March is Women's History Month, and what better way to celebrate than with a Festival of one-woman shows? That's the thinking of "Womenkind VII," the 7th annual event of plays celebrating "women's power, creativity and diversity."
The festivities begin March 19 with a special "sampler night" of excerpts from each performer in the series. Proceeds from that $25 evening, hosted by Estelle Parsons (Off-Broadway's Grace And Gloria) will go to SHARE, which benefits women with breast and ovarian cancer.
Continuing through March 30, each "Womenkind" evening will be hosted by a different "outstanding woman who embodies the qualities the Festival seeks to celebrate." Hosts this year include talk show host Bertice Berry, comedienne Joy Behar (Three From Brooklyn) and performance artist Penny Arcade.
Here's the current schedule of "Womenkind VII"
March 19: Sample Night to benefit SHARE
March 20: Anne Hammel's Rude Swings, Vanessa Hollingshead's That's My Time, and Jacqueline Wade's Panther Woman.
March 21: Jill Dalton's Even Supermodels Get The Blues, Heather Harpham's All The Way Home and Kim McIntyre's Braving The Essence.
March 22 (mat): John Kane's The Pirate Queen (with Mary Reed), Nannette Deasy's A Story's Worth, Bess Welden's The Handshake and Claudia Traub's Emma Goldman - A Noise In The Silence.
March 22 (eve): Armand Ruhlman's The Adventures Of Kat Woman, Radha Blank's Kenya, Donna Bailey's Something Could Happen - Part I.
March 23 (mat): Gayle Stahlhuth's Letters From Guam, Judy Deylin's Faces Of Love, Yvonne Hudson's Mrs. Shakespeare and Anne Pasquale's An Evening With Nellie Bly.
March 23 (eve): Denis Meadows' La Rain Gives Notice (with Marcella Lowery), Blank's Kenya, Kirsten Ames' Sex Toys And Subway Stories (with music by Electric Mermaid).
March 25: Welden's The Handshake, Stuhlhuth's Guam, Wade's Phyllis Wheatley - The African Muse.
March 26: Stephanie Urdang's Lightning & Love, Marcy Lovitch's Dirty Laundry - Part I.
March 27: Deasy's A Story's Worth, Elizabeth Summerlin's BABE - The Lonestar Girl, Ruhlman's Kat Woman, Donna Bailey's Something Could Happen - Part 2.
March 28: Meadows' Haiti La Rain, Urdang's Lightning, Amy Hart's Mother Maroon.
March 29 (mat): Hudson's Mrs. Shakespeare, Kane's Pirate Queen, Basia McCoy's Golda.
March 29 (eve): Dalton's Even Supermodels Get The Blues, Hollingshead's That's My Time; Emma Palzere's Live From The Milky Way...It's Gilda Radner!.
March 30 (mat): Hammel's Rude Swings; Deylin's Faces Of Love; Lovitch's Laundry; Karen DeMauro's Faces Of God.
March 30 (eve): Harpham's All The Way Home; Summerlin's BABE, Pasquale's Nellie Bly.
Producer and founder Emma Palzere started the Festival in 1990 after touring around the country in the one-woman The Belle Of Amherst. She got a couple of friends together and in 1991 staged a weekend marathon. The next year, Womenkind hooked up with the One Dream Theatre for a weeklong event with 12 participants. By 1993, 25 performers were taking part. "It's a collaborative, cooperative work," says Palzere of the Festival. "Our only requirement is that there be one woman on stage. There can be male playwrights, male directors, and any genre. We look for the diversity within the solo format."
For tickets ($15 per show, $35 Festival pass) and information call the "Womenkind VII" hotline at (212) 769-6814. The Festival, staged by Cosmic Leopard Productions, takes place at the One Dream Theatre, 232 West Broadway in downtown Manhattan.
--By David Lefkowitz