Staged Readings

Announcing the 2020 Barlow Award-winning one-act play: Leah Barsanti’s “The Almost Emperor of the Unofficial Deestrick of Lake Michigan”

Nora’s Playhouse and our fellow women-in-theatre-focused nonprofit History Matters/Back to the Future are proud to present a staged reading of Leah Barsanti’s Judith Barlow Award-winning play: The Almost Emperor of the Unofficial Deestrick of Lake Michigan this April in NYC.

The Judith Barlow Prize is awarded by History Matters/Back to the The Future annually to a student playwright for an  exceptional one-act play inspired by the work of an historic female playwright. The student winner of the prize receives a $2,500 award and a reading of their work in New York City, with a $500 award to the participating professor of the course in which the inspiring play was taught. Leah Barsanti of Northwestern University was inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and sponsored by Professor Roxane Heinze-Bradshaw.

This is Nora’s Playhouse’s first year collaborating with History Matters/Back to the The Future to produce a reading of the Barlow Award winning piece.

The reading will be held at 7:00pm on Monday, April 20, 2020 at the Episcopal Actors’ Guild (1 East 29th Street, NYC 10016). The reading will be followed by a talkback and a brief wine and cheese reception.

Tickets will soon be available.

The Judith Barlow Prize is named for Judith E. Barlow, Ph.D., a Professor Emeritus of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Albany, SUNY and editor of “Plays By American Women 1900-1930,” “Plays By American Women 1930-1960,” and “Women Writers of the Provincetown Playhouse.” Barlow is also the author of “Final Acts: The Creation of Three Late O’Neill Plays, as well as numerous essays on American Drama. 

Past recipients of the prize include Hannah Manikowski (2019) for earth’s most customer-centric company inspired by María Irene Fornés’s Fefu and Her Friends, Audrey Webb (2018) for The Only Hills We’ve Ever Had inspired by Lorraine Hanberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Kara Jobe (2017) for Leaf inspired by Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, Lindsay Adams (2016) for Her Own Devices inspired by Mary Chase’s Harvey, and Selina Fillinger (2015) for Three Landings and a Fire Escape inspired by Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal.

A national coalition of theater professionals with an entirely unique mission, History Matters/Back to the Future promotes the study and production of women playwrights of the past and their plays in colleges, universities, and theaters throughout the country and seeks engagement with those plays by contemporary playwrights.

“History Matters/Back to the Future performs a vital service to both the academic and and theatrical communities. We ensure that masterworks written by women playwrights of the past are routinely read and taught in colleges and universities and that the women who wrote them are held up as significant contributors to the art of playwriting.”

History Matters/Back to the Future Founder, Joan Vail Thorne

For more information on History Matters/Back to the Future or the Judith Barlow Prize, visit

Teachers interested in joining the One Play at a Time Initiative should visit

Past Events Staged Readings

Detach with love… How the f*#* does a mother do that?

Next up for Nora’s Playhouse, a staged reading of

Ashes & Ink

by Martha Pichey
directed by Caroline Reddick Lawson

Monday, May 1, 2017 at 7 pm

Guild Hall
1 East 29th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016

Suggested Donation: $15


Molly would do anything for her son, especially since the death of her husband. But trying to keep Quinn on track after he descended into addiction means she’s close to going off the rails herself. Now he’s just out of rehab with the chance to audition for a place at the world’s best drama school. Molly wants to trust him. She wants him well more than anything. But how does a mother move on and make room for new love when she’s consumed with the life of her son?

The cast for this ONE NIGHT ONLY reading will include Jessica Blank (The Exonerated, High Maintenance) as Molly, Stephen Dexter (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Billions) as Quinn, Cynthia Enfield (Actress, Red Emma) as Bree, and Quentin Maré (Rock ‘n’ Roll, Coram Boy) as Leo.

Past Events Staged Readings


Rehearsing Desire draft image4

TOMORROW – Friday, August 12 at 7PM

Guild Hall
1 East 29th Street
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016


•The Process•

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What I like most about ‘Rehearsing Desire’ is the way playwright Suzanne Trauth braids together multiple tales of conflict and passion.

The actors at Kiev Theatre Company portraying Blanche and Stanley struggle with their own troubled romantic history. An attempted coup in Moscow threatens the Soviet Union and unleashes the full power of the Ukrainian Independence rebellion raging in the streets outside the theatre. The main character, Charlotte, is doing her best to bring the production of ‘Streetcar’ to fruition but gets caught in the crosshairs of the personal and political turmoil.

That may sound heavy, but Trauth’s play is also fast-paced, funny, and deeply moving. My job as director is to bring out all of those dynamics for the audience.

– Amy S. Green, Director

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