Back in February 1997, Sun Flower, a one-woman show about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, played at Washington DC's Arena Stage and promised a New York transfer soon to follow. Numerous delays and cancellations followed, but on Oct. 30, Elizabeth Perry's solo show indeed bloomed again Manhattan. Not only that, the show has proved popular enough to extend for three weeks. However, no flower blooms forever, and Perry's play will end its run Dec. 12 at the John Houseman Studio Theatre.
The good news is that the White House has noticed the performance and invited Perry to participate in the "America's Millennium" celebration event in Washington DC. According to a Tony Origlio office spokesperson, Perry will perform at the Baird Auditorium in the Natural History Museum, Dec. 31, 4 PM. She's also booked for several engagements during the new year.
Sun Flower: The Life And Loves of Elizabeth Cady Stanton officially opened Oct. 30 and, at first, ran on the off-nights of The Wound of Love at the Houseman Studio. After that show closed Nov. 21, Sun Flower started a seven-performance-per-week schedule. For tickets and information call (212) 479-8513. Previews began Oct. 26
Affectionately called "the grand old woman of America," Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped found the Woman's Suffrage Association with Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone in 1869. Sun Flower moves from Stanton's childhood in New York to her marriage (with 7 children) with Henry Brester Stanton, a noted abolitionist. The play also captures Stanton's historic "Declaration of Sentiments" speech at the first convention on women's rights in 1848, and Stanton's 80th birthday party, held at the brand new Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
This fighter for women's rights shocked her peers with her outspokenness, and it wasn't until 1920, 18 years after her death, that an amendment was passed allowing women the right to vote. Why the title "Sun Flower"? It was the pseudonym name Stanton used when writing her newspaper columns. Actress Perry plays Stanton and 25 characters from the activist's life. The performer appeared on Broadway in the original Inherit The Wind, as well as Present Laughter (with George C. Scott), 84 Charing Cross Road and Coastal Disturbances. Sun Flower was first developed at the American Renaissance Theatre Corporation, which Perry co-founded in 1975.
Director Anita Khanzadian, former artistic director of the Theatre at St. Clements, has worked at the American Renaissance Theatre and the Interact Theatre Company.
-- By David Lefkowitz