THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CRYSTAL FIELD
AUNT SUSAN AND HER TENNESSEE WALTZ
DUE TO COVID, THE REST OF THE RUN HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
BY TOBY ARMOUR
DIRECTED BY JOAN KANE
INCIDENTAL MUSIC BY PETER DIZOZZA
The story of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Juno Frankie Pearce and others in their great struggle for a woman’s right to vote.
April 28 to May 15, 2022
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (btw 9th & 10th Street)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM
Tickets: $18 gen. adm., $15 seniors, students & groups of 10 or more.
Runs :90 minutes plus intermission. Previews April 28, 29. Critics are invited on or after April 30 (opening date). Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Hcx6egXprb5JW7pN8
Susan B. Anthony spent a lifetime fighting for women’s suffrage. Dying in 1906, she could not see the struggle to its end, but she never doubted its outcome. “Failure is impossible” were her famous words. The play’s first act is dedicated to her campaigns for women’s suffrage in the 19th century. Act Two fast-forwards to a hot sweltering summer in Nashville in 1920. The state legislature is being called into special session. Its vote is crucial. If Tennessee, the 36th state, ratifies the 19th Amendment, it will become law of the land. After 72 years, women will at last have the right to vote. If Tennessee fails, the Amendment will sink into obscurity.
Carrie Chapman Catt, Susan B. Anthony’s chosen successor, faces a powerful opposition. The railroad lobby, the liquor lobby and corporate moguls have all come together to use bribery, threats, slander, double dealing, and anything else they can think of against her. Exhausted by the heat, beset by migraines, betrayals, doubts and bad news, Ms. Catt is fighting the battle of her life. But she is not alone. Juno Frankie Pearce, a long-time Tennessee warrior for women’s rights and African-American rights, is on her side. So is a first time legislator in the Tennessee House named Harry Burn–or is he? It all comes down to one vote. This is their story.
The play was developed at Theater for the New City under the direction of the late George Ferencz between 2014 and 2020. Part of it was presented by TNC as a radio play to celebrate Women’s History Month from March 28 to to April 11, 2021. This onstage premiere comes at a time when the sabotage of our voting rights is claiming a place in our national consciousness that rivals its urgency in the 1920s.
Brittyn Dion Bonham
Hadley Boyd (as Carrie Chapman Catt)
John Cencio Burgos
Debra Khan-Bey (as Juno Frankie Pearce)
Daniel Wilkes Kelley
Kathleen Moore (as Susan B. Anthony)
Set Design – Mark Marcante
Costume Design – Billy Little
Lighting Design – Bruce A! Kraemer
Sound Design – Joy Linscheid
Props Master – Lytza Colon
Composer – Peter Dizzoza
Production Stage Manager – Leila Wright
Toby Armour‘s plays have been presented in NYC, LA, Boston, Denver, elsewhere in the U.S., as well as Scotland, Ireland and London. “Voices from the Black Canyon” won the Lewis National Playwriting Competition. “Fanon’s People,” which debuted at TNC, won four Dramalog awards when produced at the Fountain Theater in LA. She has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Arts Council, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, the Arizona Arts Commission, and the Jerome Foundation. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her last two plays at TNC, both directed by George Ferencz, were “155 First Avenue” (2012) and “155 Through the Roof” (2014). She is grateful to Crystal Field, the late George Ferencz, Peter Dizozza, Joan Kane and the actors for all their support and wisdom in this production and she is ever grateful to Theater for the New City for its many years of making courageous and exciting theater in New York.
Joan Kane (director) is a playwright, dramaturg, actor and educator. She is the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus (http://egoactus.com/). She has directed “Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara” by Fengar Gael at HERE, “Play Nice!” by Robin Rice at 59e59 Theaters, “I Know What Boys Want” by Penny Jackson at Theatre Row, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” in Oslo, Norway and “Kafka’s Belinda” in Prague. She was awarded Best Director in the 2016 United Solo Festival and was named to the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by nytheatre.com. She graduated from the High School of Performing Arts, studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse with Sanford Meisner and earned an MFA in Directing from The New School and an MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. She is a member of SDC, DG, NYWITF and LPTW. She thanks Crystal Field and Mark Marcante for their support and their passion for keeping theater alive during the maddening days we are living in. (JoanKane.us)
Peter Dizozza (Musical Settings, Piano) has accompanied plays by Maria Micheles (including “Night Park” at TNC), Leah Maddrie, Myron D. Cohen, Bruce Jay Friedman, Helen Slayton Hughes and Richard Vetere. He has also provided scripts and scores for a wide range of independent “Cinema VII” projects including “A Question of Solitude” and “TentagatneT,” an experimental play produced by La MaMa in its Experimenta! 2007 Program. He appeared in 2020-2021 in TNC’s weekly “Open ‘Tho Shut” walk-by theater productions, which demonstrated the theater’s ability to serve its neighborhood culturally during the lockdown.
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