Meet Richarda Abrams and First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune @dramasmith

Name: Richarda Abrams

Tell us about you. 

Richarda is a two-time AUDELCO Viv Award Winner for Excellence in Black Theatre and she received the Al Jolson Award for Academic Excellence at her alma mater New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.  She won the United Solo Theatre Festival’s: Best Educational Show Award for First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune. Credits include: GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (Ivoryton Playhouse),   FIRST BY FAITH: THE LIFE OF MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE by Richarda Abrams (United Solo Theatre Festival) director Dina Vovsi, 365 DAYS/365 PLAYS FINALE (Public Theatre),  CONTRIBUTION (2nd Stage), LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT director Estelle Parsons (LaMaMa), ASCENSION (NY Fringe Festival) (Cherry Lane),  FEAR ITSELF (Crossroads Theatre Co.), VAGINA MONOLOGUES (HERE), Yara Arts Group’s BLIND SIGHT (UKRAINE), INSURRECTION/BOOTY CANDY director Robert O’Hara, THE COST director Barbara Montgomery (LaMaMa), Erik Ehn’s CLOVER  (LaMaMa), HOMELESS AND HOW WE GOT THAT WAY by Dan McCormick.  SHERRI (LIFETIME), OREO’s WITH ATTITUDE (SHOWTIME), COSBY (CBS), NOISES IN THE DARK (SESAME ST.) & THE RIVERSIDE BENCH.  CD SONG FOR ALL written with her father the late pianist, composer, visionary, Muhal Richard Abrams,  co-founder of the Association For The Advancement of Creative Musicians.   Muhal Richard Abrams’ Ensemble at Roulette NYC.  Amina Claudine Myers’ Voice Ensemble USA & SONS D’HIVER (FRANCE).  Memberships include:  AEA, SAG-AFTRA, The Actors Studio, Association For The Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), League of Professional Theatre Women and New York Women In Film and Television.   ​ Richarda received a B.F.A. with Honors in acting from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and received an M.A. in Educational Theatre from New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development traveling in the abroad program studying Drama and Theatre in Education from the University of Leeds, Bretton Hall College (ENGLAND).

Tell us about your current project? 

First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune is written and performed by Richarda Abrams. I developed and workshopped First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune over a six-year period at New Federal Theatre’s Playwright’s Workshop, League of Professional Theatre Women’s Julia’s Reading Room, and at New York City’s Actors Studio. Debuting at the 2018 United Solo Theatre Festival winning the Best Educational Show Award and rave reviews. This show explores Mary McLeod Bethune’s personal journey from an uneducated child to a world-renowned educator, humanitarian, civil rights activist, stateswoman and philanthropist. By using storytelling, song, and humor I transcend time and gender, as Mary returns to earth to share one last lesson.

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 

The West End Theatre at The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew 263 West 86th St., 2nd Floor NYC. This is where I did the workshop presentation last year and it is like returning home for this run. The staff at The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew are all so very positive and encouraging.

What’s next for you? 

I was invited to perform my show again at the 30th Anniversary of the National Black Theatre Festival, Winston Salem, NC, August 1-3, 2019 where two of my shows are already SOLD OUT. Then I was invited to return to the 10th Anniversary of the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row in NYC, September 26, 2019 in their best of the best of solo theatre category where I won the Best Educational Show Award in 2018. Then I have curated a Women’s History Solo Series in 2020 at the 14th Street Y in NYC, where I am performing my show again.

What is the name of the last show you saw? 

Ain’t Too Proud by Dominique Morisseau

Any advice for your peers?

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. – Goethe Begin it now. – Richarda Abrams

Show Information

Dates: June 28, 2019—July 21, 2019

Venue: The West End Theatre at The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew 263 West 86th St., 2nd Floor NYC

Tickets: General Admission: $25.00 Seniors/Students: $14.00

Website: http://www.FirstByFaith.com

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