PHOTOGRAPH by MICHAEL PALMA THE RADIANT By Shirley Lauro Directed by Melanie Moyer Williams at Red Fern Theatre Company, NYC Feb/Mar 2013

The Actors Studio Presents "aka" a new play by Shirley Lauro The Actors Studio, NYC



Artwork & Photography credits: Martha Swope & Andy Jurinko, OPEN ADMISSIONS; Karen Gusdorf, A PIECE OF MY HEART; ACT staff photos, BACK STORY; Eugenie Rosenberg, THE EDGE.



The tempestuous, love-torn life of Marie Curie, one of the world's first recognized woman scientists, whose discovery and isolation of radium earned her two Nobel Prizes and revolutionized science forever, as she ushered in “The Atomic Age” and the first cure for cancer.

Pearls of the Harvest Moon
A young poet in New York is drawn back to the midwest where her mother is suffering a mental breakdown in an Iowa sanitarium. Once there, she comes into conflict with the head psychiatrist and battles her own demons, wishing to escaping back to New York.


FRONT LINES: Political Plays by American Women, Shirley Lauro & Alexis Greene, Editors
Shirley Lauro & Alexis Greene, Editors
The New Press, June 1, 2009,

2009 New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts & Media, Collaboration Award Finalist

7 women playwrights dramatize the stuggle for justice in America, where their characters are thrust into an unjust world. Playwrights include: Paula Vogel, Quiara Hudes, Emily Mann, Shirley Lauro, Cindy Cooper, Nilaja Sun, Jessica Blank. Foreword by Julie Crosby, Artistic Director, The Women's Project, New York.


ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT speaks directly with a warning for today. Set during and after the Third Reich, a stylistic, surrealistic play inspired by interviews with German Gentile women. The play sweeps from their teen years through adulthood during the Holocaust and beyond. The Nazi Regime impacts the women's lives as they struggle over work, religion, marriage and motherhood. Making overwhelmingly hard choices, they survive or succumb to Hitler's Reign and are changed forever.

The story takes place in 1932, the last time Clarence Darrow pleads in a criminal court of law. Set in various places in Chicago and Hawaii, Darrow with his wife,Ruby, travels to Honolulu to defend a Pearl Harbor Naval Lieutenant accused of shooting a Hawaiian who alledgedly led a gang rape on the Lieutenant's wife.

A dark comedy for today, set in salons in New York and San Francisco where three strangers with disparate identities cross paths and interact with unexpected and shocking results.

Full Length Play, Short Play, Television Special (CBS)

A poignant and funny drama of the failure of the American Educational System to serve our youth. The story centers on a disenchanted urban college speech professor and her brilliant but illiterate black student who dreams of a racially equal education to help him to achieve that dream.

The inspiring true stories of six courageous women sent to Vietnam, and their heart-wrenching struggle to make sense of a war that irrevocably changed them, and a nation that shunned them. The drama centers on a career Army woman, an American Red Cross volunteer, a Navy Nurse, two Army nurses, an entertainer, and the men that surround their lives. Told in flashback, the play moves through a twenty year period from the time they they are sent to Viet Nam until they reunite for a ceremony at The Wall in DC. A visionary work with music of a tumultuous period in our history.

A naturalistic family comedy/drama centering on a shy young adolescent, Bevvie Sue, caught up in the web of her hilarious but powerful mother's fantasies of gaining fame and fortune through compulsive contest entries, her beloved immigrant father's broken dreams and ambitions, and her rich judgmental relatives. Set in a small midwestern city in the middle of World War II, the story sweeps through a year in this American Jewish family's life, as Bevvie Sue struggles to disentangle herself and emerge as her own person: a young woman, eager for life, on her way to finding her own place in the sun.

A unique love story that can at last be told. A famous novelist and her student are drawn inexplicably together, transcending age, time, place and heritage.

A play about growing up in our "have and have-not" society, and discovering what "family" really is. Though Angie, an adolescent, lives in a wealthy town, she is poor. Deserted at birth by her mother, her father killed in War, she lives in a trailer with her ailing but loving Grandma. Though a gifted athlete, Angie's afraid to compete at her preppie school, feeling she's "Trailer Trash". While terrified a disliked aunt will soon take her away to live with her and put Grandma in a Facility, Angie meets a boy, Theo, at school. Brilliant, wealthy but an awkward loner, Theo's parents have no time for him and schoolmates taunt him, his only friends being his computer and his bird. Finally as Angie and Theo form a unique bond as soulmates, they gain the courage to begin their journeys toward adulthood --- resolving family problems, and taking actions to utilize their talents at school.

An explosive, sexually charged drama drawing on the supernatural. Set out of season in a small pension in the Italian alps, an American actress stranded on a stormy night. When the Innkeeper leaves, a strange Black man appears. The Woman and The Man are strangely attracted to each other as they subsumed by the past and begin to become two historical figures who had rendezvoued there in the past: Mussolini and his mistress, Margherita Sarfatti.


