserve continual reflection and consideration.
Bev H, Burlington
Powerful and moving. A beautiful production!
Phillip P, Kitchener
This performance was profound and heart wrenching. Definitely left with the entirety of the heaviness sitting with me. Very well done.
Ashley R, Cambridge
The silence of the audience throughout the play spoke volumes. This was one of the most moving performances I have had the privilege to witness. Well done!
Deb C, Kitchener
Such a true to life, moving show. Extremley well acted. The first show we have been to where the audiece was so shocked, in a good way, they left the show in almost total silence. Well done all cast and crew.
Michael R, Tillsonburg
Outstanding performances from all actors!!! Thought provoking and exceptionally well written!! Powerful and deeply moving!! A must see!!!!!
Laurie S, Kitchener
I thought I understood what the Black Lives Matter movement was all about. This afternoon, in the Saint Jacobs Playhouse, I was put into the shoes of a Black woman, played by Oyin Oladejo, who was agonizing over her missing teenage son. The play, American Son, changed the way I see the world.
Ruth Slavin, Guelph
First time ever I have seen a production where when the curtain comes down there is complete and utter silence. You could have heard a pin drop until the curtain rose to reveal the actors and then the spontaneous applause was deafening. The tears were still rolling down my face when we left the theatre. It was a heartbreaking truthful enactment of society today. Kudos to Drayton for putting this on.
Gina H, Waterloo
I wasn't sure what to expect but it was amazing. My mother and daughter and I continued to talk about it on our way home. Thank you for bringing this to the stage.
Bonita Dua, Cambridge
American Son is a timely and powerful story of the uncomfortable and the completely human entanglement and dance of white and black, right and wrong, love and hate, and all the shades of the in between. Brought to life by the acting genius of Oyin Oladeyo and Mike Shara, and beautifully supported by Miles and Bogert-O-Brien, the play digs deep into the often hidden obstacles in our institutions, our relationships, and our own minds that prevent us from understanding the truth in each other's realities. As an audience, we are led to the threshold of our own unconscious biases, and to our shared humanity where pain, injustice and loss exist. Best theatre experience I have had in many years. Thank you!
I cried, I laughed and gasped at the power of the situation of this family. My husband and I left wishing everyone would come and see this very powerful show... I would rate this a 10 plus!!
Barbra Plytas, Kitchener
The venue and the environment created on the stage made me feel like I was bystander in the station. The actors were fabulous and brought their skills with para verbal language and emoting to through to each person in the audience. As I sat, I noticed several audience members were crying towards the end. As the actors came for the curtain call, I was shocked that the audience was so quiet. I believe there was power in that silence! There was a standing ovation. Never have I left a play in such emotional intrinsic thought.
Trena Barnes, Kitchener
American Son was a powerful, thought provoking production. Oyin Oladejo delivered an overwhelming and emotional performance as Kendra. We were still processing the show this morning.
Bill Allen, Rockwood
American Son is a must see!
Pat P, Kitchener
A powerful piece of theatre that examines a number of contemporary issues which are relevant to Canadian as well as American society. Brilliant performances by all members of the cast. Go see it!
Bill M, London
Powerful moving and unexpected. This show quickly bounced from reflective to humor to tears and back. An amazing performance by all actors with a tough storyline many audience members might not want to face.
Ken S, Waterloo
So thankful to have such high calibre talent so close to home. This play is 90 minutes on the edge of your seat that leaves everyone feeling the need to talk about what they just witnessed. Go see it while you still can!
Marie Roemer, Conestogo
It has been a long time since [we] have been so moved by a production... How often can a cast of 4 and a 1 room setting be so mesmerizing that 90 minutes just flies by?! Highly, highly recommend this show!
Judy M, Kitchener
We felt the performance was excellent on all accounts. The actors, especially the woman who had the lead, were remarkable and made the story totally believable. Haven't been to such a moving play in a very long time.
Ken R, Stratford
The audience was spell bound from the time the "mother" began her opening monologue. Excellent set! We have attended Drayton productions since the early years and Drayton continues to amaze.
Betty Dyck, Elmira
This was a great play! It provided a catalyst for students to engage in difficult conversations and critical thought.
Lindsay C., Kitchener
What a show! A must see for everyone!
Carolyn Carr, St. Jacobs
Such a powerful show about a really important topic. It held me right to the last minute and when it ended I had a tear or two.
Elaine L., Kitchener
Such a powerful and moving presentation.
Don & Lois F, St. Catharines
One of the best tense, thought provoking shows we have seen.
Margaret K, Waterloo
Oyin Oladejo was spectacular and flawless.
Sherrie Hyde, Waterloo
Fantastic....Drayton never fails to amaze are second to none!
Deborah G, Niagara Falls
This was an INCREDIBLE, must-see performance!
Jose d, Cambridge
It's the most emotional play I have ever seen.
Linda S, Listowel
Probably one of the most powerful pieces of drama that I've seen in several years. Run, don't walk to get your tickets to this phenomenal production.
John W, Guelph
A very strong, multi-layered script. Solid cast. Powerful show. Worth seeing. St Jacobs is a great venue.
Bonnie Hartley, Woodstock
Highly recommend that everyone see this play. The actors were excellent and their story was very emotional. We see a lot of plays and this was the best. Well worth the drive from Port Dover.
Linda B, Port Dover
Amazing talent. Very thought provoking. Unexpected ending. I would highly recommend this show.
Judy Shaw, Kitchener
Very different from any other performance I have attended in the past. Acting was good, relatable story for our times. I left the theatre with lots to think about. Overall I enjoyed my evening. Susan H
Susan Harnock, Kitchener
It was very well done. The actors are fantastic. They draw you into their story. It really made you think
Kerry L, Kitchener
A very moving, tense theatrical experience. Excellent acting. Bravo!
Susan A, Guelph
I thought provoking play. The cast was excellent for the parts they played.
Nancy S, Hamilton
I thought the mother, particularly, and the father, were excellent... I found it very emotional, tearing up occasionally with the mother. I left the Playhouse with much to think about. It is a play we all should see.
Helene Stevens, Waterloo
Wow, what a powerhouse performance! A must see!
J C, Waterloo
The emotion felt so real, I believed that I was watching this happen in real life! The actors did an incredible job bringing the characters to life and into the story! Definitely worth it! The set was amazing as well, really looked like a police station!
Abigail T, Kitchener

Meet The Artists

Wade Bogert-O'Brien

Wade Bogert-O'Brien

Officer Paul Larkin

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Cassel Miles

Cassel Miles

Lieutenant John Stokes

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Oyin Oladejo

Oyin Oladejo

Kendra Ellis-Connor

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Mike Shara

Mike Shara

Scott Connor

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"American Son" is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.