A reading of Kirya Traber's newest play. 1948, Gladys Bentley, a once (in)famous Harlem renaissance performer known for breaking the rules for gender and sexuality, finds herself at a crossroads. When she is denied a permit to perform, she is threatened with professional ruin and time in prison if she doesn't "change her act" on stage, and in her personal life.

Kirya Traber (Playwright) is an actress, playwright, and cultural worker. She is currently in residence at Lincoln Center Education, and Naked Angels' theatre company, and is faculty-coordinator at the New School for Drama. Kirya is the recipient of the California Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Robert Redford's Sundance foundation award for Activism in the Arts, Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Certificate of Recognition, an Astrea Lesbian Writers Fund award for Poetry, and is a former judge for the LAMBDA Literary awards in LGBT Drama. Kirya has toured the United States and Canada as a poet and solo performance artist More at


Nia Witherspoon (Director, Smith BA/Stanford PhD) is a multidisciplinary Brooklyn/Phoenix based artist investigating the social and spiritual realities of blackness, gender/sexuality, and intergenerational trauma. Described as “especially fascinating” by Backstage Magazine, Witherspoon has been the recipient of multiple awards, including: Astraea Foundation’s Lesbian Writer Award and Global Arts Fund Grant, Downtown Urban Theatre Festival’s “Audience Award,” a three-month long Wurlitzer Foundation residency, Lambda Literary’s Emerging Playwriting Fellowship, a CASH Grant from Theatre Bay Area, and a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. Her work for the stage has been featured at HERE, the National Black Theatre, BAAD, and the Painted Bride (Philadelphia), among various venues in the Bay Area, including The Lab, The Garage, La Peña, and Theatre Artaud.


Suzanne Darrell is a native of Bermuda, an actor, opera singer, and playwright. Off-Broadway credits include Katori Hall's Children of Killers (Mama) and Finding Home, (Nattie) at the Billie Holiday Theatre, Amina Henry'sThe Minstrel Show and the Harlem 9s 48 Hours in Harlem (III). Regional:  Guantanamo- Honor Bound to Defend Freedom (Gareth Pierce) and Nickel and Dimed (Carlie, Melissa). She received her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and is a proud member of AGMA and SAG-AFTRA. 


The brilliant Alfie Fuller attended the New School for Drama's MFA acting program and has performed on stages along the east coast from Atlanta's Alliance Theatre to NY's legendary Labyrinth Theatre. Her latest film, Standing8 has is making festival rounds, showing at the LA Film Fest, Austin Film Fest and winning Best Narrative Short at NY's UrbanWorld Film Fest.


Michael Axtell was a member of the Grammy Award winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer, sung with Pittsburgh Opera and recently narrated a series of audiobooks for Audible. Michael is currently pursuing his MFA in Acting from The New School, where he played Sammy “Mammy” Wurlitzer in Happy End and Brutus in Julius Caesar.



Lori Elizabeth Parquet is an actor and playwright from New Orleans, Louisiana with a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Cornell University. Her New York City credits include Macbeth, Dispatches From (A)mended America (Off-Broadway, Epic Theatre Ensemble), The Honeycomb Trilogy: Sovereign (Gideon Productions), Medea (Phoenix Theatre Ensemble), Dog Act, Ajax in Iraq, Honey Fist (Flux Theatre Ensemble), and Republic, Baal, Murder In the Cathedral (JACK/Hoi Polloi). She made her international debut performing in Pillars of Society at Teater Ibsen in Skien, Norway. As a playwright, Lori was selected as one of six featured playwrights for Season Five of the Fire This Time Festival in January 2014. Her work is now published with

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