ArtsEmerson Puts Diabetes, The African-American Experience On Stage

Robbie McCauley, of "Sugar" (Courtesy Paul Marotta/ArtsEmerson)

Robbie McCauley, of "Sugar" (Courtesy Paul Marotta/ArtsEmerson)

There are two kinds of sugar. There’s Sam Cooke’s kind, the one he sings about in the great 1965 song, “Sugar Dumpling.” It’s sweet. It’s soul food. It’s love. It’s everything good about being alive.

Then there’s Robbie McCauley’s sugar. The deadly kind. The kind behind a diabetes epidemic that affects almost 20 percent of adult African-Americans, twice as many as the general population. The kind that makes diabetes the fourth-leading cause of death among blacks.

McCauley has put the diabetes epidemic on stage for the first time in her one-woman play, “Sugar,” which opens Jan. 20 at ArtsEmerson. McCauley is an Obie award-winning playwright and professor of performing arts at Emerson College.

We’ll talk about dramatizing diabetes, and the African-American experience of this epidemic.


  • Robbie McCauley, of the one-woman play “Sugar”
  • Yvette Corzier, assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University’s School of Public Health, and co-investigator on the Black Women’s Health Study.
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