New play by Theatre UAB’s Hall gets Chicago world premiere

“Dowager Daughters of Transcendence,” a new play by Theatre UAB’s Cheryl Hall, picked for world premiere and 20 shows by Chicago theater.

UAB Department of Theatre Assistant Professor Cheryl Hall’s play “The Dowager Daughters of Transcendence” will receive its world premiere this summer at eta Creative Arts in Chicago.

The show will run June 14-Aug. 5, 2012, and will be directed by Anthony P. Brooks. Hall will travel to Chicago for the show’s opening and an audience “Conversation with the Playwright” after the performance June 15. 

“I’m very excited about this show,” Hall says. “It took me almost two years and a lot of rejection letters before my play got picked up by eta. ‘The Dowager Daughters of Transcendence’ has a cast of seven, which is a big cast from an unknown playwright.”

According to the play’s synopsis, time and apathy have been unkind to the membership roster of Chapter #855 of The Dowager Daughters of Transcendence and the future of their sisterhood is at stake. The DDTs have fought racism, sexism and ageism but when cultural identity and community are threatened they take action in this serious comedy about a serious mission to reclaim the ‘hood.

With 20 performances, the show has a chance to “incubate” with the cast and generate buzz to bring in future audiences, Hall says.

“Part of eta’s mission is to promote the work of new, African-American playwrights,” Hall says. “There aren’t a lot of theaters that are committed to nurturing works by new playwrights.”

Hall says she also feels fortunate that eta assigned her a dramaturg and director to coach her through revisions of the play. 

“Two revisions later it’s a tighter, better and funnier script. I’m grateful not only for the production, but also the process of revising the script which is just as valuable as getting it in front of an audience,” she says. “Any playwright would be grateful to get a staged reading.  You’re really lucky to get produced with three performances, and 20 performances is manna from heaven.”

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