NEW YORK, February 10 -- On Saturdays from February 13 to 27, 2021 New York's New Federal Theatre (NFT) will present "New Federal Theatre Celebrates Black History Month," a retrospective readings series in which three rarely-done yet noteworthy plays, all previously produced by NFT, will be recreated by accomplished actors and directors. These plays illuminate burning issues of their time and are newly instructive today.

The readings will be free and accessible from NFT's website, Donations will be gratefully accepted.

February 13 @ 7:00 PM (EST),  streaming until February 15 @ midnight.
"When the Chickens Come Home to Roost" by Laurence Holder, directed by Ralph McCain
Featuring Allie Woods as Elijah Muhammad and Lawrence Winslow as Malcolm X.
The play centers on the relationship between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad – the beating heart of the Black Muslim movement. Its title is a reference to X’s notorious comment in the wake of JFK’s assassination that for white people, “the chickens are coming home to roost.” It caused a rift with Muhammad that never really healed. Malcolm’s comment caused him to be censored by his leader, Elijah Muhammad causing a rift between the Nation of Islam’s founder and his star disciple. New Federal Theatre's 1981 premiere production starred Kirk Kirksey as Elijah Muhammad and Denzel Washington as Malcolm X.

February 20 @ 7:00 PM; February 21 @ 7:00 PM and February 22 @ 7:00 PM (EST)
"The Meeting" by Jeff Stetson, directed by Ajene D. Washington
Featuring:  Joseph L. Edwards as Dr. Martin Luther King, Tyler Fauntleroy as Resheed, Beethovan Oden as Malcolm X.
"The Meeting," whose premiere was presented by NFT in 1987, is an imaginary encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in 1965 in a hotel in Harlem. Differing in their philosophies but alike in their mutual respect, the two men debate their varying approaches to the same grave social problems. Both are prepared to die for their beliefs but neither is aware of how soon assassins' bullets await them. The play was televised on “American Playhouse” in 1989.

February 27 @ 7:00 PM (EST), streaming until March 1 @ midnight (EST)
"Widows" by Mfundi Vundla, directed by Clinton Turner Davis
With: Tanya Nomaziko Zondo, Phindi Mkhizwe Wilson, Zoleka Vundla.
This drama, originally presented by NFT in 1981, is about the struggle of three African women to overcome oppressive conditions in South Africa.

New Federal Theatre’s Mission is to integrate artists of color and women into the mainstream of American theatre by training artists for the profession, and by presenting plays by writers of color and women to integrated, multicultural audiences - plays which evoke the truth through beautiful and artistic re-creations of ourselves. To-date, the company has produced over 450 mainstage plays, an astonishing and influential record of achievement, sending multiple plays to Broadway and launching numerous playwrights actors, directors, designers into prominent careers. Its alumni are an honor roll of artists of color from the 1970s through today. For more info, including an expanded list of the company's distinguished alumni, see:

The troupe is now in the beginning of its 51st season. In May, 2020 the Off Broadway Alliance named Woodie King, Jr., Founding Director of New Federal Theatre, a "Legend of Off Broadway," recognizing his sustained achievement in Off Broadway theater.

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