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Segal Center's CLASSIX Reading Series to Celebrate Black Playwrights


The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, located at The Graduate Center, CUNY, will present readings of rarely seen plays by Black playwrights on Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23. The readings are free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

CLASSIX: A READING SERIES CELEBRATING CLASSIC PLAYS BY BLACK PLAYWRIGHTS, at the Segal Center on Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23 - features plays by Alice Childress, Kathleen Collins, Bill Gunn, and Ron Milner, who are just four out of a long line of writers whose extraordinary plays were produced in the 20th century.

This series celebrates classic plays that feature dynamic characters, extraordinary dialogue, and compelling stories-all written by an eclectic group of Black writers, whose plays speak to their own time in a way that deeply resonates with our own. Curated by NYC-based director, Awoye Timpo, in collaboration with the Segal Center.

The 6:30pm readings will be followed by a panel discussion with special guests that include Woody King, Jr. (Founding director of New Federal Theater) and director Seret Scott, among others.

Dates and times are listed below. All programs are subject to change.

Monday, May 22


Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childress

Directed by Jade King Carroll

Featuring Miriam Hyman, Galen Kane, Ruffin Prentiss, Charles Weldon, Zenzi Williams

A timeless and thrilling play, Wine in the Wilderness (1969) revolves around a young girl who befriends an artist in the midst of painting his triptych. In this piece Childress explores the depths of Black womanhood.


What the Wine-Sellers Buy by Ron Milner

Featuring Brian D. Coats, Medina Senghore Collie, SuzzAnne Douglas, Adam McNulty, Melanie Nichols-King, Keith Randolph Smith, Count Stovall

Written in 1974, What the Wine-Sellers Buy was originally produced by Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival at Lincoln Center. The play centers around Steve Carlton, a carefree high school student, who wrestles between his dream to become a professional basketball player and the other possibilities in his life.

Tuesday, May 23


The Forbidden City by Bill Gunn

Directed by Awoye Timpo

Featuring Marchant Davis, Rachel Leslie, Doron Mitchell, Lee Aaron Rosen, Allie Woods

Bill Gunn's final play, The Forbidden City, premiered at New York's Public Theater in 1989. Set in Philadelphia circa 1936, the play reckons with the nature of family and the excesses of love and power. The bonds of a middle class Black family are tested by the specter of a tragedy that occurred years ago in the Jim Crow south.


The Brothers by Kathleen Collins

Featuring Crystal Dickinson, Chalia La Tour, Margaret Odette, Carra Patterson, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, Lizan Mitchell, Elizabeth Van Dyke

In this memory-drama Collins weaves together a series of scenes and monologues about black men who "should have been born white' because they "spent their entire lives trying to jump out of their skins.' The Brothers (1982) was originally produced by the Women's Project at the American Place Theater.

This event is FREE. Please arrive early.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is located at The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street. Subway: Herald Square, lines B, D, F, M, N, Q, R.

Events are ALWAYS FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED. NO RESERVATIONS. Dates and times are listed below. All programs are subject to change. For updates, visit

The Segal Center bridges the gap between the academic and performing arts communities through dynamic public programs and digital initiatives that are free and open to all.

Home to theatre artists, scholars, students, performing arts managers, and the local and international performance communities, the Segal Center provides a supportive environment for conversation, open exchange, and the development of new ideas and new work. Year round, the Center presents a wide variety of FREE public programs which feature leading national and International Artists, scholars, and arts professionals in conversation about theatre and performance. Programs include staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, festivals celebrating New York performance (PRELUDE) and international plays (PEN World Voices), screenings of performance works on film, artists in conversation, academic lecture series, televised seminars, symposia, and arts in education programs. In addition, the Center maintains its long-standing visiting-scholars-from-abroad program, publishes a series of highly regarded academic journals, as well as single volumes of importance (including plays in translation), all written and edited by renowned scholars. Go to for more.

The Graduate Center, CUNY, of which the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is an integral part, is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master's programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world's leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-eight interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, The Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City's intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. Visit

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