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New Federal Theatre Celebrates Women's History Month with An Online Reading Series

These readings will be free and accessible from NFT's website.

New Federal Theatre Celebrates Women's History Month with An Online Reading Series

New Federal Theatre Celebrates Women's History Month with an online readings series. These readings will be free and accessible from NFT's website,


by Pearl Cleage
(Premiered: New Federal Theatre, 1983)
Directed by Awoye Timpo, featuring award-winning actresses
Margaret Odette and Petronia Paley.

Saturday, March 13 at 7:00 PM, streaming until March 15

When Jenny Anderson left her lover and moved into her grandmother's unoccupied house to await the birth of her first child, the last person she expected to show up was her gravely ill mother, expatriot poet Alice Anderson, whom she has not seen for twenty years. Leaving her activist husband and ten year-old daughter, Alice moved to Paris in 1965 to pursue her dreams of writing, free from American racism and the demands of being the devoted wife of a Civil Rights leader. She returns home hoping to die as she has lived, by her own rules. But Jenny is determined to find answers to questions she has waited a lifetime to ask and Alice is forced to come to terms with the effect of her flight on the daughter she left behind. The play was first produced by Woodie King, Jr., at New Federal Theatre in 1983. The premiere production was honored with five AUDELCO Awards for achievement off-Broadway, including Best Play, Best Playwright, Best Director and Best Actress. Read biographies of the participants.

"Ma Rose" by Cassandra Medley

Saturday, March 20 at 7:00 PM, streaming until March 21

(Premiered: Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1986)
Directed by Eileen Morris, featuring Denise Burse, Elain Graham, Nambi E. Kelley, Lizan Mitchell and Kim Sullivan.

The title character in Cassandra Medley's ''Ma Rose'' is an aged matriarch who finds her mind and her life slowly slipping away. She considers her wandering mind and her contact with ancestors an opportunity to gain wisdom and make amends. Stubbornly she wants to hold on to her independence, but she is surrounded by relatives determined to give her a final push. The play is the story of Ma Rose's battle, and it is also about the conflicts among three generations of women who seem destined to repeat one another's mistakes.

Playwright Cassandra Medley is an ongoing teacher in New Federal Theatre's Playwriting Workshop. This play was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Drama (1988). Reviewing the play's first incarnation as a one-act at Ensemble Studio Theatre in 1986, the New York Times (D.J.R. Bruckner) wrote, "Miss Medley reveals the complex ties among the women so naturally and subtly that the great range of history she surveys - of American families, blacks since the Civil War and women in the last 100 years - becomes a simple story." The San Francisco Examiner wrote, "Ma Rose is a larger than life figure who at times approaches the stature of a black Queen Lear."

Radio Performance Of "Her Tennessee Waltz"

March 28 (available Until April 11)
Theater For The New City (online)

By Toby Armour, Directed By George Ferencz

"Her Tennessee Waltz," a radio play by Toby Armour, will be presented by Theater for the New City on Sunday, March 28. The play follows Carrie Chapman Catt as she leads the final effort to ratify the 19th Amendment. The performance, directed by George Ferencz, will be live at 3:00 PM on March 28 and also available on-demand for two weeks subsequently. To tune in, visit the theater's website,, or its Facebook page. Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted.

Armour's play dramatizes Carrie Chapman Catt's leadership of the final effort to secure women's right to vote through ratification of the 19th Amendment. Catt's mentor, Susan B. Anthony, had spent a lifetime fighting for women's suffrage. Dying in 1906, Anthony never saw the end of the struggle, but she never doubted. "Failure is impossible" were her words. The play is set in 1920, when the battle continued under Catt. The 19th Amendment, giving women suffrage, is coming to a vote in a special session of the Tennessee legislature. If Tennessee, the 36th state, ratifies it, the Amendment will finally become the law of the land after 87 years of struggle.

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