Actress-writer Vinie Burrows will begin previews of her new one-woman show, Rose McClendon -- Harlem's Gift to Broadway April 14 at Off Off-Broadway's Henry Street Settlement's Abrons Art Center. Douglas Turner Ward directs the piece, which opens April 18.
Rose McClendon is based on the life of the great African-American stage actress who was in 11 Broadway shows, including the original company of Porgy, playing the role of Serena more than 2000 times. Other credits were Justice, In Abraham's Bosom, Deep River and Mulatto, written especially for her by poet Langston Hughes. At the time, she was called the "Dark Duse" and the "Sepia Barrymore."
Burrows's eighth one-woman show features scenes from the shows McClendon performed in, as well as improvisations on the roles Burrows feels McClendon could have played if Broadway had been able to use her full talents.
Burrows has appeared on Broadway seven times, with actors such as Helen Hayes, Ossie Davis, Claude Rains and Mary Martin. When she became frustrated with the lack of roles for serious actors of color, she began developing her own shows, including her first, Walk Together Children.
Tickets are $20 and available by calling the Ticket Central box office (212) 279-4200. The Henry Street Settlement's Abrons Art Center is located at 466 Grand Street. -- By Christine Ehren