HOME is receiving a warm Broadway homecoming.

Many who visited Samm-Art Williams’ comedy-drama at the Cort 44 years ago will be fondly reminded of it during Roundabout’s excellent current revival.

Those who weren’t yet born or were too young to be attending Broadway may well be impressed to discover a play that asks several tough questions before coming to an unexpectedly delightful conclusion.

Most of the action takes place in Cross Roads, North Carolina, which is hardly the crossroads of the world. Throughout the genuine town’s long history, its town’s population has yet to reach 4,000. 

Yet Cephus Miles is happy to live there and work the farm that his grandfather and uncle had cultivated. 

On the other hand, Pattie Mae Wells, the love of his life, will soon be leaving town to attend an urban college. 

The conflict between the values of city life and country life is one you may consider time-honored or threadbare. That may be why Williams spent as much time dealing with religion or the lack of it.

Pattie Mae observes and believes Christianity without question; Cephus doesn’t. His relationship with God will resonate with anyone who’s prayed in vain.

(And which of us hasn’t?)

Cephus, however, has a fanciful explanation of why his prayers haven’t been answered and why he hasn’t been given any solutions. It got a generous laugh at last week’s Wednesday matinee and will get many in the next month before HOME’s July 21st closing. 

Williams asks if Cephus can possibly expect God to help him if he doesn’t follow the straight and narrow rules of religion. Or should a solid belief in God be enough for those who ignore or reject the dozens upon dozens of religious rules that men dreamed up while insisting that these demands were those of The Creator?

And yet, irrespective of Cephus’ lack of faith, he staunchly adheres to two tenets that are cornerstones of every religion.

Both of those will get him in serious trouble.

When HOME debuted on Broadway in 1980, the play was set in that year. Williams dealt with a situation that had all too recently polarized the nation. While that issue may not quite strike a powerful chord with audiences who hadn’t endured the ‘60s and ‘70s – or be one of which older theatergoers would prefer not to be reminded – HOME does deal with a part of American history that affected a great number of citizens in one dire way or another.

Cephus’ decision will soon make him a pariah to many of his African American “brothers and sisters” won’t take his side. Even his own family refuses to be supportive. “But” one concludes in a letter, “we love you.”

(Advice to that relative: “Show, don’t tell” needn’t be advice limited to playwrights.)

So, in the original production, Cephus was cast as a reasonably young man. Because over four decades have since passed, the decision has been made to show him in some scenes as a senior citizen who endures a limp and a shaky right hand.

There’s nothing shaky about Tory Kittles’ performance. You need a natural born storyteller to play Cephus (especially when he must deliver a hilarious tale about a Native American), and Kittles nicely fills the requirement. Allen Lee Hughes’ lighting often manages to catch the sparkle in Kittles’ eye.

Granted, the actor does speak too speedily, especially at the how’s start. Whether that was director Kenny Leon’s demand or Kittles is an actor who lets loose when his director isn’t around isn’t something we’ll ever know for sure. 

As Pattie Mae, Brittany Inge keeps us from hating her when letting Cephus know that “I’ve seen more in a day than you’ve seen in your whole life.” That’s because she says it as a statement of fact and not as a value judgment.

Stori Ayers as Woman Two lends able support and gets the all-too-knowing response from the audience when she advises Cephus, “Don’t call God; He’ll call you.” 

If you pay a call to HOME, you may sneer when something happens seemingly out of the blue. Was Williams hoping to get away with a fairy tale ending? 

No. The playwright brought everything to a convincing finish. Better still, his last three lines are endearing and will have you grinning, even with a smile that says, “I should have seen that coming.” 

But of course, you must see HOME to see it coming …