4-10-21: THE CHIPWOMAN'S FORTUNE on the Metropolitan Virtual Playhouse
Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 08:40 pm EDT 04/06/21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 08:29 pm EDT 04/06/21

Pioneering Playwright's Broadway Debut

by Willis Richardson

First Play by an African American Playwright on Broadway

April 10, 2021 at 8 pm

Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse presents a new free "screened" reading, with its groundbreaking, signature visual wizardry, live-streamed at no charge, with talkback to follow: THE CHIPWOMAN'S FORTUNE, by Willis Ricahrdson.

4/10/2021 at 8:00 pm (Eastern) through 4/14/2021 at 10:00 pm (Eastern)
Running Time: 1 hour
Free of charge
Available at: www.MetropolitanPlayhouse.org/watchchipwomansfortune

The video will be available through Wednesday, 4/14/21 on the Playhouse webpage, the Metropolitan Playhouse YouTube channel, and the Metropolitan Playhouse Facebook page.

Well-loved, but destitute, Aunt Nancy lives in the home of Liza and Silas, rent free. When Silas loses his job over a debt he cannot pay, his suspicions that Nancy is hiding a fortune turn his sympathy to resentment. When he learns her son Jim is just freed from jail, he is ready to turn her out of the house. But his wife and daughter's objections, and a surprise visit from Jim, show the fine line between faith and folly.
The first play by an African American writer to reach Broadway, The Chipwoman's Fortune is a subtly subversive and deeply hopeful portrait of life defying expectations. Ultimately an appeal to goodness in the face of crimes real and imagined, it is a complicated drama pitting generosity against judgment in a world of uncertainty.

Discussion including audience participation follows the reading with Michael Dinwiddie, Playwright and Associate Professor at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.


WILLIS RICHARDSON (1889-1977), born in Wilmington, NC, in 1889, was raised in Washington, DC, and became absorbed in literature as a boy. With early encouragement from WEB DuBois's "Brownie's Book," and publication of his short play, "The Deacon's Awakening," in The Crisis, (1921), he submitted 1922's "The Chip Woman's Fortune" to the Ethiopian Art Players. Their production of the play became the first play by an African American author produced on Broadway, running in 1923 at The Frazee Theatre. Among later plays, The Broken Banjo (1926), is probably his best known work and received the Crisis Spingarn Prize for drama, as did his Bootblack Lover the following year. In spite of his prolific output, he had only modest recognition as a dramatist. He worked at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing from 1910 until his retirement in 1955, and six of his full length plays were never published. Richardson received an "Outstanding Pioneer" Award from AUDELCO (Audience Development C
ommittee) in 1977, announced posthumously, a mere few days after his death.

Metropolitan presents readings every Saturday at 8 pm, Eastern Time, and varied programing every other Wednesday evening as part of The Wednesday Alternative

April 14, 2021
"The Past is Present"
A panel discussion of the inspiration and challenges to be found in works of the past
featuring Diego Carvajal, Rachael Langton, Melissa Maxwell, Alex Roe, and Amanda Vincenti

April 17 and 24, 2021 - a Serial
by Charles Foster
High melodrama on the little screen

The VIRTUAL PLAYHOUSE began on March 28, 2020, and has evolved in the year to be a video/stage hybrid that far exceeds the expectations of online readings. Exploring the possibilities of "remote" ensemble, Metropolitan has pushed the envelope of Zoom broadcasts, with increasingly sophisticated virtual settings and sound design. Each reading is enhanced by conversation with the artists and a guest scholar for an hour-long live entertainment every Saturday night. Reaching an audience across the country and around the globe, the presentation of the forgotten one-act plays is an ideal way to pursue the theater's mission exploring America's diverse theatrical history.

METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE, in its 29th season, explores America’s diverse theatrical heritage through lost plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. The theater received a 2011 OBIE Grant from The Village Voice for its ongoing productions that illuminate who we are by revealing where we have come from. Called ""invaluable"" by the Voice, Backstage and Talkin'?Broadway, Metropolitan has earned further accolades from The New York Times and The New Yorker. Other awards include a Victorian Society of New York Outstanding Performing Arts Group, 3 Aggie Awards from Gay City News, 21 nominations for NYIT Awards (3 winners), and 6 AUDELCO Viv Award nominations.

The Playhouse's virtual readings serve to help us compensate performing artists, so particularly hurt during this long ""pause.""
Information about the theater's ARTISTS RELIEF FUND may be found at
Link http://www.MetropolitanPlayhouse.org/watchchipwomansfortune

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