Stage Door Play Reading Series Returns to Irvington Town Hall Theater

Stage Door Play Reading Series Returns to Irvington Town Hall Theater

Irvington Town Hall Theater's Stage Door Series will present a reading of The Burning of New York by award-winning playwright Samuel Harps on Thursday, April 13 at 7:00 pm. Now in its third season, the series produces staged readings of original works complete with a Q&A afterwards with the playwright and actors. Without the technical aspects of a fully-staged show, the series offers a unique and exciting way to hear new voices in theater and be up close with the thought process that goes into writing a play.

The Burning of New York is based on actual events from 1741. Lower Manhattan, Broadway, Maiden Lane and Wall Street were set ablaze in an alleged slave revolt that gripped New Yorkers in fear. After an unprecedented trial, ultimately 35 people were hanged or burned at the stake, while nearly 100 others were banished from the Province of New York. At the center of the controversy was John Hughson's Bar, which is the only establishment in New York City where blacks, whites, slaves and free men were allowed to mingle.

Playwright Samuel Harp interned at New York's New Dramatist, studying with noted playwrights August Wilson and Charles Oyamo Gordon. He was later accepted as a member of the prestigious Negro Ensemble Company playwright's program. Harps' first major production, Don't Explain was staged at New York's famed Nuyorican Poet's Cafe. The explosive drama about the death of trumpeter Lee Morgan went on to receive seven AUDELCO Awards, including Best play and Playwright. Harps also received The Arts Council of Rockland County Executive Award for Literary Artist.

Theater Commissioner Marjorie Rosenfield says, "Our relationship with Samuel Harps began with our theater manager's suggestion that we offer a reading by an African-American playwright in February for Black History Month. We began networking, missed February, but followed a path that led us across the river to Rockland County where Samuel Harps has been cultivating and nurturing not only his own artistic skills, but those of his community. We are so pleased to present his work and look forward to a lasting relationship of mutual growth and support."

Harps' New York productions include plays at The Paul Roberson Theater, The National Black Theater, The Billie Holiday Theater, Theater for the New City, Theater Four, Duality Playhouse, and HERE Theater. Regional productions include: Rutgers University (Newark), The EXIT Theater (San Francisco), Vision Theater, Los Angeles, The Christina Cultural Arts Center (Wilmington, DE), and The Painted Bride and Bushfire Theaters, both in Philadelphia.

The evening is about 90 minutes in length including the talkback with the audience. Seating is general admission; all tickets are $10 (tickets are subject to processing fees and are always lower when purchased in advance online). Irvington Town Hall Theater is located at 85 Main Street in Irvington, NY. The entrance is on North Ferris Street.

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