Merkerson, Dee and Henderson to Star in New Federal's Baraka Reading and Shange Fest

News   Merkerson, Dee and Henderson to Star in New Federal's Baraka Reading and Shange Fest
S. Epatha Merkerson, Ruby Dee and Stephen McKinley Henderson will be among the participants in two upcoming events at the New Federal Theatre.

The first event is a reading on Jan. 28 of selected short stories from Amiri Baraka's new book, "Tales of The Out & The Gone." Dee, Henderson, Rome Neal, Lee Gundersheimer and David Shake will star. Baraka's 1964 play Dutchman is currently at the Cherry Lane Theatre starring Dulé Hill ("The West Wing").

The second event is a festival entitled Ntozake Shange: A Retrospective, which will run Feb. 7-March 4 and will feature a variety of Shange's works, including Boogie Woogie Landscape, A Photograph: Lovers In Motion, From Okra To Greens / A Different Kind Of Love Story, Laila's Dream and Shange's adaptation of Mother Courage, in which Merkerson will star on Feb. 11.

Shange will star in her new one-act play, It Hasn't Always Been This Way, directed by Dianne McIntyre, which will run Feb. 21-March 4.

As part of the festival, musicians, choreographers, directors, musicians and poets will participate in panel discussions. Shange is best known as the writer of the Tony-nominated 1976 play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When The Rainbow Is Enuf.

Merkerson received a Tony nomination for The Piano Lesson and has also appeared in Fucking A and Birdie Blue, among other plays. She has starred as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on "Law & Order" and won Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for "Lackawanna Blues." Dee's credits include Boesman and Lena, Wedding Band, Saint Lucy's Eyes and the original Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. Her screen credits include Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" and "Do the Right Thing."

Henderson has appeared on Broadway in Dracula, the Musical; Drowning Crow; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; and King Hedley II and Off-Broadway in Seven Guitars, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Jitney, A Raisin in the Sun and the upcoming King Hedley II at Signature Theatre Company.

All of the events take place at the Abrons Arts Center at 466 Grand Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For reservations call (212) 353-1176. For more information visit

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