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In association with:
TheaterWorksUSAEdgewood Entertainment

Growing up, Will’s big brother taught him three iron-clad rules of how to behave when gun violence claims someone close: #1 Don’t cry. #2 Don’t snitch. #3 Get revenge. So when his brother is himself gunned down, Will feels like he has to follow the code, and gets in the elevator on the top floor of his apartment building, armed and ready to hit the streets in search of vengeance. What happens on the way down is an emotional hip-hop journey that brings Will face to face with the literal ghosts of his past as he tries to make the biggest decision of his life. This Rolling World Premiere musical is based on the Newberry Medal Honor-winning Young Adult novel by DMV native Jason Reynolds.

Long Way Down was originally commissioned and developed by TheaterWorksUSA

3 Rules
7 Floors
1 Decision

This powerful story is being developed in partnership with The Apollo through their New Works Program, and will be presented in Apollo’s new Victoria space after its limited Olney Theatre engagement.

Book, music and lyrics by
Dahlak Brathwaite

Additional writing by
Khiyon Hursey

Adapted from the bestselling novel by
Jason Reynolds

Co-choreographed by
Ken-Matt Martin and Victor Musoni

Directed by
Ken-Matt Martin

© 2017 Used with permission of Pippin Properties

2023-24 Season
Part of the 2023-24 Season

Supported in part by the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals, a program of National Alliance for Musical Theatre, with funding from The Hollywood Pantages, a Nederlander Theatre –

Long Way Down is also supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Reviews and Press

  • " a narrative masterpiece...The language is rich. The poetry is powerful. The rhythms are varied with echoes of gospel, R&B, and Michael Jackson slipped in too." - DC Theater Arts
  • "It’s boisterous and bracing and moving and funny and even fun..." - The Washington Post
  • "an excellent fable of breaking generational cycle of violence, and though the merits of its ending are up for debate, its splendid casting and exciting production design pushes the production into validity" - Morris Theatre DC
  • "An exciting piece of theatre." - Broadway World
  • Bryan Archibald

  • Tyrese Shawn Avery

  • IO Browne

  • Colin Carswell

  • Cheryse Dyllan

  • Ciara Hargrove

  • Parris Lewis

  • Naiqui Macabroad

  • Victor Musoni

  • Quincy Vicks

  • Dahlak Brathwaite

    Book, Music, & Lyrics
  • Khiyon Hursey

    Additional Writing Book, Music, & Lyrics
  • Jason Reynolds

  • Ken-Matt Martin

  • Cedric Lyles

    Music Director
  • Simean Carpenter

    Scenic & Lighting Designer
  • Danielle Preston

    Costume Designer
  • Kevin Lee Alexander

    Sound Designer
  • Robbie Armstrong III

    Production Stage Manager
  • Makayla Beckles

    Assistant Stage Manager
  • Kate Kilbane

    Assistant Stage Manager
  • Kelley Nicole Girod

  • Gregory Keng Strasser

    Assistant Director
  • Charlique C. Rolle

    Assistant Choreographer


Online Program Book

On the Blog

Behind the Scenes: About the Rehearsal Process of Long Way Down
Additional Dramaturgy: Interview with the Writers of Long Way Down Dahlak Brathwaite and Khiyon Hursey
Playlist: Music Inspiration for Long Way Down
Additional Dramaturgy: Activism in Hip-HopThe Intersections of Hip-Hop and Theatre, The History of Hip-Hop/Spoken Word Poetry
Health & Safety: Anti-Gun Violence and Mental Health Resources


Community Events

  • Beyond the Stage

    Book Club Discussion

    Title: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

    Discussion Date: May 21, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.
    Location: Omi's Pavilion
    RSVP to attend the discussion. 

    Title: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

    Following the book discussion, there will be a conversation with activist groups in Montgomery County.

    Discussion Date: May 28, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.
    Location: Omi's Pavilion
    RSVP to attend the discussion.

More about Jason Reynolds

Some of our favorite interviews with the bestselling author of Long Way Down

  • Video: Jason Reynolds On His Novel, "Long Way Down"
  • Short Film: Dear Dreamer - A Portrait of Jason Reynolds 
  • Publishers Weekly: Jason Reynolds Is the Hardest-Working Man in Washington
  • Story Time at the Olney Library

    Story Time at the Olney Library

    Sunday, June 2, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
    Olney Public Library (3500 Olney Laytonsville Rd, Olney, MD 20832)
    No RSVP. Just show up!

    As part of our celebration of Long Way Down, we’re sponsoring a morning of stories at the Olney Public Library. This is a free family event appropriate for all ages, especially toddlers, preschoolers, and young children. Books to be read are chosen with the help of the Olney librarian and feature special guest storyteller Shaquille Stewart.

  • Beyond the Stage

    Just Arts 2024 ENOUGH! Plays to End Gun Violence

    Saturday, June 8th, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
    Omi’s Pavilion, Olney Theatre Center
    Free, with RSVP

    Olney Theatre Center Invites you to a staged reading of the ENOUGH! Plays to End Gun Violence. This reading is brought to you through a collaborative effort with Imagination Stage, Round House Theatre, and Mauricio Pita & Team.

  • Long Way Down BLACK Out Performance (SOLD OUT)

    Olney Theatre Center is proud to announce our first BLACK Out Night for the world premiere musical Long Way Down. Olney Theatre Center is taking the next step in our pursuit of a more equitable and inclusive environment in our programming and in our community outreach.

    To continue this effort and celebrate the beautiful, important story of Long Way Down and the community it represents, Olney Theatre Center's BLACK Out Night will take place on June 9th at 7pm. Join us for an Awe inspiring evening of theatre, black excellence, and community.

    Specially priced $20 tickets for this performance only (limit 4) may be purchased here, using the code BLACKOUT.

    We ask our non-black identifying patrons to please choose a different performance of Long Way Down to attend.

  • Beyond the Stage

    Juneteenth Celebration

    Wednesday, June 19th, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
    Omi’s Pavilion, Olney Theatre Center
    Free, with RSVP

    Come join us at Olney Theatre Center as we celebrate Juneteenth! Enjoy a night filled with dance and music featuring performances by Urban Artistry.

Long Way Down

May 22 - June 23 2024

Buy Tickets

Box Office: 301.924.3400

Open Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

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