PJ Gibson's "Diana Sands Project" Reading 5/20 (Harlem) — Diane Sands , P.J. Gibson — AAPEX

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PJ Gibson's "Diana Sands Project" Reading 5/20 (Harlem)

Diana Sands

By PJ Gibson
Directed by Reggie Life
The Schomburg Center
515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street
(2 or 3 train to 135th St.)


When the American actress Diana Sands died in 1973, she left behind a remarkable body of work that spanned stage, screen and television. Ms. Sands played Benethea opposite Sidney Portier in the seminal film A Raisin in the Sun and appeared in groundbreaking TV shows such as I Spy and Julia.

As a stage actress she was an original member of the acting company at Lincoln Center, and she broke the then very powerful color barrier in live theatre, playing roles such as Joan of Arc and appearing opposite Alan Alda in The Owl and the Pussycat on Broadway in 1964. Simply put, she achieved a transformational career in the history of American acting. Yet few people today know her real story, perhaps because she was a figure 20 years ahead of her time, living and working well before the terms “color blind” and “non-traditional” casting became common parlance in the theatre industry. Noted author P.J. Gibson (Daughters of the Moon)has been commissioned by CTH to bring this story to the stage. This is the first dramatic treatment of Ms Sands’s life and work, and it is being created with the participation of Ms. Kathryn Leary, her first cousin and head of The Diana Sands Project, an organization dedicated to keeping her memory alive.

P.J. Gibson (playwright) has written over thirty plays, including Long Time Since Yesterday,which had had upwards of sixty productions. Her other works have been presented throughout the United States, Europe and Africa. A published writer, Ms. Gibson also has numerous poems and short stories to her credit. She has been the recipient of many honors including the Bushfire Theatre of Performing Arts Seventh Annual "Walk of Fame" where her signature and hand print are imprinted in their Sidewalk of Fame, a Shubert Fellowship, a playwriting grant from the National Endowment forthe Arts, two prestigious Audelco Awards, two PSC-CUNY Research Award grants and six playwriting commissions. She has been an Artist in Residence at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She holds a proclamation from the city of Trenton, New Jersey and a Key to the City from Indianapolis, Indiana.

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