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"Ray Yamanouchi’s biting play, staged with breathless momentum by Axel Avin Jr, was caustic and challenging."

"The gleefully anachronistic show...has a rambunctious punk-rock energy that’s all too rare on our increasingly sanitized stages."
- Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New Yorker

"Exceptionally committed acting from a cast of five!"
- Adam Feldman, TimeOut New York, Critics' Pick

"Startlingly fresh, new play."
- Dan Rubins, Theatre is Easy, 'Best Bet'

"A confrontational, blackly comic tale that builds a bridge between the ghastly realities of the antebellum South and the racial divides of today...If Bertolt Brecht were alive today, he might be creating something very much like The American Tradition."
- David Barbour, Lighting & Sound America

"The play is a sort of sociopolitical farce, reminiscent of productions that The San Francisco Mime Troupe has been staging for speeds along at a rollicking pace."
- Mark Dundas Wood,

Photos by Jody Christopherson

"The American Tradition bears an emotional potency that sticks in the mind."
- Gillian Russo, Plays To See

"Ray Yamanouchi's 'The American Tradition' cleverly puts the American Slavery of the past into the future w/a very dramatic opening that doesn't hit home til the end of the play...Superb ensemble."
- Eva Heinemann, Hi! Drama

"Director Axel Avin Jr.brings out Yamanouchi’s sly humor, notably in a feminist strain...Avin’s actors handle the mash-up of periods with aplomb."
- Edward Karam, Off-Off-Online

Video by Hallie & Zach Griffin

"Here's one to see: a tart, fast, sharply directed satire. There are super performances across the board; everyone is punching hard."

- Helen Shaw

"This podcast isn't in the reviewing business...but sometimes, I see a show that, frankly, I firmly believe everyone, theatre-maker, theatre-lover, and civilian alike, should see. This is one of those shows."

- Robert Gonyo, Go See a Show

Listen & Learn from
Cast & Creatives of

The American Tradition
speaking w/ Go See a Show's
Robert Gonyo!
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Click here to read the bios of our cast, creative + production teams.

Eleanor - Sydney Cole Alexander

Bill - Martin K. Lewis *

Mr. Walsh - Alex Herrald*

Buckley/Henry/Sheriff - Hunter Canning *

Rose - Danie Steel





Written by Ray Yamanouchi

Directed by Axel Avin, Jr.

Produced by Sarah Norris & Michael Aguirre

Casting by Gama Valle 

Line Producing by Rebecca Crigler 

Fight Direction by Leighton Samuels 

Scenic Design by Brian Dudkiewicz 

Costume Design by Samantha Rose Lind

Lighting Design by Elaine Wong

Music & Sound Design by Enrico de Trizio

Prop Design by Leila Ben-Abdallah 

Stage Management by Chelsea Olivia Friday *

Assistant Stage Management by Alicia Parker

Assistant Direction by Cynthia Cunningham

Technical Direction by ToniAnne DiFilippo 

Press Representation by Karen Greco

† indicates NLTP company member

*indicates member of Actors' Equity Association

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Cast and Creative Team for The American Tradition.

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About the Play

Set in Antebellum America with an absurd and Brechtian twist, fictitious characters Eleanor—cross-dressing as a white planter—and her husband, Bill—pretending to be her loyal servant—attempt to escape to the free state of Pennsylvania. Their operation is running smoothly until they meet Walsh, a drunk planter and member of the Not All Slavers organization, who steals Bill at a rest stop. Armed with a Glock-19 and her fair skin, Eleanor sets out to rescue him by any means necessary.

Winner of 2018-2019 New Light New Voices Award

Developed in part with the support of Rising Circle Theater Collective at the INKtank Play Development Lab for Emerging Artists of Color.

Named 'Best of Theater 2019' - Slant Magazine

January 25 - February 16, 2019

13th Street Repertory Company

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