new work

LOST IN LANGUAGE AND SOUND//collaborating with legends by Liz Morgan

Liz Morgan performing in Lost in Language and Sound by Ntozake Shange (a work-in-progress showing in Brooklyn)

Liz Morgan performing in Lost in Language and Sound by Ntozake Shange (a work-in-progress showing in Brooklyn)

for colored girls... is one of those works that surprises me every time I encounter it.  It is inspirational in its depth and stunning in its uniqueness.

I’m humbled to feel so close to the legacy of Ntozake Shange’s voice in this present moment.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with some of the brilliant artists that have worked closely with Ntozake to bring her texts to life.  Specifically, Laurie Carlos and Ifa Bayeza have been great mentors to me at Brown and beyond.

And after attending the recent gala exhibition honoring the 40th anniversary of for colored girls..., I’ve been personally invited by Ntozake Shange to collaborate on her new choreoessay, Lost in Language and Sound.

 This truly is the stuff that dreams are made of. 

This will be an ongoing collaboration and we will present the work-in-progress at the end of this week so look out for personalized invitations via Facebook/e-mail or visit 651 Arts for details about this amazing piece of art.


Adventures in self-producing by Liz Morgan

Wow, what a month!

Thanks to all who supported me at the New York New Works Theatre Festival and the Manhattan Rep Fall One Act Festival. We received so much love on social media and from those who made it to the audience and we are grateful!

While we didn't walk away with any cash prizes, we've learned a ton about self-producing in the city so that's still a win in my book. 

New plays in a new city: Summer lovin' in Boston by Liz Morgan

Over and over again, I hear about the love-hate relationship many young artists have with New York City.  The Big Apple is so alluring with her bright lights after dark but I kid you not, when my sweet Jamaican grandmother first immigrated to this country and saw what NYC looked like when she woke up, she wept.  And it’s more than morning breath sometimes with New York.  It can get down right abusive – you know what I’m talking about, MTA.

So I’m having an affair with Boston and boy does she know how to treat a girl.  It’s like Providence’s more attractive sister! And I committed to Providence for seven years but after hunting horcruxes and whatnot it was time to go.

But back to Boston. 

In June, I was working with Company One on Shelter of Last Resort by Miranda Craigwell. Now I’m back at The Huntington Theatre Company doing a workshop of Start Down by Eleanor Burgess.  Both processes have been so inspiring and I’m really proud of the work.

Of course now that I’m away, New York won’t stop calling.  I promised to visit on my day off so I better get going.

Anyway, be sure to check out Start Down and the other summer workshops at The Huntington if you’re around.  And, I’ll let you know how this love triangle turns out.

Why I do what I do: On Equity Showcases and Painted Red by Liz Morgan

Earlier this year, I mentioned working on a passion project, Painted Red, based on the true but harrowing story of Henrietta Lacks whose “HeLa” cells were stolen from her body during cancer treatment and used to advance scientific discoveries without her consent.  The Lacks family was robbed of their mother and for many years, the truth about what she endured.

Our production was humble: an “equity showcase.”  Painted Red was self-produced by Dr. Cynthia Stephens who wrote and directed the work.  She rented a small studio in Manhattan and gave us a couple of weeks to perform for who ever would come.  We provided a lot of our own costumes and survived on a modest travel stipend and faith: faith in the story and faith that special people had been brought together to tell it.  After all, Dr. Stephens had previously cast a pre-Oscar-winning actress by the name of Lupita N’yongo in an earlier work.

So perhaps this meant someone important would be in the audience one night: a producer or a manager who would see the play’s potential or have a job just for me.  This is what is supposed to make the low-paying showcase worth it.  Exposure.  Well, Uzo Aduba came one night which I definitely tweeted about.  And we got a bit of press which was nice but the most important people we performed for, without a doubt, were Dr. Roland Patillo and Jeri Lacks.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the cast as we were being thanked by Henrietta’s granddaughter and the man that first introduced the family to the novelist who wrote the book which inspired Painted Red.  No salary or review could have exceeded the worth of that moment.  It was clear why Dr. Stephens’ company was called Sacred Ground Productions.  This small studio was still a theatre and a theatre is always a sacred place where the truth can be heard and healing can begin.

Yes, sometimes it’s not about the money or the exposure but the heart behind the art that allows us to give a gift that no one else can give.

Dr. Patillo told us that to this date every two hours a new discovery is made because of Henrietta Lacks and her immortal legacy.  I can only hope that for every two hours I’m on stage telling a story that I can do the same.