Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Last night I saw the new David Mamet play "Race" at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. I thought it was excellent and appropriate since I am in the Performing Arts room at the Library Hotel. Regina Andrews was a founder, the Executive Director, a playwright and an actress in the Harlem Experimental Theatre from 1928 - 1932. The philosophy of the group was produce plays by both White and Black playwrights like the above production of The Duchess Sayers Her Prayers by White playwright Mary Cass Canfield. Regina is on the right. Their plays by African American playwrights tackled race-related themes like Mamet's play "Race."
I am writing in the Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwartzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street--right around the corner from my hotel. I am standing in front of either the Patience or Fortitude lion. Regina interviewed for a job at the New York Public Library in this building in 1923. I found out that the lions originally had different names but were renamed by New York City's Mayor Fiorello La Guardia during the Depression to inspire New Yorkers to have patience and fortitude during those difficult times.
Once again I'm back at my favorite New York City hotel, the Library Hotel, for writer's retreat. Each room corresponds with a Dewey Decimal category. I'm currently staying in the performing arts room which is appropriate because Regina Andrews was part of the Little Theater Movement during the Harlem Renaissance. The room is filled with books about the performing arts including an Alvin Ailey biography.