Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company Adds THE WOMEN'S PROJECT Play Series to 2014-15 Season

Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company Adds THE WOMEN'S PROJECT Play Series to 2014-15 Season

Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company has added a four-play series entitled THE WOMEN'S PROJECT to its 2014-15 season to highlight the company's ongoing commitment to equal representation in the performing arts.

Initially conceived by Mildred's Umbrella Artistic Director Jennifer Decker as a means of providing more opportunities for women in theatre, the series features plays that are either written by a female playwright or explore the feminine perspective in a thematic way. "Women are and always have been terribly underrepresented in the theatre, even though they are the majority of the talent available," said Decker. "I'm going to do my best to create as much work for women as possible."

The series is being released in tandem with a modification to the company's mission to feature female playwrights, actors, directors and designers. "It was an easy change since it was something we were already doing," said Decker. "Besides plays written by our resident playwright John Harvey, virtually everything we produce is either written by a female playwright, features strong female characters, has more women in the cast, or features local female designers. So it was a no-brainer."

The series will also include a community outreach component: a portion of the proceeds from each play will be donated to local charities dedicated to women's issues, including the Houston Area Women's Center and AssistHers. The series (at press time) runs as follows:

CASSANDRA by Katharine Sherman
Directed by Melissa Flower and Co-produced by Wordsmyth Theatre
Presented May 15-24, 2015, at 536 Westbury Square, Houston, TX 77035 (the courtyard of Company Onstage)
Company OnStage is a co-sponsor of this production and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Houston Area Women's Center (www.hawc.org)

Cassandra is a modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Cassandra, the beautiful girl who was given the gift of prophesy y the god Apollo in an effort to woo her. When she refuses his advances, Apollo curses her gift, making it so that no one will believe her prophecies. This fresh take on the myth is mesmerizing as Cassandra's current events and events of the future happen at the same instant, and even the girl who knows the tragedies that will befall the people around her, holds out hope for the tiniest change to her dire predictions.

FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS by Alan Ball
Directed and Co-Produced by Rochelle Sanders
Presented June 12-21, 2014, at Studio 101, 1824 Spring Street, Houston TX 77007
A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Houston Area Women's Center (www.hawc.org)

During an extravagant wedding reception at a southern estate, five bridesmaids, each with her own reason for avoiding the bride and the reception, hide out in an upstairs bedroom. Despite their differences, the women - a fundamentalist Christian, the lesbian sister of the groom, a woman dealing with her own failed marriage, the bride's rebellious sister who is hiding a dark secret, and a cynical beauty queen - bond and slowly discover they have more in common with each other than with the bride. Dramatists Play Services calls Five Women "a wickedly funny, irreverent and touching celebration of the women's spirit."

LATE: A COWBOY SONG by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Bree Bridger and Co-Produced by 14 Pews
Presented November 14-22, 2014, at 14 Pews, 800 Aurora St. Houston, TX 77009
A portion of the proceeds will benefit AssistHers (www.assisthers.org)

"Mary, always late and always married, meets a lady cowboy outside the city limits of Pittsburgh who teaches her how to ride a horse. Mary's husband, Crick, buys a painting with the last of their savings. Mary and Crick have a baby, but they can't decide on the baby's name, or the baby's gender. A story of one woman's education and her search to find true love outside the box." (New Dramatists)

BECKY'S NEW CAR by Stephen Dietz
Directed by Ron Jones
Presented Spring 2015; Location TBA
Charity TBA

Becky Foster is caught between middle age, middle management and in a middling marriage - with seemingly no way of changing any of it, until one night when a grieving millionaire happens into the car dealership where she works and she's offered the chance at a wild ride into an exciting life. A devious and delightful romp down a road seldom taken.

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