Emmett Foster's solo, Emmett: A One Mormon Show, begins previews at New York Theatre Workshop Dec. 3, with an opening scheduled for Dec. 9. The piece is part of a trio of one-person shows comprising the theatre's 7th O Solo Mio Festival at the Workshop, which began Nov. 21 with Foster's So...It's Come To This.. Dael Orlandersmith's Monster starts previews Dec. 14, at which point all three shows will play in rotating repertory through Jan. 5, 1997.
So...It's Come To This is Foster's s story of how he took a detour along the path to the Celestial Kingdom and ended up a jaded, middle-aged Manhattan queen in recovery. Foster, producer Joseph Papp's assistant for 18 years, has crafted the show from his memories of growing up a gay Mormon in Santa Monica, as well as from his Manhattan night life of men, drugs, sex and alcohol. Kirk Jackson directs.
Foreman also revised his solo, Emmett: A One Mormon Show, which centers on his years as "a California Latter Day Sissy, fighting the daily temptations of Satan -- cigarettes, Coca-Cola and the choir's Brother Curtis." Kirk Jackson directs this piece as well.
For the third O Solo selection, Dael Orlandersmith, creator of the Off Broadway solo, Beauty's Daughter, will present Monster, in which a young artist strives to end the cycle of abuse and internalized racism that's been handed down through three generations of women. Given the opportunity to sell the family's Harlem home, Theresa (Orlandersmith) must choose between freeing herself from ghosts of sins past or staying true to the building tenants who don't want to move. Peter Askin directs the show, which opens Dec. 17.
Founded in 1979, winners of a 1991 Obie Award for sustained excellence, Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Theatre Workshop vaulted into international prominence in 1995 as the producers of Rent, which later moved to Broadway and won both the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award. Asked about the Festival, managing director Nancy Diekmann told Playbill On-Line, "We wanted to do it now because Dael and Emmett are strong performers and especially strong writers."
For tickets ($25, $15 for 1-hr pre-show rush) and information about the O Solo Mio Festival, call (212) 460-5475.
-- By David Lefkowitz