The Pulitizer-Prize Winner As a Young Feminist

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At the age of 35, playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes has much to be proud of. A Yale graduate from West Philadelphia, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama last year for her play Water by the Spoonful and wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning musicalIn the Heights. And it turns out that she also […]

The Little-Told Story of Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln

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As the DVD of Spielberg’s latest epic, Lincoln, hit shelves last week, the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. was telling a different Lincoln story: that of Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, former slave Elizabeth Keckley. Keckley, author of Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, was […]

Dammit Mamet

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Warning: This post contains language which may be considered profane, sexist, ironic, feminist and/or totally quotidian. Oh Mamet. Mamet Mamet Mamet Mamet Mamet. Fuuuuucking Mamet.”Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting. In his tail? In his tongue.” Ask almost any theater practitioner what they like about David Mamet and they’ll tell you: […]

Is Forgiveness Overrated? “From White Plains” Raises Questions

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I’m a movie person, not a play person. Suspending reality in a dark room with a stage is not one of my fortes. And I’m drawn to movies with strong female characters, whether it’s Silence of the Lambs or Alien or Bridesmaids. So when someone told me “You’re going to love this Off-Broadway play about […]

The Barrier-Breaking Baby Dolls of Mardi Gras

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As Mardi Gras–Fat Tuesday–is celebrated today in New Orleans, we take a look at a newly revealed women’s “masking” tradition that has been revived in the city. The “Baby Doll” masking tradition at Mardi Gras in New Orleans developed from women who worked in “Black Storyville”–the “uptown” part of the legal red-light district that operated […]

Trains, Pullman Porters and a Woman’s Blues

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What do you get when you combine passionate individuals determined to survive with multi-generational family drama and two key moments in African American history? A pretty great new play, that’s what. Opening November 23 at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, Pullman Porter Blues, by Cheryl L. West (Jar the Floor, Before it Hits Home), takes […]

Lynn Nottage Brings 80 Years of Women, Race and Hollywood to the Stage

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Looking for an evening of entertainment that’s humorous, thought provoking and possibly paradigm changing? The West Coast premiere of African American Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage‘s new play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is your ticket. But it’s not your typical evening of theater. Directed by Jo Bonney and featuring Sanaa Lathan (The Cleveland Show, […]

B-Girls Take Control

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Ana “Rokafella” Garcia-Dionisio remembers glass on the floor and piss in the staircases of the 1970s Harlem and Bronx apartments where she grew up. “You had to be tough to survive,” she says. It was at that moment in the Bronx when we witnessed the birth of hip-hop. From the sparks of hardship, struggle and […]

Did Someone Say Vagina?

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As a theater director, the first person I thought of when I heard the news from Michigan was Eve Ensler. I’ve directed The Vagina Monologues twice and, despite unsettling doubts that the play does not actually work as the V-Day events intend (to end violence), I loved doing it both times. In theater speak, The Vagina […]

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sandra Bernhard

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I have never really understood Sandra Bernhard. It’s not that I haven’t tried. After admiring her fantastic turn as ballsy sexual harassment lawyer Caroline Poop on Ally McBeal, my absolutely favorite show at the time (1997) about my absolutely favorite “dead feminist,” I told a friend, “I’ve never really gotten the Sandra Bernhard thing.” “Have […]