TIME: 1pm to 4pm

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This year Palaver Tree will delve into works developed and inspired by the Joseph Papp Public Theater / New York Shakespeare Festival, and Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre.
The season will include one-night-only readings of plays and musicals. 

Our goal is to do a number of readings before this year's end. Our full theatrical productions will begin in January. 
Please prepare 1 - 2 monologues.  If you are auditioning for the musical presentations (revue), please prepare 1 song. 
NEEDED: Actors, singers, musicians, and tech support (sound booth, stage managers, and directors).
Here is a listing of our readings and productions for this season:


2 Men, 7 Women 

Tracey Scott Wilson

An ambitious black newspaper reporter, Yvonne Wilson, goes against her editor, Pat Morgan, to investigate a murder and finds the BEST story…but at what cost? Wilson explores the elusive nature of truth as the boundaries between reality and fiction, morality and ambition become dangerously blurred.



10 men, 5 women

Stephen Adly Guirgis

Set in a time-bending, seriocomically imagined world between Heaven and Hell, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is a philosophical meditation on the conflict between divine mercy and human free will that takes a close look at the eternal damnation of the Bible's most notorious sinner.



2 men, 2 women

Nilo Cruz

Set in 1991, during the Pan American Games in Havana and while the Russians are pulling out of Cuba, this play portrays two sisters, Maria Celia, a novelist, and Sofia, a pianist, serving time under house arrest. Passion infiltrates politics when a lieutenant assigned to their case becomes infatuated with Maria Celia, whose literature he has been reading.



3 men, 3 women

Diana Son

A poignant and funny play about the ways, both sudden and slow, that lives can change irrevocably,” says Variety. After Callie meets Sara, the two unexpectedly fall in love. Their first kiss provokes a violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate.



11 men

Richard Greenberg

Darren Lemming, the star center fielder of the world champion New York Empires, is young, rich, famous, talented, handsome and so convinced of his popularity that when he casually announces he’s gay, he assumes the news will be readily accepted by everyone. It isn’t. Friends, fans and teammates react with ambivalence, and when the slipping Empires call up the young phenom Shane Mungitt to close their games, the ambivalence turns to violence. Angry, lonely, guilt-ridden and confused, Darren finds some unlikely solace in the form of friendship with his new business manager, Mason Marzac—a brilliant but repressed guy, who, as everyone around him copes with disenchantment, blooms in the ecstatic discovery of baseball.



4 women, 10 men

Thulani Davis

This hard-hitting and intense drama, a sensation Off Broadway, is based on a murder that happened in a small town in Florida in 1952. Ruby McCollum, a black woman, is accused of killing a socially prominent white doctor. Famed writer Zora Neale Hurston is covering her trial for the national black press.



1 woman, 8 men

Larry Kramer

The Normal Heart is a largely autobiographical play by Larry Kramer. It focuses on the rise of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group.



2 women, 7 men

Eric Bogosian

Barry Champlain, Cleveland's controversial radio host, is on the air doing what he does best: insulting the pathetic souls who call in the middle of the night to sound off. Tomorrow, Barry's show is going into national syndication and his producer is afraid that Barry will say something that will offend the sponsors. This, of course, makes Barry even more outrageous. Funny and moving, off beat, outrageous and totally entrancing.



Arthur Miller

A car wreck on the slopes of Mt. Morgan puts poet and insurance tycoon Lyman Felt in the hospital. While Lyman recovers, two women meet in the hospital to discover that they are both married to him.



12 men

David Grim

Hungry for adventure and a way to make his mark, poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe becomes a spy for a dark wing of the British government and seals his hero Sir Walter Raleigh’s fate and his own. Set in the seedy underworld of Elizabethan England, this story of the meteoric rise and fall of Kit Marlowe—playwright, poet, spy and sexual outlaw—charts the ambitions of youth in a cold and unforgiving world.



 8 women, 3 men 

Alice Childress

About the romance between Julia, a Black seamstress, and Herman, her white lover, searingly addresses prejudice and ignorance in early 20th-century America.



2 men, 3 women,

George C. Wolfe

THE COLORED MUSEUM has electrified, discomforted, and delighted audiences of all colors, redefining our ideas of what it means to be black in contemporary America. Its eleven “exhibits” undermine black stereotypes old and new and return to the facts of what being black means.




6 men, 6 women

Wallace Shawn

The action begins in the London flat of Lenora (Lemon), a rather frail, introspective young woman who tells us, with a chilling calm, why she rather admires the Nazis for their “refreshing” lack of hypocrisy, and who then, in a series of flashbacks, explains how she came to hold these views. We meet her abrasive American-born father, to whom profit and business success are foremost, and her retiring mother who wishes that love and kindness were more prevalent but is easily reconciled to their absence. But, most important, we meet a family friend, Danielle (known as Aunt Dan), an Oxford don obsessed with defending Henry Kissinger’s policies in Vietnam. Beguiling Lemon with tales of her wild days as an Oxford student, and of the amoral escapades of her diverse and often dissolute friends (depicted in brief, disquieting vignettes), Aunt Dan becomes the central force in Lemon’s life, eventually corrupting Lemon’s moral views to the point where even Aunt Dan’s death elicits no compassion. Instead Lemon, in a final, chilling monologue, methodically makes the case that bullies are our natural masters—and that reasonable man is, by nature, an armed killer who destroys others not only because it is necessary for survival but because it gives him pleasure.