OF INTEREST: All of the following short plays are interrelated and can be grouped in various ways for a full length evening of theatre. Under the title LESSONS, New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre presented I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU'RE COMING FROM AT ALL; OPEN ADMISSIONS; and NOTHING IMMEDIATE. Actors Theatre of Louisville presented THE COAL DIAMOND and NOTHING IMMEDIATE on a double bill entitled POWER PLAYS. Trenton College, Trenton, NJ presented SUNDAY GO TO MEETIN', THE COAL DIAMOND and NOTHING IMMEDIATE under the title NEWCOMERS; and RAILING IT UPTOWN, THE COAL DIAMOND, NOTHING IMMEDIATE and OPEN ADMISSIONS have been produced under the title ENTERING THE SCENE.

A intensely charged, confrontational two character play set in an urban college speech teacher's office, as she faces a brilliant but illiterate Black student. Calvin demands to be taught and not merely shuffled through the system. Alice struggles to help him but is trapped by the double standards of an inadequate educational system.

An ominous play set in the lobby of a small rundown motel in Iowa. There, Edna, a morally self-righteous woman is tuned on the radio to her gospel hour when Sandra, a "Liberal New Yorker", arrives seeking refuge for the night. She has come to visit her father dying in a local hospital. An unnerving, uncanny clash ensues between the two women, moving to a terrifying confrontation.

A lighthearted comedy set in the '50's in a small midwestern town at an insurance office. During their lunch time bridge game, four typists gossip; one inadvertantly revealing an unsavory secret of another's past.

A turn of the century 10 minute play about prejudice, immigration and survival in America. Set on a country road in Iowa on a Sunday morning, the play centers on three adolescent girls. Two are on their way to church when they come into conflict with a newly arrived Jewish girl, selling apples on Sunday by the roadside.

A streak of lightening 10 minute play exposing the class clash between a "have" and a "have not". Trapped in an empty Manhattan subway car, racing uptown, are an upper middle class New Yorker, and an underclass homeless person. The contact between the characters is terrifying and electrifying. Casting of the characters can leap boundaries of race, age and gender.

A play of revelation and repentance in which a spoiled New York private school preppy girl, Britt, must come to grips with Miss Sarah Berlin, her strict European music teacher. In an attempt to combat the self-pitying and irresponsible behaviour of Britt, Miss Berlin reveals her own adolescence in Europe during the Holocaust.


A two character play in 19 scenes and monologues, with the action centering on the intertwined stories of a brother and sister in their early twenties. Their close relationship reaches a pivotal moment in the year 2000.


THE EDGE (a novel)
An emotionally-charged novel which dramatizes the message of "the feminine mystique."


Full Length Plays
LA PREMIERE 2017, The Acting Company at The Other Space; NEW YORK PREMIERE 2012, Red Fern Theatre, New York City; WORLD PREMIERE 2010-11 The New Theatre, Coral Gables, FL. THE RADIANT centers on the true, tempestuous, and love-torn life of Madame Marie Curie. Winner of the TCG/Edgerton Award; Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Grant; and the Dramatists Guild Play Grant.
NEW YORK PREMIERE October 2009 Chicago World Premiere, 2005 "Jeff Award"
2006 Carbonell Award Nominee; 2004 NEA "Access to Excellence Award", in collaboration with New Theatre, FL; 2001 New American Play Prize (Finalist)
Dark comedy of shifting identities and cultures.
Tony & Drama Desk nominations, New York Times pick for the “Ten Best Plays of the Year” list, Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award.
The Barbara Deming Prize for Women Playwrights, The Susan Blackburn Prize (Finalist, The Kittredge Foundation Award.
National Foundation for Jewish Culture Award
Susan Smith Blackburn Award (finalist)
Multigenerational play commissioned by Theatreworks, USA.
An explosive, sexually charged drama drawing on the supernatural.
2016 Carol Kane at The Cherry Lane Theater; A young poet in New York is drawn back to the midwest where her mother is suffering a mental breakdown in an Iowa sanitarium.
Anthology of Plays
2009 New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts & Media, Collaboration Award Finalist. Playwrights include: Paula Vogel, Quiara Hudes, Emily Mann, Shirley Lauro, Cindy Cooper, Nilaja Sun, Jessica Blank. Foreword by Julie Crosby, Artistic Director, The Women's Project, New York.
One Act Plays
New York Times pick for the “Ten Best Plays of the Year” list"; "A perfect gem of a one-act play" NY Magazine; Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, Samuel French OOBA Festival Award.
Samuel French Play Writing Award
The Heidemann Prize at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, selected for "Best Short Plays of 1980"
A play commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville showcasing the work of their Playwrights.
Other Work