Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence

NEWS UPDATE 2020: Bibo and Bertie has been chosen for the Public Theatre's ZOOM reading series Public Potentials for later in the year date TBA. It has also been chosen for production by the Middletown Arts Center for their next season, which has been postponed.

Her first play, Liberty, won the Southern Playwrights’Award, was awarded a production in Jacksonville, Alabama and went on to...
NEWS UPDATE 2020: Bibo and Bertie has been chosen for the Public Theatre's ZOOM reading series Public Potentials for later in the year date TBA. It has also been chosen for production by the Middletown Arts Center for their next season, which has been postponed.

Her first play, Liberty, won the Southern Playwrights’Award, was awarded a production in Jacksonville, Alabama and went on to become a national finalist at the American College Theater Festival at the Kennedy Center. It recently was a TOP 3 winner in the Book Pipeline Contest and the Screencraft Competition, and a semifinalist in 2018 at the O'Neill.

Duende: Recuerdos de Flamenco recently placed as a top finalist in the Julie Harris Competition, and was the winning play script in the Moondance International Film Festival/2019. It earned a residency through the Good to Go Foundation and the National Winter Playwrights Retreat. The scheduled production at Lab Theater in Tampa was recently postponed.

Lawrence wrote six plays in the 1990s and enjoyed some early success, including winning a national comedy contest with her send-up of Elvis worship, The King and Me. In Dallas, she founded and served as Executive Director of the Playwrights Project, a regional play development organization. The Project sponsored readings with professional actors, directors, and dramaturgs for area playwrights, as well as a national playwriting competition. She established a lecture series that brought in playwrights such as Edward Albee, Erik Ehn, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Lawrence is also the author of several nonfiction books and articles, including Entrepreneurship: Building the American Dream (West Educational Publishing, 1994) and 50 Great Business Ideas for Teens (Simon & Schuster/Arco, 1990 & 1997).
Lawrence graduated in 2016 from the MFA program: Writing for Stage and Screen at the New Hampshire Institute of Arts. During that time, she completed four full-length works: Yellow Rose, The Legend of Emily West; A More Perfect Union—an adaptation for the screen of her play Liberty; Duende:Recuerdos de Flamenco; and most recently Bibo & Bertie, a play about the last year in Albert Einstein’s life.

Plays

  • Liberty
    Most Americans know Patrick "Give me liberty" Henry; few know he kept his presumably mad wife Sarah in a straitjacket in their basement, and after her mysterious death, he never again delivered a great speech. This is Sarah's story.
  • Bibo and Bertie
    In 1954, the most famous man in the world at the time—Albert Einstein—celebrates his 75th birthday. He knows that death is not far off; he is caught between a desperate struggle to complete his life’s work: the unified field theory, and his overwhelming desire to find peace of mind, to lay down his burdens of guilt over the nuclear arms race and his lifelong string of failed relationships. His most unusual...
    In 1954, the most famous man in the world at the time—Albert Einstein—celebrates his 75th birthday. He knows that death is not far off; he is caught between a desperate struggle to complete his life’s work: the unified field theory, and his overwhelming desire to find peace of mind, to lay down his burdens of guilt over the nuclear arms race and his lifelong string of failed relationships. His most unusual birthday gift was an African grey parrot named Bibo (true story!). During their time together, Albert nurses Bibo back to health. The play is based on the notion that Bibo teaches him how to love, a skill Albert never mastered.
  • Duende: Recuerdos de Flamenco
    Francisco and Delores de la Fuente, the greatest flamenco duo of modern time, present an evening of performance, interactive demonstration, and relationship therapy. Over the course of the play, audiences experience for themselves the Duende, the exquisite feeling of beauty and pain at the same time--the foundation of all authentic flamenco and too often, love itself.
  • Yellow Rose: The Legend of Emily West
    Book by Sarah Lawrence
    Music by Terry Allen Langfitt and Paul Vincent Gandolfi
    Lyrics by Langfitt, Gandolfi and Lawrence
    In 1836, heroic young Emily West—the legendary Yellow Rose—sacrifices her own freedom so that Texas can win its independence from Mexico. Emily, nicknamed the Yellow Rose, is a light-skinned woman of mixed race—called at the time “high yaller.” At the brink of the Texas...
    Book by Sarah Lawrence
    Music by Terry Allen Langfitt and Paul Vincent Gandolfi
    Lyrics by Langfitt, Gandolfi and Lawrence
    In 1836, heroic young Emily West—the legendary Yellow Rose—sacrifices her own freedom so that Texas can win its independence from Mexico. Emily, nicknamed the Yellow Rose, is a light-skinned woman of mixed race—called at the time “high yaller.” At the brink of the Texas Revolution, Emily finds herself trapped in a perilous love triangle between Levi Gates, the noble black dock foreman and Santa Anna, the president of Mexico. The music brings together the unique and rich confluence of cultures—Mexican, African-American, and white settlers—that made Texas the colorful and diverse place it is today.

