Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Rising Circle Theater Collective to Present Four New Works as Part 7th Annual PlayRISE Festival

Four talented emerging playwrights of color - members of the 2016 INKtank Playwrights Lab - will unveil their exciting new works when Rising Circle Theater Collective presents its 7th annual PlayRISE Festival, a series of staged readings featuring some of New York City's most exciting theatre artists of color. The festival will run from June 16-19 at The Sheen Center (18 Bleecker Street in Manhattan).

PlayRISE launches with Liz Morgan's The Clark Doll, directed by Nicole A. Watson, on Thursday June 16th at 7:30PM.

"Three black women find themselves confined to a space; the kind that doesn't allow visitors. It isn't the first time but hopefully, it will be the last. Natasha wants to escape for good; Judi wants to sleep; and Sophia just doesn't want to end up left alone. Meanwhile, this trio of 'sistas' will do what they can to survive their circumstances and each other."

The cast of The Clark Doll includes Jenna Bosco, Crystin Gilmore, Chelsea Harrison, and Whitney White.

The following night, Friday June 17th at 7:30PM, Cynthia G. Robinson's When Night Falls will be directed by Estefanía Fadul.

"A young Sudanese woman meets an African American doctor who brings her to the United States. Bonded by grief and personal loss, these women struggle to heal, find peace, and the courage to love again."

The cast of When Night Falls includes Richarda Abrams, Afia Abusham, Reginald L. Barnes, Evander Duck Jr., Ty King, Melissa Mickens, and Beethovan Oden.

Saturday June 18th at 7:30PM, Oscar Aaron Lee Cabrera will present his new play, Through Andrew's Eyes, directed by Edward Torres.

"Andrew is a 22 year old boy diagnosed with Autism and Diabetes. The Person he would have become lives inside him, wanting to be heard. Meanwhile, Andrew's family struggles to move forward, feeling limited and trapped by Andrew's condition. When Andrew's brother returns from college for the holidays, Person begins speak his mind, but can Andrew be truly understood? Heartwarming and poignant, Through Andrew's Eyes is a story about how people transcend their differences to find common ground, love, and a shared sense of humanity."

The cast of Through Andrew's Eyes includes David Anzuelo, Txai Frota, Jacqueline Guillen, Lorenzo Gutierrez, Benjamin Manno, and Mariana Newhard.

The festival will culminate on Sunday, June 19th at 7:30PM with Purvi Shah's Light as a Mountain, directed by Saheem Ali.

"What goes on behind all those windows of New York City? As everyone is busy being busy, Light as a Mountain opens the windows on two immigrant families in Queens and the finance world of Manhattan. With humor, heart, and magical birds, Light as a Mountain explores our aging parents, colonialisms of work, sanctity of homes, and the power of human connection."

The cast includes Susham Bedi, Melissa Joyner, Mahira Kakkar, Reza Salazar, Adriana Sananes, and Merlixse Ventura.

PlayRISE will take place at The Sheen Center at 18 Bleecker Street.

Doors open at 7:00PM. Admission is free but tickets must be reserved through Eventbrite (http://playrise2016.eventbrite.com).

Founded in 2000, Rod Bowen and Deepa Purohit, created Rising Circle Theater Collective to address the lack of stories and roles on stage that represent the diverse cultural communities in New York City. Now in its 16th year, Rising Circle Theater Collective is a nexus for artists of color, empowering them to conceive, develop, and produce original work. Rising Circle is dedicated to broadening the scope of storytelling on the American stage by placing the stories of people of color first. The company's members include Kareem Fahmy (director | playwright); Monet Hurst-Mendoza (playwright | director); Nancy Kim (actor | producer); Melissa Mickens (actor | producer); and Pirronne Yousefzadeh (director | educator). For more information, visit www.risingcircle.org.

OSCAR AARON LEE CABRERA is a Texas born-and-bred actor/playwright. He has developed characters over the past five years for Rattlestick Theater, Theater Masters, Rising Circle, NYU, INTAR, the LARK, the Kennedy Center, the LATC, the Amoralists, New York Theater Workshop and others. He has wrote and submitted work for the Black and Latino Playwrights Festival, Hudson Warehouse WAGG, and the One Minute Play Festival.

