Mercedes Ruehl, Chong, Pryor Headline "Women Center Stage" Festival, July 7-Aug. 29

News   Mercedes Ruehl, Chong, Pryor Headline "Women Center Stage" Festival, July 7-Aug. 29
The Goat star Mercedes Ruehl, Def Poetry Jam's Staceyann Chin and famous daughters Precious Chong and Rain Pryor are among the performers at the fourth annual "Women Center Stage" festival at The Culture Project's 45 Bleecker Theatre, July 7-Aug. 29.

Lynn Redgrave, Dorothy Parker, Virginia Woolf, Joan of Arc and Martha Mitchell are among the women celebrated in the festival which features works of theatre, dance, music, comedy and poetry — highlighting emerging female artists. The theatre pieces range from readings to workshops to solo performances.

Among the shows featured are:

  • Opening Night: A Tribute to Lynn Redgrave (July 7) The inaugural dedication of the festival, which will collect donations throughout its run for Ellen's Run Breast Cancer charity, in honor of the artist. The invitation-only evening will present speeches, songs and reading to Redgrave and friends.
  • Pictures in Smoke: Pieces of Dorothy Parker adapted by Heather Bucha (July 8-10) A "cabaret-style staged reading" centering on the famous literary critic and 1920's personality.
  • Her Holy Water: A Black Girl's Rock Opera by Imani Uzuri (July 9) - A story "told through drum n' bass arias, transformational ballads and soulful electronica, interspersed with vignettes."
  • The Porcelain Penelope Freakshow by Precious Chong (July 11-14) The daughter of "Cheech and Chong" star Tommy Chong performs her racy solo in tribute to her father's timely release from prison.
  • The Waves adapted by Alessandro Fabrizi (July 12-13) The first part of a staging of Virginia Woolf's novel — which incorporates several chapters— to be presented at The Blue Heron in June.
  • A Girl Joan written and performed by Erica Berg (July 15-25) A one-woman piece "based on the imagined heart-life" of Joan of Arc, featuring original music by Katie Down.
  • Fried Chicken and Latkes by Rain Pryor (July 15-18) Daughter of comedian Richard Pryor presents an autobiographical show about her life as the conflicted child of a black father and a Jewish mother.
  • Emmett, Down in My Heart by Clare Coss (July 25-26) A new play based on the case of Emmett Louis Till, in which a 14-year old African-American boy was murdered in the Mississippi Delta in 1955 while a popular white teacher and preacher's daughter idled by. Sarah Peterson directs star Mercedes Ruehl.
  • Border Clash by Staceyann Chin (Aug. 5-20) Broadway Def Poetry Jam star blends "slam poetry, autobiographical story-telling, sharp-witted political commentary, and a fresh new physicality" in this new solo.
  • Salon Night (Aug. 8) Three plays presented in one evening: The Wheels of The Bus Go - A deaf girl signs her trials of riding the bus to school everyday while the interpreter orates to the audience; Jewish Mothers - A "drag monologue duet focusing on Jewish feminist folklore — the biblical story of Judith 'giving head' and the myth of golem 'throwing golem.'"; Wunderkind - Lauren Rosen's adaptation of Carson McCuller's story of a young musical prodigy.
  • Poetry Playwrighting Project by Deb Margolin, Julia Jordan, Staceyann Chin and Ellen McLaughlin (Aug. 9-18) Female playwrights compose a single program of "playlets" inspired by the work of a female poet.
  • State of the Fucking Union by Julie Goldman (Aug. 11-20) The comedian musician performs her new one-woman show where our alien president, infectious reality television and fashion-savvy queers who can plan a wedding but not their own all support her thesis: "The world has gone insane."
  • Love Bomb by Jessi Klein (Aug. 13-20) The stand-up comedian workshops her new show "about love, dating, and post 9/11 anxiety".
  • Martha Mitchell Speaks by Jodi Rothe (Aug. 22-23) Patricia Barry stars as the whistle-blowing wife of Richard Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell who was at the center of the Watergate Scandal.
  • Belfast Blues by Geraldine Hughes (Aug. 23-27) A solo show about the scribe's war-torn childhood in Ireland and her move to an America as a teenager.
  • Her Hair Went with Her by Zina Camblin (Aug. 26) Two African American women comb through the standards of beauty and stereotypes in search of their identities. Leigh Fondakowski directs.


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