Empty Theater

Plays at the intersection of power and representation .

PLAYS BY STEPHEN ANDERSON

AVAILABLE FOR LICENSING 

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The Trial of Amos 'n' Andy

By Stephen Anderson and Sandra A. Daley

How one small black newspaper took on the most popular         program in broadcast history.

Recommended For:  College | Community | Professional
Cast Size: 1-F,   7-M
Approx. Run Time: 120 min.

“The Trial of Amos 'n' Andy" focuses on a little known battle that took place in 1932 between Robert Vann, the crusading publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier, his small band of reporters, and Freeman Gosden the creator of “Amos ’n’ Andy”, the most popular (and one of the most racist) shows in American broadcast history. It tells the story of how this small black newspaper launched a nationwide campaign to force the Amos ’n’ Andy radio program off the air. It is a rivalry story concerned with the struggle for self-definition and respect.

 
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Wonderful

The Battle Behind
The Classic Movie

Wonderful !

Screenwriting couple Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett battle Frank Capra and the FBI for control of the beloved holiday movie, 

For screenwriter Frances Goodrich, working on Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” was anything but wonderful. With the war just ended, Americans were trying to return to their old lives. For Frances, one of the few women screenwriters working in 1945 Hollywood, the battle has just begun, as she fights to get the movie made. Her husband and writing partner, Albert Hackett, wants to return to New York City to write for the theater, which would end Frances' Hollywood writing career. 

IRecommended For:  College | Community | Professional  Cast Size: 2-F,   5-M

Approx. Run Time: 120 min.

Listen to an audio drama adaptation

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What   the   Huck !

What the Huck !

The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn and the Concorde Public Library

Recommended For:  College | Community | Professional       Cast Size: 3-F,   3-M                                                                                     Approx.  Run Time: 120 min.

When librarian Elizabeth Newberry attempts to be the first library to ban “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in 1885, from the Concord Public Library, the ghosts of Huck Finn and her own past empower her to confront the order of the day.  As Elizabeth, and James, an African American bookseller, debate the merits of this novel and its theme of personal freedom, they fall in love. As the book begins to threaten their lives and love, Elizabeth must decide whether to protect the book and James or to accept the order of the day.

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A Judy Garland Christmas

A Judy Garland Christmas

Behind the Scenes of the Making of the Famous TV Christmas Episode

Recommended For:  College / Community  / Professional         

Cast Size: 3-F,   3-M                                                                                    Approx.  Run Time: 120 min.

Go Behind the Scenes 

We are at the dress rehearsal, just hours before the live taping. Judy’s estranged husband is threatening to take her young kids away from her, at the same time the President of CBS is on the brink of canceling her television series if the Christmas show flops. Everything is suddenly thrown into chaos when all of the guests cancel at the last minute. Judy must rally moody, 17-year-old Liza, second banana Mel Torme, and an insecure  young female impersonator, and inspire them to dream big if she is to save the show, and Christmas, for everyone.

Listen to an audio drama adaptation

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Joan & Nancy

Joan & Nancy

The story of our nation’s First Astrologer -  and her First Lady.

Recommended For:  College / Community / Professional         

Cast Size: 2-F,   1-M                                                                                    Approx.  Run Time: 90 min.

From 1981 to 1988 Nancy Reagan and her Astrologer Joan Quigley secretly ran the White House. This is the almost true story of two influential hidden women, one declining President,  and a nation on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. A story about how Astrology guided our nation through those dangerous years, and our nations First Astrologer. A story that has remained hidden. Until now. 

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The Dickens

IBeing A Ghost Story of Christmas

The Dickens:

Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

Recommended For:  College / Community / Professional         

Cast Size: 2-F                                                                                   Approx.  Run Time: 80 min.

Carol Dickens is a former middle school drama teacher,  and current addict. She is attempting to complete an adaptation for her middle school students of “A Christmas Carol”. The effects of the drugs and a recent trauma are making this task a nightmare. When the characters in the Dickens novel appear to come alive and interrupt her story, they intensify her trauma. She will either emerge from her nightmare a changed woman, or she will die. Will the ghosts of our past transform us, or kill us?

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The Tom Show !

Two Black actresses in 1920 Harlem travel South under cover of an "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Minstrel show to rescue their imprisoned sons.

Recommended For:  College / Community / Professional         

Cast Size: 8- Black F                                                                                   Approx.  Run Time: 80 min.

Upon learning of the unlawful imprisonment of their sons in an Atlanta Georgia labor camp, two women from a Harlem Theater company devise a plan to rescue them. Unable to travel safely in the South, they manage to integrate a touring "Tom Show" troupe performing a minstrel version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to get to Atlanta.

 

They challenge the “Tom Show” stereotypical characters in an attempt to rescue the Black women characters in the novel.  Their acting prowess creates rivalries with the white actors who attempt to expose them and have them arrested when they arrive in the South. The mothers are forced into hiding. In an attempt to rescue their sons they devise a daring plan that puts their lives at risk.