LIZ MORGAN received her MFA from Brown/Trinity Rep where she was the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. Her play The Clark Doll has had previous developmental workshops at Rites and Reason Theatre, POTPOURRI World Women's Work Series and Manhattan Rep, where Liz also produced her satirical play, A Matter of Taste (previously published as a finalist in the Long Island City One Act Festival). Her play Breaking & Entering is currently in development with Amios Theatre Company. www.LizMorganOnline.com

CYNTHIA G. ROBINSON is a playwright, educator, and producer. Her plays include Dancing on Eggshells (Billie Holiday Theatre); Peola's Passing (Samuel French OOB Festival; New Perspectives Theatre); Gold Star Mother (EstroGenius Festival); Ascension (National Black Theatre Festival; FringeNYC); Thunder: A Musical Memoir (FringeNYC). Honors include AUDELCO Award Nominee; Samuel French OOB Finalist; Black and Latino Playwrights Conference Finalist; Calvin B. Grimes Scholar-in-Residence; Tribeca All-Access Open Stage; Best New Play IRNE nomination; Thomas Barbour Memorial Playwright's Award Finalist. Publication in Indie Theater Now; Book of Estrogenius. Member of League of Professional Theatre Women, Dramatists Guild of America, and Co-moderator of The Fire This Time Festival Inaugural Writers' Group.

Known for her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter, PURVI SHAH inspires change as a non-profit consultant, anti-violence advocate, and writer. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight Asian American voices. She won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women. You can discover her creative work in her award-winning book of poetry Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press: 2006), and poetry chaplet Dark Lip of the Beloved: Sound Your Fiery God-Praise (Belladonna*: 2015), or at http://purvipoets.net and @PurviPoets. Through transformative listening and creative advocacy rooted in storytelling, dialogue, and community action, she seeks to further movement-building and community-based social change while showing that art is an essential part of our sacred space.


BroadwayWorld Shop
Shop BroadwayWorld

Shop this season's new musicals! Get dressed up for a night at the theatre, or just a night at home, with merch from some of Broadway's biggest hits including SOME LIKE IT HOT, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, and more!

Start Shopping



Related Stories
VIDEO: LEOPOLDSTADT Cast Members Discuss Their Faith on TODAY Photo
David Krumholtz, Jenna Augen, and Brandon Uranowitz from Leopoldstadt on Broadway appeared on The TODAY Show on Sunday to discuss exploring their faith in the acclaimed play. The cast also discussed their family's faith, fighting against antisemitism, and more. Watch the new interview video now!

Photos/Video: Lea Michele and Ramin Karimloo Talk FUNNY GIRL on SiriusXM Photo
SiriusXM kicked off a special Town Hall with Lea Michele and Ramin Karimloo, co-stars of Broadway smash-hit Funny Girl, last Thursday.  Michele and Karimloo discussed the process of recording the musical's cast album, working with Barbra Streisand, and more!

Equity Condemns Attacks on Transgender People & Drag Performances Photo
Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has issued a statement regarding the growing number of attacks on transgender people, often framed as attacks on drag performance.

Where Will the Tonys Have ROOM? Photo
Sometimes seasons go by without any truly perplexing questions for the Tony Award Administration Committee to answer. This will not be one of those seasons. As I wrote last month, there are close calls on what will be considered a new play versus revival and now thrown into the mix is the play or musical decision involving ROOM.


More Hot Stories For You


Howard McGillin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, and More Join PARADE; Full Casting Announced!Howard McGillin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, and More Join PARADE; Full Casting Announced!
January 30, 2023

Complete casting has been announced as rehearsals begin today for the new Broadway production of Parade starring Tony Award® winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond. Learn more about who will be starring in the revival here!

THE PIANO LESSON Plays Final Broadway PerformanceTHE PIANO LESSON Plays Final Broadway Performance
January 29, 2023

On January 29, the Broadway revival of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson concludes its run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, having played 27 previews and 124 regular performances. The production is the highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway and the highest grossing Wilson production on Broadway ever.

Listen: THE BIG ONE-OH! Cast Recording Featuring Christian Borle, Derek Klena & More Now Available DigitallyListen: THE BIG ONE-OH! Cast Recording Featuring Christian Borle, Derek Klena & More Now Available Digitally
January 27, 2023

Listen to the Ultimate Cast Recording of The Big One-Oh featuring Christian Borle, Derek Klena and more!

DEAR EVAN HANSEN National Tour to End its Run This SummerDEAR EVAN HANSEN National Tour to End its Run This Summer
January 27, 2023

The North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen, which first launched at the Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado in October 2018, will end its run on July 2nd, 2023 at the Koger Center in Columbia, South Carolina. See how to purchase tickes!

66th Annual Obie Awards to Return Live and in Person in February66th Annual Obie Awards to Return Live and in Person in February
January 27, 2023

The 66th Annual Obie Awards, celebrating and honoring Off- and Off-Off-Broadway will take place on Monday, February 27, 2023 at Terminal 5.