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The 3rd Annual

Liz Smith Reading Series

Celebrating Women’s History Month

March 2020

at the

Cherry Lane Theatre

38 Commerce Street

Tuesday, March 3rd at 2:00
by Lindsay Joelle
directed by Taylor Reynolds

New York City sanitation workers Danny and Marlowe have nothing in common except a 20-ton garbage truck. Thrown together by the job, they spend their shifts bickering, one-upping each other, and practicing the secret art of "mongo" — searching for treasure in the trash. But as their lives become increasingly entwined, they learn that some things are easier to toss than others. An unconventional buddy comedy in a garbage truck.  

LINDSAY JOELLE is a New York-based playwright, lyricist, and librettist. Plays include The Messengers, TRAYF (Theater J, Penguin Rep, New Rep), The Garbologists, and A Small History of Amal, Age 7 (Forward Flux & Pratidhwani). She has received an Audible Emerging Playwright Commission, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Commission, National New Play Network grant, Rita Goldberg MFA Playwriting Prize, Irving Zarkower Award, two Kilroys List honorable mentions, and has presented work with PlayPenn, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Curious Theatre, City Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, New Georges, and The Lark. Finalist for the Eugene O'Neill NPC, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, American Blues Theatre's Blue Ink Award, The Leah Ryan Prize, Jewish Plays Project, among others. NNPN Writer-in-Residence at Curious Theatre, alumna of Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Lab, the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, Columbia University (BA), and CUNY/Hunter (MFA). www.LindsayJoelle.com

Tuesday, March 10th at 2:00


by Nambi E. Kelley
directed by Signe Harriday

Three Black men.  Three different generations.  More than a hospital room, a television screen, or even the discovered notes in a discarded sax, this play, witnessed through the pen of a conflicted television writer named Hannibal, spans time, reality, and blood memory searching for the moral compass of these three respective generations. Blood explores the connective spine of love, ancestry, and survival.

NAMBI E. KELLEY is an award-winning actress and playwright working regionally, internationally, and on television. She is the winner of the Prince Prize 2019 and the Dramatist Guild Foundation Writers Alliance Grant, and she was a finalist for the Primus Prize in 2015 and 2019. Her adaptation of Native Son has enjoyed productions across the country including Yale Repertory Theatre, and the play received its NYC premiere at The Duke on 42nd Street through The Acting Company.

Thursday, March 12th at 2:00


by Lyra Yang

directed by Helen Young

From 1910-40, roughly 175,000 Chinese immigrated to the United States through Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. Paper Dream is the story of four Chinese women: a self-proclaimed aristocrat, her husband’s second wife’s obedient daughter, a working-class mother, and a talented young prostitute as they find themselves trapped like prisoners in a “land of freedom.” It is about the ghosts they left behind, the spirit of who they are, and the dream of what they might become. A haunting period drama that reckons with the spectre of nationalism still stalking immigrants at America’s borders

LYRA YANG is a Baltimore-based playwright and filmmaker originally from China. Her play The Golden Son was showcased at Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Page Festival (D.C.) and produced as a second season play at UMD. Paper Dream received staged reading at Spooky Action Theatre’s New Play Series (D.C.), Avant Bard Theatre’s Scripts in Play Festival 2019 (Arlington), Silk Road Rising (Chicago), Three Cats Production’s New Play Festival 2019 (Chicago), Chicago Brokenbell Read, and was nominated for L. Arnold Weissberg Award and Playwright Center's fellowship. World Behind the Fence was commissioned by Nothing Without a Company for Chicago New World Play World Festival (2019). Her other plays have been showcased at American Dramatist Guild’s New Play Workshop, Chicago Dramatist, Round House Theatre (D.C.), Chicago Livingroom Playmaker and Tradewind Arts Asian American Artist (Kansas). Her short film Freya (2019) won the Best Narrative Short at Innovation II Film and Music Festival, official selection of Chinese American Film Festival and CKF International Film Festival (UK). ZI (2017) won the Best Original Screenplay at UMD film festival. Alumna of Northwestern University (MFA) and Television Academy Program.  

Tuesday, March 17th at 2:00


by Emma Gibson

directed by Valentina Fratti

Sorrel is busy preparing for her wedding even though her fiancé has just died, and Maria’s eyebrows are still not growing back. Gerry wants to know if the weather will improve so that he can lie on his back in the grass, and Eric’s wife has someone else’s heart beating inside her. Through a series of interweaving accounts, Water in My Hands, lays bare the power of grief, and asks, ‘how do we move on when we are haunted by the life that we have not yet lived?’  

