The American Legacy
Metropolitan Playhouse
The American Legacy

220 East Fourth Street ~ New York, New York 10009
(212) 995 5302

"One of my favorite downtown theaters" ~ Martin Denton,
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The Villager

January 11 - 24, 2016

Seven New Plays

Seven Companies
All Inspired by the writers, thinkers, experimenters of
The Transcendental Age

Emerson Speaks
a theatricalized sermon
performed by Mahayana Landowne

Frontline Productions presents
Leaving Brook Farm*
a new play by Nina Howes

The Fifth Woman
a new play by Toni Schlesinger


by Kelly King
an overature of sound, poetry, thought, and nature
Whitman Sings*
by John Slade
Walt Whitman in folk, gospel, hip hop, and spoken word

The Artist of the Beautiful*
by Jonathon Ward
based on the story  by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Poll Tax Matter*
by Dan Evans
A Lulu Lolo Production
a new one act comedy

in order of first performance

Performances marked with * are AEA Showcases
Emerson Speaks
Mahayana Landowne performs Emerson's Divinity School Address in a theatricalized lecture.

Double Bill
(Two new short plays together in one program)
"Leaving Brook Farm"*
by Nina Howes
Produced by Frontline Productions
On  the night of March 3, 1846,  a disastrous fire totally destroyed a new building at Brook Farm - a  utopian community near Boston, Massachusetts.  Sophia Ripley has had enough. She urges her husband George to leave what she feels is a losing proposition.

"The Fifth Woman"
by Toni Schlesinger (Inspired by Louisa May Alcott)
Were there were really four or five sisters in author Louisa May Alcott’s family? Was the fifth  --- never mentioned in Alcott’s Little Women --- an absinthe-drinking, laudanum-consuming actress on the Continent whose admirers included Nietzsche and an emperor?

A cycle of Transcendentalist poetry, accompanied by hammer dulcimer

by Kelly King 
Kelly King presents an overture of sound, poetry, thought and nature inspired by Frederic Church with Christopher Pearse Cranch, James Russell Lowell, William Ellery Channing, George William Curtis and Julia Ward Howe.  Sentiment from Transcendental masters Henry David Thoreau, Molly Vonk and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Original music by Kelly King.  "Thought is deeper than all Speech.  Feeling deeper than all thought." 

Walt Whitman in folk, gospel, hip hop, and spoken word
written and performed by John Slade
Using a great author’s own words in the tradition of “Mark Twain Tonight,” actor/singer John Slade embodies another titan in American literature, Walt Whitman. Twain was the funniest; Dickinson the wittiest; but Whitman was the most inspiring. His times were more divided than our own, but he never lost his faith in America, in life, and the possibility of things getting better.

Learn more about Whitman Sings and the album, I Sing Walt Whitman, official entrant in the 57th Grammy® Awards

A new play
by Jonathon Ward, based on the story by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A meditation on art and the artist's life, based on the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story about a clockmaker's apprentice who falls in love with his master's daughter and loses her to his friend the blacksmith.  The day before he leaves for Europe, Owen Warland visits Annie Danforth with a belated bridal present.  He's discovered, in the unrealized love of their past, how to live the beautiful life. Inviting her to live it, too, he hopes they may transcend the practical world of 1840s America.   

A one-act comedy
by Dan Evans
A Lulu LoLo Production
In Concord, Massachusetts, 1846, Henry Thoreau is arrested at the local shoemaker’s for refusing to pay his state poll tax as a protest against slavery.  His night spent in jail, wearing only one shoe, and jawing with his cellmate, a boisterous outspoken drifter, inspires him to develop his doctrine of civil disobedience. Suddenly a young fugitive slave uses their cell to hide in.