The Schoolhouse Theater is proud to present the Westchester Premier of Joan Ross Sorkin’s (mis)UNDERSTANDING MAMMY: The Hattie McDaniel Story, directed by multi award-winning director Seret Scott. This sizzling drama with music is the second production of TST’s 2023 Season and will be performed at the Performance Space at 3 Owens Road in Croton Falls with performances running on weekends from Friday July 14th through Sunday July 30th.
(mis)UNDERSTANDING MAMMY: The Hattie McDaniel Story originally played at the Emerging Artists Theatre and then at The Chicago Humanities Festival and garnered Drama Desk and Black Theatre Alliance nominations for Capathia Jenkins
(mis)UNDERSTANDING MAMMY, a tour de force, one-woman play with music, is a heart-breaking story of stardom and struggle in America, examined through the lens of Hattie McDaniel’s remarkable life. Ms. McDaniel achieved stardom by becoming the first African American to win an Academy Award, but she paid a high price for fame. From her humble beginnings in Denver in the early days of radio to her legendary performance in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel broke many barriers, but her career was cut short by attacks instigated by none other than Walter White, the Executive Director of the NAACP.
Myra Lucretia Taylor (Hattie McDaniel) Broadway: Tina! (Tony Nomination Best Featured Actress) Nine, Macbeth, Electra, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, MuleBone, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Off Broadway: The Rolling Stone (LCT), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova; Lortel nom., Best Featured Actress in a Musical), School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (MCC; Special Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble), Familiar (Playwrights Horizons; Lortel and OCC nominations for Best Featured Actress in a Play). Regional: School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (CTG; LA Drama Critics’ Circle Best Ensemble –nomination) Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown Theatre Festival, world premiere), Our Town (Long Wharf), Mary (Goodman), The Old Settler (McCarter, Long Wharf, world premieres). National Tour: Wicked (first African American Madame Morrible). International: The Winter’s Tale, Pericles (member Royal Shakespeare Company). TV: Cortex, Hunters, Atlanta, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Girls, Madam Secretary, Elementary, Instinct. Film: Ben is Back, The Big Sick, Catfight, Bushwick, Madeline’s Madeline. WEB: Best Thing You’ll Ever Do (Indie Web nom., Best Supporting Actress.) Ms. Taylor is a Fox Fellow.
Joan Ross Sorkin is a playwright, musical theatre bookwriter and lyricist, and opera librettist. Plays: (mis)Understanding Mammy (Drama Desk nomination, Capathia Jenkins); The Sacrifice; Anyplace But Here; and many others (NYC/regional). Musicals: Black Swan Blues; Monet; In The Theatre; The Real McCoy; Dandelion; Isabelle and The Pretty-Ugly Spell; Go Green! Opera: Strange Fruit; White Witch; The Reef. Member: Dramatists Guild, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, ASCAP, and Opera America. She is the President of the Board of the York Theatre Company.
Director Seret Scott’s groundbreaking work as actor and director has taken her from Broadway (My Sister My Sister and For Colored Girls) to so many well-known theaters nationally (The Old Globe in San Diego) and winner of American Theater’s prestigious Gordon Davidson Award (Best director in America). On film she was in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby and the extraordinary Losing Ground, which A.O.Scott called “…a puzzle and a marvel…” She currently is the Vice Chair of the American Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers.
For tickets to (mis)UNDERSTANDING MAMMY: The Hattie McDaniel Story, visit www.theschoolhousetheater.org or call 914-473-7111.
About Schoolhouse Theater
The mission of the Schoolhouse Theater is to enhance the life of the community through live, professional, regional, theater. Our goal is to support and promote the theatrical arts, to encourage actors, directors and playwrights, as well as to support and promote other art forms. This is a wide umbrella, enabling us to create opportunities for artists to challenge themselves and grow, and to enrich the lives of student interns, senior volunteers, and audience members. All of our theater programming, including main stage productions, workshops, classes, and staged readings, introduces our patrons to award-winning playwrights as well as emerging talented voices. Our dedication to professional, earnest and creative achievement engenders pride and respect in the lives of all participants, and helps audiences and the community to develop an appreciation for and enjoyment of theater and the arts.
The Schoolhouse Theater, a nonprofit organization, is a venerable cultural center devoted to professional theater, live music, and entertainment at the highest possible standard. Our galleries host local artists, sculptors, and photographers from all over the county. We have a gift shop, a 99 seat theater, an art gallery and classrooms. We rent our space for events, weddings and seminars. We are committed to bringing new, innovative and ground breaking programs and plays to the community. It is a place where new work is explored, and a place where things begin. Through classes for children, live theater, live music, comedy, slam poetry and story telling we have sought to be a landmark home for all of the arts in Westchester County. The beautiful building that houses The Schoolhouse Theater was formerly the Croton Falls elementary school. In 1983 founder Lee Popetransformed the building into a visual arts center. At that time the cafeteria, gym, and auditorium space was simply a white walled room with no risers and twelve borrowed lights. In 1987, Ms. Pope invited Manhattan’s Acorn Productions to bring their recently produced play, Bedroom Farce, by Alan Ayckbourn to the building. Starring Brooke Palance and Michael Wilding, its limited run was a huge success and The Schoolhouse Theater was born. Gradually over the years theatrical amenities were added and a number of talented local theater companies presented shows in the space. But it was Pamela Moller Kareman, former Artistic Director of Acorn, who stayed in close touch, and she and Lee Pope charted a clear vision of growth for The Schoolhouse with its unique intimate space. In 1998 The Schoolhouse Theater became a full fledged not for profit professional regional theater. The Schoolhouse has been honored by visits from a number of theater luminaries including playwrights Jules Feiffer, George Furth, Tina Howe, Michael Weller, and Paul Zindel, who all came to see productions of their work and lend support to our theater. We have successfully launched five productions to Off-Broadway: Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Ingmar Bergman’s Nora, S.N. Behrman’s Biography, Elaine Del Valle’s Brownsville Bred and The Enlightenment of Mr. Mole.