EMMA GIBSON is a British theatre-maker, now living in Philadelphia, PA. In the UK she worked as an actress in London, Edinburgh, on tour and regionally around the UK in both new writing and classical theatre, for BBC radio drama, and film. In Philadelphia she has performed with many local companies, and as the founding producing artistic director of Tiny Dynamite (www.tinydynamite.org) she has produced over 20 productions ranging from Scottish one acts, to full length plays that integrate complex technology in performance.  Tiny Dynamite has received several award honors including: 2018 Barrymore nomination for Perfect Blue (best media design – Jorge Cousineau), 2017 /2018 June & Steve Wolfson Award nomination for emerging theatre company, 2016 Pew Centre for Arts & Heritage Project Award, and 2011 Knight Arts Challenge Award for ‘a Play, a Pie, and a Pint’.  As a writer, she has a MA in Creative and Critical Writing and in the UK worked as a freelance journalist for The Guardian Newspaper. Her play Water In My Hands, was selected in August 2018 for The Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival and in March 2019 for Spooky Action Theatre (DC), New plays in development series. Her second play, When We Fall, is in development.  Emma also teaches and directs Shakespeare at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr.

Tuesday, March 31 at 2:00


by Lisa Ramirez

dramaturgy by Morgan Jenness

directed by Lisa Peterson

On the day of their brother Bobby’s funeral, in the now abandoned house where they all grew up, Jackie and Grace engage in an emotional, high-stakes struggle to dominate each other’s opposing version of the events that lead to their brother’s untimely and tragic death. Amidst the many voices of the Chorus of the Past and Ghosts of the Present – all living within the house – the sisters are overtaken by unfathomable memories about their powerful absent father, profoundly talented younger brother, and the family’s legacy of addiction and confused cultural identity – bringing them full circle.

LISA RAMIREZ’s EXIT CUCKOO  was first presented Off Broadway by the Working Theater (Colman Domingo - director) and subsequently toured in various theaters throughout the U.S. and Ireland. Other writing credits include, ART OF MEMORY, a dance theatre piece, commissioned by Company SoGoNo and presented at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater and the 3-Legged Dog in New York (Tanya Calamoneri - director); INVISIBLE WOMEN - RISE, Foundry Theatre & Domestic Workers United (Lisa Ramirez - director); TO THE BONE, originally a Working Theater commission, was a finalist for the 2012 NPN Smith Prize, the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the Ellen Stewart Award; ALL FALL DOWN was conceived/written in 2013/14 at INTAR during the Maria Irene Fornés Hispanic Playwrights in Residency Lab; Contributing playwright for IN MOTHER WORDS; presented at the Geffen Playhouse and various regional theatres (Lisa Peterson - director). In 2012/13 Lisa was part of the MENTOR PROJECT at the Cherry Lane Theatre where she wrote PAS DE DEUX (LOST MY SHOE) (Cynthia Hopkins - mentor). In September 2014, the Cherry Lane Theatre presented the world premiere of TO THE BONE (Lisa Peterson - director), Pulitzer Prize nominee, recipient of the 2015 NYCT Helen Merrill Emerging Playwriting Award and the 2015 KILROY LIST. Most recently wrote DOWN HERE BELOW, (Michael French - director), an adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s THE LOWER DEPTHS for the Ubuntu Theater Project and received its world premiere in May 2019.  


Reservations Suggested

Ticketing services provided by Ticket Central                                 212 279-4200, Noon to 8pm Daily. www.TicketCentral.com.

fall 2019

"Gliding around the stage in her muslin dress, she plays two women, almost simultaneously: the woman Loomis Todd is and the woman she has spent her life pretending to be. Acting like that, it’s a kind of poetry.

- Alexis Soloski, New York Times

“Chalfant is captivating and beguiling. Gilman and Fratti turn the 2019 audience at 59E59 into the 1931 crowd in the parlor at the Point Breeze Inn, as we hang on Todd’s every word and movement, enraptured by the house of cards she has carefully constructed.” 

- Mark Rifkin, This Week in New York

"Chalfant and A Woman of the World embrace that and teach us not only history, but a new way of looking at life. This is a must see." - Suzanna Bowling, Times Square Chronicle