Ella the Ungovernable

By David McDonald
Directed by David McDonald and Michele Baldwin
June 20 – July 7
JUN 20 - JUL 7; THU, FRI, SAT at 8 PM, SUN at 3 PM

Executive Director, Crystal Field


Ella the Ungovernable

June 20 – July 7, 2024
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM

Tickets: $18 General, $15 Students and Seniors
Run Time: 90 minutes, no intermission

155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Street)
New York, NY 10003

“Ella The Ungovernable” is a play based on the true story of 15 year-old Ella Fitzgerald’s incarceration and eventual escape from The New York Training School For Girls in 1933.

Ella had come to Yonkers, NY, from Virginia as part of The Great Northern Migration in the late 20s. Fairly soon after their arrival in Yonkers, Ella’s mother, Tempie, was killed in a car accident. Ella was left in the custody of her mother’s boyfriend, Joseph, who was rumored to have abused her.

She was soon sent to stay with an aunt in Harlem, who neglected her. Eventually, she ended up living on the streets of Harlem, where she served as a lookout for a house of prostitution. It was then that she was snapped up by the police, and eventually ended up at The Training School.

It is at The Training School where the majority of the action of the play transpires. The Training School of the 1920s was notorious for the physical and sexual abuse of the inmates. Just how did Ella and her fellow inmates both survive and endure? That is the crux of this powerful play, whose ultimate message of “don’t ever, ever, give up,” is intended as a rallying cry for these anxiety-ridden times. You will emerge from “Ella The Ungovernable,” enlivened, uplifted and empowered.

Ella The Ungovernable Original Trailer:

Ella The Ungovernable 2024 Promo Video:

From left to right, Christian Neal, plays Ella; Tyra Hughes, playing Alice; Ebony Nixon, playing Althea; Shadenia Sivad, playing Marie; Michele Baldwin, playing Tempie.

Ella – Christian Neal
Alice – Tyra Hughes
Althea – Ebony Nixon
Dorothy – Gabrielle Farley
Tempie – Michele Baldwin
Marie – Shadenia Sivad
Joseph – Joe Grosso
Aunt Edna – Simone Black
Dr. Moreno – George Pappas
Superintendent Morse – Rita Rehn
Ralph Cooper – Davon Cochran
Mr. Ellison – Huston Pigford
Social Worker – Geneva Turner
Dr. Grant – Martin Challinor
O’Boyle – Michael McGrath
Dr. Ross – Lee Waldrop
Prison Bully/Understudy – Autumn McCree

Production Team
David McDonald – Co-Director
Michele Baldwin – Co-Director
Jasmine Hyman – Production Manager
Sound Design – Dave Swanson
Lighting Design – Alexander Bartenieff
(More To Come)


COVID Protocol:
Wearing of masks is suggested in the lobby, restrooms and performance spaces at Theater for the New City, but they are not required.