Miguel Pinero

The play, which derives its name from the slang term given to a pedophile, tells the story of a white middle-class man accused of child molestation as he navigates the confines of a predominately Hispanic and black New York City Detention House.




4 women, 5 men

Suzan-Lori Parks

Hester Smith, the revered and reviled local abortionist, hatches a plan to buy her jailed son’s freedom—and nothing will deter Hester from her quest. In this wild-eyed blend of story and song, Hester’s branded letter A becomes a provocative emblem of vengeance, violence, and sacrifice.



Tony Kushner

In 1930s Berlin, a group of left-leaning friends struggle to understand the world around them as Hitler rises to power. However, while they claim to have lofty ideals, they do not partake in active resistance against Hitler. The main character, Agnes, is mainly concerned about keeping her rent-controlled apartment. Meanwhile, these events are contrasted with a parallel presentation of events in America in the 1980s by a modern day activist, Zillah, who insists on taking action to fight repression and authoritarianism.



Ntozake Shange  

7 Black women

Capturing the brutal, tender and dramatic lives of contemporary Black women, For Colored Girls... offers a transformative, riveting evening of provocative dance, music and poetry.



6 women, 6 men

David Rabe

Chrissy arrives in 1960s Philadelphia with the dream of becoming a successful dancer. Desperation leads her to a job at a sleazy nightclub called Big Tom's Boom Boom Room. While working at the nightclub, she explores love and sex with a variety of unsuitable partners of both genders and forms a friendship with a gay neighbor. She tries to resolve troubling issues in her life, including her mother who had wanted an abortion and memories of sexual abuse by her father.



4 women, 11 men

Ron Milner

Steve Carlton is a carefree high school student, not good enough to become the professional basketball player he'd like to be but never dreaming of the easy life provided by crime and pimping. His hard working mother becomes ill and his sinister neighbor Rico begins to pitch easy money. Steve's girl Mae, a cheerleader, dearly loves him. Under Rico's influence, Steve nearly decides to converted Mae into a prostitute. He sends her into the cellar with a middle aged lecher, but repents at the last moment and calls her back into his arms.



2 men, 1 woman

Elizabeth Egloff

Dora Hand lives by herself in a suburb on the Nebraska prairie. She’s gone through three husbands and now seems destined to play the lonely mistress to her married milkman, Kevin—until a swan crashes into her living room window and sets Dora on a harrowing journey. She names him Bill, and to all outward appearances, Bill is a charismatic and child-like man. At first endearing himself to Dora like a pet she can train, Bill quickly learns the ropes of being human: speech, dressing, checkers, beer…and love for his mistress. All at once, Dora finds herself dangerously entangled with the swan, whose animal devotion to her threatens her already neglected lover and ultimately her sense of self.



 3 women, 19 men

David Rabe

Depicts the ruthlessness of the Viet Cong and the brutalization of American troops and shows the effects of the war on combatants and noncombatants alike.



Sam Shepard

The setting is a farmhouse in the American West, inhabited by a family who has enough to eat but not enough to satisfy the other hungers that bedevil them. The father is a drunk; the mother a frowzy slattern; the daughter precocious beyond her years; and the son a deranged idealist. As the family decides to sell the house to raise money, the mother talks of running off to Europe or Mexico; the father sobers up and tries to take control; the daughter is blown up in the family car; and the son is left brutalized and bloodied. In the end the characters become a metaphor for the underside of American life—benighted innocents pursuing a dream that remains beyond their reach.



4 women, 5 men

Martin McDonaugh

Set on the island Inishmaan, off the Irish west coast in the year 1934. It is about a young man called Billy Claven, who has a physical handicap but is mentally healthy. He suffers from the lack of respect by the local people, which comes from his disability

No Place to be Somebody

Charles Gordone

No Place to Be Somebody is a 1969 play written by American playwright Charles Gordone. It was during his employment as a bartender in Greenwich Village that Gordone found the inspiration for his first major work, No Place to Be Somebody, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


Sticks and Bones

David Rabe

The black comedy focuses on David, a blind Vietnam War veteran who finds himself unable to come to terms with his actions on the battlefield and alienated from his family because they neither can accept his disability nor understand his wartime experience.



Lynn Nottage

Sweat switches between 2000 and 2008, telling the story of a group of friends that work together on the factory floor. When the plant threatens to cut wages and lay off workers, the friends turn against each other in their individual struggles to stay afloat.


The Big Funk

John Patrick Shanely

A series of self-revelations opens the book of life on the characters, drawing their view of life. From here we watch them interact: Omar throws knives for a living and muses about the state of the world. His understanding wife, Fifi, suddenly pregnant with twins, acts as a rudder for him, and often for his friend, Austin, an out of work actor, who believes the world would be a better place if everyone would do something, even one small act of kindness. He follows his own advice when he comes upon Jill, a young woman sitting in a bar, covered with grease. Jill had been attracted to Gregory, but on their first date, he berates her and covers her with petroleum jelly. When Austin finds her, he must break through her distrust of strangers and persuade her to let him clean her as an act of mercy. He succeeds and gives her a wonderful bubble bath, the cleansing becoming a metaphor for the play: that the big funk engulfing society will dissipate only if everyone will join in the purification process. A dinner party later reveals the zany and deep way in which the characters try to make things better, despite their obstacles and even their triumphs. The play’s theme is summed up by Austin, addressing the world in a very unique way, asking us all to chose love and life over neurosis and death.