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Daniel K. Isaac, Pascale Armand, Kevin R. Free, and a still of Harvey Milk in San Francisco, in a screen shot from Playhouse Creatures' reading of "Execution of Justice."

‘Execution of Justice’ Reading Kicks Off Emily Mann Season

Playhouse Creatures’ reading of this groundbreaking docu-theatre play will be available to stream through Nov. 12.

Emily Mann. (Photo courtesy of McCarter Theatre)

NEW YORK CITY: On Nov. 8, Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company kicked off a season-long celebration of the major plays of Emily Mann with a virtual presentation of her landmark play Execution of Justice at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. The reading, which stars Frank Wood, Michael Esper, AnnaSophia Robb, Andrew Hovelson, Daniel K. Isaac, Pascale Armand, Mia Katigbak, Kate Hamill, Lou Liberatore, Kevin R. Free, Joseph W. Rodriguez, Jordan Lage, and Thom Sesma, is available to stream through Nov. 12.

Mann’s groundbreaking 1985 docuplay, which uses the trial of Dan White for the murder of George Moscone and Harvey Milk as a lens to interrogate American attitudes about sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and politics, was originally commissioned by San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre, premiered at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, and went on to a Broadway run in 1986, with a cast that featured John Spencer, Wesley Snipes, Stanley Tucci, Mary McDonnell, and Earle Hyman.

“Execution of Justice” was the first complete playscript published in American Theatre magazine, in November 1985.

Execution of Justice is one of the great American plays,” said Mark Armstrong, who directed the revival reading, in a statement. “People remember it as the first ‘documentary play’, which it is—Emily calls it ‘theatre of testimony’—but it’s also an incredibly wrought human drama. The play documents a pivotal moment in American life, one that continues to resonate. As San Francisco was a divided city, we’re now a divided country. But even if every word wasn’t true, this would be an incredible drama to preserve and cherish for future generations.”

Said Mann in a statement, “Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company’s season celebrating my plays is the highlight of my life in the theatre. Artistic Director Joseph Rodriguez’s profound understanding of my body of work has inspired me to revisit all the plays myself and, even more, to continue writing. Director Mark Armstrong’s brilliant online direction of Execution of Justice with a phenomenal cast…begs for a full production. I am thrilled to pass my plays on to the next generation of artists and theatregoers. What Joseph and Playhouse Creatures is giving to me is every playwright’s dream.”

The event streams through Nov. 12 and tickets are $25. Proceeds go to support PCTC youth theatre programming, including the Harvey Milk High School theatre residency. PCTC’s “Season of Mann” continues through June 2022 with productions and/or readings of Annulla: An Autobiography, Still Life, Greensboro: A Requiem, and Mrs. Packard.

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