All Works

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Sally: A Solo Play

Mistress, Common-law wife, or First Lady? Sally Hemings, the sister of Jefferson’s deceased wife Martha, demands that Jefferson, whose days are numbered, must keep his promise to free their children. In the solo play SALLY the stakes are high. Does Jefferson’s will soothe the grief, the memories held by blood kin, or does it revive old wounds and become a battleground?

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The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson

In August of 2021, Sandra Seaton’s play with music, The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson with original music by composer Carlos Simon, premiered at the Glimmerglass Festival. In August of 2022, an expanded version of The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson will be staged at Glimmerglass Festival with additional performances in 2023 at the Kennedy Center.

Dancer in a forest

Dreamland: Tulsa

A performance to remember. A choir of over 100 voices, actors and orchestra, Garrett’s brilliant, resounding hymns and Seaton’s gripping text with its powerful dramatic interludes will transport you to this historic time that has been out of our public psyche for far too long.

Dancer in a forest

The First Bluebird in the Morning

The First Bluebird in the Morning is composer Carlos Simon’s newly-commissioned setting of verses by Sandra Seaton—sobering, heartfelt and moving.

Actors holding hands

Night Trip

On a July evening in 1958, Wesley and Mack, Black WW II veterans, arrive at their sister’s apartment in Chicago to pick up their niece. Conchetta has been waiting all summer to see her relatives—her grandmother, her aunts, her “play aunts.”

The Bridge Party

The Bridge Party portrays the strength of a group of black women who gather for their weekly bridge game as they cope with a house-to-house search of the black community in the wake of a lynching.

From The Diary of Sally Hemings

Sandra Seaton’s work, From The Diary Of Sally Hemings, is a collaboration with composer William Bolcom , who set Seaton’s text to music.  A song cycle, the work recreates the thoughts and feelings of Sally Hemings throughout her long relationship with Thomas Jefferson by means of fictional diary entries.

The Will

As we mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, “The Will” dramatizes the human consequences of the war as experienced by the Websters, an African American family in a small town in Tennessee.

Actors holding hands

Music History

This full-length play brings to life the aspirations and values of African American college students from the South Side and West Side of Chicago.  Set at the University of Illinois in 1963, Seaton’s characters variously go through sorority and fraternity initiations, cope with Northern segregation, and join the civil rights struggle in the South.

Chicago Trilogy promo

Chicago Trilogy

This trio of one act plays is adapted from the short stories of Cyrus Colter, and was performed at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. These plays present only a few of the uncountable stories deserving to be told about a multi-layered, dense, and complicated community.

Room and Board

A one-act play about a group of young African American women at a sorority house on a Midwestern campus in the sixties. Etta, the main character, unwilling to follow the rules of the sorority, decides to leave the house but faces racial prejudice in the outside world.

A Bed Made in Heaven

Explores the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.  Set in 1801 during Jefferson’s first presidency, the play is an imaginative recreation of a complex, vital Sally Hemings who refuses to be identified merely as a mistress and a conflicted Jefferson forced to decide how to deal with a scandal threatening his presidency.

King: A Reflection on the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The spoken word piece “King: A Reflection on the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” a mixture of poetry and brief reflections, remembers Reverend King as an individual with human limitations who nevertheless answered the call to leadership. The work is divided into four sections, “Nobel-man,” “Chicago,” “Bottles and Rocks,” and “Memphis 1968.” In 2015 a performance of King was held at the Gerald R. Ford Museum and underwritten by Foundation Trustees Hank Meijer and Liesel Meijer.

Martha Stewart Slept Here

A play about the challenges and struggles of interior decorating while at the same time maintaining a hygienic environment.

A Chance Meeting

Two-person play about a meeting between two African American former employees of a wealthy white Chicago family with very different attitudes about the past.

Estate Sale

A racially mixed couple (Fred and Sheila) whose political views are also mixed (she’s an ultra-liberal, he’s a right-winger), a scheming contractor (Vlad), a battle-ready, over-sexed estate sale dealer (Roxie) and assorted workmen and customers come together to create that blend of  agony and ecstasy known as an “estate sale.”

Do You Like Phillip Roth?

A one-act play about African-American college students at a Midwestern university during the civil-rights movement of the 1960s.

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