Saturday, May 3, 2008


The Essential Theatre’s New Play Reading Series will present the final public reading of, King Willie, by Jamal Williams, on Saturday, May 31st at 3:00 P.M. The reading will be held at the historic H Street Playhouse located at 1365 H Street, NE, in the Capitol Hill area. A portion of the proceeds from this reading will benefit the Yvonne Olivia Lee Memorial Scholarship Fund for women studying Theatre Arts in the Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University. Admission to this and each presentation is Pay-What-You- Can. The suggested donation is $15. Adult language and themes! There will be a post-performance discussion for each reading with the director and Playwright.

Yvonne Olivia Lee, Esq. (1963-2007) Howard University Alumina is a graduate of the class of 1985. She originated the role of Aunt Mary during the development of, King Willie, under the aegis of the New Play Reading Series. The personification of university motto: Truth and Service, Attorney Lee originally arrived at Howard to study Theatre Arts in the College of Fine Arts. She later changed her major course of study to Broadcast Management. Continuing her education, she received a law degree and in 1998 began working as an Attorney for the United States Department of Justice. During the two years prior to her death she fought for her life against pancreatic cancer. Unaware of her condition we telephoned her the day before she transitioned to perform in the annual winter workshop reading of, King Willie. Despite her pain she indicated her interest and asked to be telephoned on the next day. On the Next day, November 24, 2007, Yvonne Olivia Lee departed this earth. While she and her characterization of Aunt Mary will be gravely missed, we celebrate her in a manner that will eternally inspire, educate and change lives.

The New Play Reading Series is created to give voice to the work of new and established playwrights. It is in substance an incubator that serves to nurture the work for a three-year period in a supportive and collaborative environment with other artisans, actors and directors. Further, it is a forum where audience members are welcomed to engage in an open dialogue with the playwright and director about the issues presented in the material as well as techniques used to present them. The New Play Reading Series was initiated in the spring of 1992. The first play that was presented as part of the process was Howard University Alumnus, Mark Green’s Just One Time.

The Essential Theatre is a non-profit professional theatre dedicated, but not limited to producing theatre reflective of the African-American experience, that speaks distinctly from an African-American voice. It is also an objective of the theatre to produce programs for youth in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area that promote interdisciplinary education and positive levels of self-esteem.

Additional Readings:
Bluff Street
By Sarah Moon (first reading)
Saturday May 31st
7:30 P.M.
H Street Playhouse
Admission: Pay What You Can

Stuck In Winnemucca
By Robert Alexander (first reading)
Sunday June 1st
3:00 P.M.
H Street Playhouse
Admission: Pay What You Can

For more info contact (202) 328-0569 or E-mail

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