After playing to acclaim at Arena Stage's Old Vat Theatre in February and doing a one-night stint in June Off-Broadway, Elizabeth Perry will bring her solo show, Sun Flower, to NYC for four nights, Jan. 10-13.
Sun Flower looks at the life and achievements of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Affectionately called "the grand old woman of America," Stanton helped found the Woman's Suffrage Association with Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone in 1869. Sun Flower traces Stanton's life, from childhood in New York to 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.
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 will play Stanton and 25 characters from the activist's life. The performer appeared on Broadway in Inherit The Wind, 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. All four current performances go to benefit ARTC.
According to production spokesperson Sam Rudy, producers were hoping to bring the show to New York for a commercial Off-Broadway run in March (Women's History Month) but were deterred by the number of theatres already booked. Designing Sun Flower are Barbara Forbes (costumes), Jim Spiers (lighting) and Jeffrey Willens (sound).
For tickets ("donations welcome but not mandatory") to Sun Flower, staged by the American Renaissance Theatre at the Neighborhood Playhouse, 340 East 54th St., call (212) 841-0884.
--By David Lefkowitz