“How Cissy Grew” by Susan Johnston (staged reading)
Monday, June 22, 2009 8:00 pm
Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
Charleston High grad, Susan Johnston, was honored last April in front of an overflow crowd of 700 raucous theatergoers, creators and fans at the 30th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards. Miss Johnston was recognized for her play, “How Cissy Grew”, which had its world premiere run at The El Portal Forum Theatre from October to November 2008 starring James Denton of Desperate Housewives, Erin J. O’Brien, Liz Vital and Stewart Calhoun who was also nominated by LA Weekly for Best Supporting Male Performance for his role as “The Guy”. All of these actors, as well as the original director and Ms. Johnston will be here for a staged reading of the play.
“How Cissy Grew” tracks the implosion of a West Virginia family over the twenty years following their baby’s mysterious and brief abduction. Best known for her plays, Old Woman Flying and One Girl Drummer, Miss Johnston’s work has been produced and/or read at Mill Mountain, City Lights Youth Theatre, The Jungle, Centenary Stage, The O’Neill, The Peter Norton Space, The Lark, The Echo, Manhattan Theatre Space, NADA, La MaMa, Provincetown Playhouse, etc. She is a six-time published playwright who completed her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has received a number of grants and fellowships, including a Jerome and a nomination for a Fulbright. She has worked as a film industry reporter for Interview magazine and an interstitial writer for A&E’s Biography series. Her first novel, Party Favors, is on shelves now. In May, Miss Johnston was honored by NYU with a Meritorious Alumni Service Award for her work helping to establish alumni programs on both the West and East coasts.
The play was critically hailed from the offset. The LA Times called the play “absorbing” and said, “Johnston’s monologues for the guilt-stricken Butch, beautifully underplayed by Denton, are the show’s highlights.” Daily Variety said, “Susan Johnston examines the jagged shards of a dysfunctional family's sorrowful history, offering compelling glimpses into the aftermath of a horrific event.”
"Compelling glimpses into the aftermath of a horrific event." —Variety
"Piercingly painful and beautifully wrought." —LA Weekly
"70 searing minutes." —LA Daily News
"Spellbinding and seductive." —Theatermania.com
Cost: $19 (festival seating)
Clay Center on stage (Enter through Walker Theatre entrance)
One Clay Square
Charleston, WV, 25301