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Metropolitan Playhouse Presents Free Screened Reading of COMPROMISE by Willis Richardson


Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse will present a free "screened" reading of COMPROMISE, by Willis Richardson--first African American playwright to have a drama produced on Broadway--via live stream video, with talkback to follow, on Saturday, June 13th, 2020 at 8 PM, EST.

Running Time: 30 minutes
Talkback to follow, including audience questions via Zoom and YouTube chat

Tune in below!

In COMPROMISE, Jane Lee has compromised with her white neighbor, Ben Carter, again and again. When he accidentally shot her eldest son, she accepted the deal her husband made to compensate. When her husband drank himself to death with the money, she swallowed her resentment. When her second son set out to take revenge, she equivocated with him. And now her daughter is pregnant by that same neighbor's son. And she is still willing to strike a bargain to get her children to a better place. But it wouldn't take much to make her wonder if she hasn't compromised enough.

The reading will be directed by Timothy Johnson (On Strivers Row). The cast includes Anthony T. Goss, Linda Kuriloff,  Lily Santiago, and George Sheffey.

Willis Richardson (1889-1977), born in Wilmington, NC, in 1889, was raised in Washington, DC, and became absorbed in literature as a boy. With early encouragement from WEB DuBois's "Brownie's Book," and publication of his short play, "The Deacon's Awakening," in The Crisis, (1921), he submitted 1922's "The Chip Woman's Fortune" to the Ethiopian Art Players. Their production of the play became the first play by an African American author produced on Broadway, running in 1923 at The Frazee Theatre. Among later plays, The Broken Banjo (1926), is probably his best known work and received the Crisis Spingarn Prize for drama, as did his Bootblack Lover the following year. In spite of his prolific output, he had only modest recognition as a dramatist. He worked at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing from 1910 until his retirement in 1955, and six of his full length plays were never published. Richardson received an "Outstanding Pioneer" Award from AUDELCO (Audience Development C
ommittee) in 1977, announced posthumously, a mere few days after his death.

Metropolitan presents these readings as a way of keeping the theater's pilot lit.
They also serve to help us compensate performing artists, so particularly affected, during this long "pause."
Information about the theater's ARTISTS RELIEF FUND may be found at

The VIRTUAL PLAYHOUSE began on March 28, 2020, with Alice Gerstenberg's "He Said and She Said," and continued the following week with Eugene O'Neill's "The Rope," with five times the attendance. Beginning with Gerstenberg's "Hearts," the program is simultaneously broadcast on New York's Pacifica Radio Station WBAI, 99.5 FM. For this period of social distancing, with Metropolitan Playhouse's facility closed, actors read parts to the camera from their homes, using the Zoom platform, which enables all characters in a scene to be onscreen simultaneously. Weekly readings are in progress, with mid-week programing in develpment, all drawn from the rich trove of lost American theater. The playhouse is honored and fortunate to be able to continue its mission of exploring America's diverse theatrical history during these trying times. The presentation of the forgotten one-act plays is an ideal way to pursue the theater's mission and extend its current season, devoted to plays and themes of

Available via
Zoom at

All links available at:

The program will also be simultaneously broadcast on
WBAI Radio 99.5 FM and


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