The Arts

The Family Business

By Leslie Weeden / January–March 2024
January 23rd, 2024
Image of Ruby Aiyo Gerber and her mother Lynn Nottage on a couch holding hands with paintings in the background.
PHOTO: Jasmine Clarke

Poet and writer Ruby Aiyo Gerber ’20 is collaborating with her mother, two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage ’86, on the libretto for an opera adapted from Gerber’s play, This House, which follows over decades the inhabitants of a stately brownstone in Harlem. The Opera Theatre of St. Louis will stage the world premiere in an upcoming season. The two have teamed up with composer Ricky Ian Gordon (with whom Nottage worked on the operatic adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel). In a conversation between Gerber and Nottage published in the New York Times’s T Magazine last spring, Gerber initially expressed fear of always being in her mother’s shadow and not being able to find her voice, but by the end said (to Nottage), “Collaborating with you has clarified something for me: that the older I get, the more I’m able to see your worth as an artist, and I’m proud of it. But I want to be my own writer—and that’s possible.”

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January–March 2024