Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Aristic Director Cady McClain Announces Lineup for New York's Axial Theater - Free Play Readings, Black History Month and More

Axial Theater's Artistic Director Emmy-Winner Cady McClain announces the lineup for the start of 2024. On February 10th in honor of Black History Month there will be a free reading of "The Death of King Shotaway." as part of Axial Theater's new SAFEHOUSE series. Cactus Flowers Play Readings continue in March. Axial Theater also has a new partnership with The Schoolhouse Theater which included a night with Robert Klein. For more info

Axial Theatre Celebrates

Black History Month

February 10th

Join us for “The Death of King Shotaway”

by Samuel Harps

with special guest moderator Dominic Hoffman

Axial Theatre is proud to announce our exciting new monthly new play development reading program SAFEHOUSE: The Axial Playwrights Series.  

Join us February 10th, 2024 on Zoom for a free reading of “The Death of King Shotaway” by Samuel Harps with a special guest moderator - actor, playwright, and Axial Advisory Board member Dominic Hoffman.

SYNOPSIS: “The Death of King Shotaway” by award-winning playwright Samuel Harps is based on the true story of The African Grove Theater (AGT), the first African American Theater established in Lower Manhattan in 1821 by playwright William Henry Brown as a venue to stage his play “The Death of King Shotaway.” 

The first theater to perform “Othello” with a Black actor in the title role, AGT was hampered by a series of threats and bombings.

Production of Harps’ play, staged as a workshop performance in February 2020, was halted when his theater company was sheltered due to the pandemic. 

After the reading, curated feedback will be offered by our Guest Moderator and Axial Advisory Board Member Dominic Hoffman and Series Facilitator Nate Flower. They will be joined by Axial Artistic Director Cady McClain and playwright Evelyn Mertens for a discussion of the play and it’s themes.

SAMUEL HARPS interned at New York's New Dramatists, studying with noted playwrights August Wilson and Charles Oyamo Gordon. Samuel’s play “Don't Explain” was first produced at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe in New York. The explosive drama based on the death of trumpeter Lee Morgan received seven AUDELCO Awards, including best play and playwright. Samuel was also awarded The Arts Council of Rockland County Executive Award for Literary Artist. New York productions include; The Paul Robeson Theater, The National Black Theater, The Billie Holiday Theater, Theater for the New City, Theater Four, Duality Playhouse, and HERE Theater. Regional productions include; Rutgers University, (Newark) The Christina Cultural Arts Center (Wilmington, DEL) The Painted Bride and Bushfire Theaters, (both in Philadelphia) EXIT Theater, (San Francisco) and Vision Theater, Los Angeles. Samuel is the founder/artistic director of Shades Repertory Theater.

Featuring actors: Ari Mack, Dimitri Dewes, Jr., Maiysha Jones Reilly, Dameon Reilly, Marisa Lowe*, Brian Bagot, Dan Walworth*, Patrick McGuinness*, Tom Ryan*, Missy Flower, Jeffery Starr, Bruce Apar*, and Najah Imani Muhammad*.

* = Axial Ensemble member

Make sure to RSVP for this exciting new play reading February 10th from 4 - 6PM ET.

Note: The link to watch will be sent to you from the Zeffy ticket/RSVP website the day of the reading, so please make sure to provide us with your best email address.

RSVP using the button below or

scan the QR code!


Save the date for

Cactus Flowers pt 2: Short Plays

March 22nd, 23rd and 24th!

We are thrilled to share that Cactus Flowers pt 2 has been scheduled! These plays are the “rest of the best” of the popular online play reading “Cactus Flowers” and we are excited to be able to bring them to you live!

Performances will be at Bethany Arts Community in Ossining, NY: March 22nd and 23rd at 8PM and March 24th at 3PM.

Keep your eye out as the link to tickets will be up soon!

Selected plays include:

Civil Disobedience by Lori M. Myers

Like Miriam by Jacquelyn Reingold (Axial Advisory Board Member)

Not Like Us by Mark Harvey Levine

The Audition by Dominic Hoffman


Constituent by Karin Diann Williams

Local Businesses!

We are looking for Corporate Sponsors and Advertisers for our Spring 2023 Program of Cactus Flowers Pt 2: Short Plays! Please reach out to learn more and be featured in our program!


Welcome Our New Arts Partner:

The Schoolhouse Theater!

Axial Theatre is proud to share our new arts partnership with The Schoolhouse. Check out this fun event coming this weekend!

Comedy Legend, ROBERT KLEIN takes

center stage for one night only at the Schoolhouse


Don't miss out on this unique experience! Secure your

seats, share the joy with fellow patrons, and be part of a

night that promises laughter, warmth, and the timeless

charm of ROBERT KLEIN at the Schoolhouse Theater!


Dear Axial Community,

Happy New Year! We are headed into an exciting new year with many new programs and events that we are looking forward to sharing with you, including six opportunities to hear new plays via the SAFEHOUSE new play reading series, our second installment of “Cactus Flowers” featuring original short plays, and a special fundraising production of “What the Constitution Means to Me.”

As our theater literally would not exist without the community of people who support it, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for all your support.  Your unwavering commitment drives us to deliver our best. If you can take this opportunity to help us shine a little brighter, that support would be greatly appreciated. You may do so using the donate button below.

Thank you very much!


Cady McClain

Artistic Director - Axial Theatre


 We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations are 100% tax deductible. 

Please keep spreading the word and thank you so much for your support!

Axial Theatre thanks ArtsWestchester and the William T Morris Foundation as well as our outstanding Board of Directors for their invaluable support!