    Story: The opening presents a tableau of three cultures singing their Song of Freedom. In a church in Connecticut, former slaves sing, “none of us are free until all of us are free.” In Mexico, President Santa Anna seeks a different kind of freedom—to establish law and order, and put an end to slavery in Tejas (Texas), a state within Mexico. Captain Morgan and his settlers in Tejas learn that slavery has been abolished--Morgan’s fervent desire. He sets sail for New England to gather more recruits for his utopian colony on Galveston Bay where all can be free.

    In New Haven, the Rev. Simeon Jocelyn, a renowned white abolitionist, runs a school for former slaves that Emily attends. Emily is haunted by the death of her slave mother, who died trying to protect Emily from unwanted advances from her slaveholder father. Her mother’s dying wish was for Emily to run, and find freedom on her own terms. Levi Gates, the noble dock foreman, wants to marry Emily but she is determined to make her own way, beholden to no one. Morgan recruits settlers on the docks with his stirring song, “Everything’s Better in Texas.” Levi Gates, broken-hearted over Emily’s rebuff, signs on with Morgan. Later that day Rev. Jocelyn delivers some startling news. He wants Emily to marry the Rev. James Pennington, a gifted young black preacher. He tells her that her schooling is complete and she needs to move on. Startled at this strange turn of events, Emily realizes that her best shot for finding a place of her own would be to sail with Morgan to Texas, so she signs on, too.

    During the voyage, war breaks out in Tejas. Morgan’s ship arrives at the height of the rebellion against Mexico. President Santa Anna has just completed his ruthless slaughter at the Alamo and is heading east to meet Sam Houston’s army. Colonel Morgan sails off with the Texas provisional government to safety on Galveston Island, leaving Morgan’s Point unprotected. Santa Anna’s troops come through Morgan’s Point and capture Emily.

    The soldiers deliver Emily to the feet of Santa Anna, who is charmed by her courage. He sets up a romantic dinner for two in his tent with fine wine, china, and—a piano. Emily is wary, but becomes enchanted with his sophistication. Upon hearing her sing, he promises her a career in Mexico City—the opportunity of a lifetime. After Santa Anna falls asleep with exhaustion, Levi Gates suddenly appears—he’s come to her rescue. She reveals that she plans to go with Santa Anna. Crushed, he tells her he will be watching over her in the nearby woods, just in case.

    Next morning, Santa Anna seems to be a changed man. He shares his plans to wipe out Captain Morgan and his family, crush the Texian army, and take back Spain’s lost lands for Mexico. Emily weighs her difficult choices. If Houston wins, slavery returns to Texas. Yet her love for the Morgans compels her to save them. Knowing the Texians are outnumbered three to one, she forms a plan. She sneaks out to Levi, urging him to signal Houston to attack during the Mexican siesta, a time when no civilized army would fight. Emily recognizes her own sacrifice—she must give herself to Santa Anna, to distract him long enough to guarantee a victory for the Texians. Act I ends with the Texian army marching toward the Mexican troops with the entire cast singing, “Seize the Day.”

    Act II opens with “Remember the Alamo” and the blaze of cannon fire upon the unsuspecting Mexican army. It’s an instant and complete slaughter. Santa Anna hears the commotion and realizes he is surrounded. He comes out of his tent disguised as a peasant and fools the conquering Major Hockley into thinking that Santa Anna has escaped. Emily nods in agreement, as she still has feelings for Santa Anna and doesn’t want to see him shot in front of her.

    A few weeks later, Emily realizes she is pregnant with Santa Anna’s child. In the interim, she has developed serious feelings for Levi. She won’t tell him because of the child she carries. She has one last meeting with Santa Anna in his prison cell, where he tries to seduce her in the “Tango del Diablo.” Finally recognizing he’s a scoundrel, she leaves in disgust. Back home at Morgan’s Point, Levi and Emily are miserable, afraid to share their feelings. Levi’s friend Ray and Mrs. Morgan encourage the young lovers to “Just Tell Him/Her How You Feel.” In the end, Emily recognizes she has found true freedom through her love with Levi, who joyously claims her child as his own. In the final scene, Emily and Levi return to Connecticut, where the Rev. Simeon Jocelyn marries the happy couple. The wedding guests break into a joyous rendition of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”