can i touch it?

Written by Francisca Da Silveira
Directed by India Nicole Burton

April 20, 2023 - May 13, 2023

7:30pm, Thur/Fri/Sat/Mon and 3:00 pm Sun, Apr 30 & May 7. James Levin Theatre. Preview April 20 & 21. Opening Night April 22. No show Mon, Apr 24.The performance on May 8, 2023 has been cancelled. If you have any questions, please contact the Box Office at 216.631.2727, ext.501.

1hr 50 min. No intermission.

EVERY TICKET is “Choose What You Pay” and can be purchased online, over the phone, and at the Box Office.


Shay Solomon’s got a lot going on between trying to find funding for her daughter to go to college, trying not to fire an opinionated rogue employee who happens to be her niece, and dealing with the white banker who’s trying to touch her hair—that is, her Black beauty supply store which is on the brink of foreclosure in the midst of ongoing neighborhood gentrification.

can i touch it? takes an often-humorous look at the politics of the Black hair care industry while prompting a dialogue about the inequities that entrepreneurs face within a community on the verge of forced change. NNPN Rolling World Premiere.

Featuring: Christina Johnson, King Kalim, De’Aja Mon’e, Michael Silas, Kadijah Wingo

Content Warning: This play contains some language that might be considered strong by some.

Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols. (Sunday Covid-Conscious performances)

The James Levin Theatre is ADA-compliant featuring a patron elevator and an all-gender, wheelchair-accessible restroom.

The Creative Production Team Includes:

Producer - Raymond Bobgan
Line Producer - Paige Conway
Technical Director - Joshua Smith
Assistant Director - Zyrece Montgomery
Costume & Wig Designer - Brielle McGrew
Scenic Designer - Kix
Lighting Designer - Josee Coyle
Stage Manager - Ry Fury
Sound Designer - Quinton J


April 20 – May 13: Hairitage; Don’t Touch My Hair – Art exhibition by Ryan Harris (CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE)

April 21: Meet Playwright Francisca Da Silveira in Partnership with Project 400!

April 30: The Business of Black Beauty – Three beauty entrepreneurs and activists share their experiences with gentrification and more. (CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE)

About the playwright: Francisca Da Silveira

Francisca Da Silveira is a Cape Verdean-American playwright and Boston native who holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MSc in Playwriting from the University of Edinburgh. She has been featured in ArtsBoston, The Los Angeles Times and American Theatre magazine. Her plays have been developed with Theatre503 (London), The Traverse Theatre (Edinburgh), Company One Theatre (Boston), The Fire This Time Festival (New York), The Playwrights Realm (New York), The Public Theater (New York) and La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego). Fran’s play Not-For-Profit (Or The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Play) was featured in The Playwrights’ Realm’s INK’D Festival in April 2021 and in La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Works Series in July 2021. Her play can i touch it? was featured in the National New Play Network’s 2020 National Showcase of New Plays and in 2022-2023 will receive a Rolling World Premiere at Company One Theatre (Boston), Rogue Machine Theatre (Los Angeles) and Cleveland Public Theatre (Cleveland).

Fran was a 2020-2021 Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow and is currently a member of The Public Theater’s 2020-2023 Emerging Writers Group and a 2022-2023 Jerome Fellow with the Playwrights’ Center. She is working on commissions from the University of Virginia’s Drama Department and Brooklyn-based theater Colt Coeur.


India Nicole Burton is an actress, director, playwright, deviser, and producer. She is a native of Akron, OH, and graduated from The University of Akron in 2011 with a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis on performance. Upon graduating, India founded Ma’Sue Productions, an African American theatre company located in Akron. She has directed, produced, and performed in several of Ma’Sue’s plays and was co-artistic director until 2015. India recently ended a virtual national tour of American Dreams by Leila Buck in 2020, where she played the role of Briana Coffman. She originated this character when it had its world premiere at Cleveland Public Theatre in 2018.  India’s directing credits include for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf (Heads Up Productions), The Laramie Project (Heads Up Productions), Daybreak’s Children (Ma’Sue Productions), A Happening on Imperial (Ma’Sue Productions), Fire on the Water (Cleveland Public Theatre, co-directed); Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation (in development at Cleveland Public Theatre), “inside out” by Francisca Da Silveira (Company One, as part of their C1: Inauguration project), Welcome to the Taj Mahal (Motel) by Riti Sachdeva at The Playwrights Center (Workshop). India’s assistant directing credits include the 2014 production of The Color Purple at Karamu House, A brownsville song (b-side for tray) at Dobama Theatre, and Cleveland Public Theatre’s Barbecue and Good at Heart, featured in BorderLight International Theatre + Fringe Festival. India is a board member for New World Performance Lab, a two-year recipient of the NNPN Producer in Residence program for Cleveland Public Theatre, and a 2021 recipient of the NNPN Bridge Program grant. She was also a cast member of American Dreams, which was nominated for a Drama League Award in 2021. India received her MFA in Playwrighting from the University of Nebraska Omaha in December of 2022.


In partnership with the National New Play Network (NNPN), can i touch it? is produced at Cleveland Public Theatre as part of a NNPN Rolling World Premiere. For more information, please visit

NNPN is an alliance of professional theatres that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays. NNPN’s Rolling World Premiere Program supports three or more theatres that choose to mount the same new play within a 12-month period, allowing the playwright to develop a new work with multiple creative teams in multiple communities. The playwright is part of the process, working on the script and making adjustments based on what is learned from each production. Click here for more information.