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Playwright      Opera Librettist      Musical Bookwriter      Lyricist     Screenwriter

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The Hattie McDaniel Story
By Joan Ross Sorkin

“McDaniel's remarkable life, career and controversy are examined in the fascinating new play by Joan Ross Sorkin.”
“The script is impressively worthy of its material, and manages to avoid the traps that so often plague one-person shows.” 
“Sorkin's script accomplishes the remarkable feat of conveying history without being didactic. The story remains interesting throughout...”

“Playwright Joan Ross Sorkin's clever framework gives McDaniel fervent motivation to tell her story. This smart and persuasive drama reveals the complex history behind one of Hollywood's most important actresses.” 
--Off Off Online

“Capathia Jenkins miraculously brings the Academy Award-winning actress to life…Sorkin’s words masterfully capture the ups and downs of McDaniel’s life...”
--The Scarlett Letter

“Joan Ross Sorkin’s absorbing new play shares McDaniel’s story and sheds light on her heroic struggle to forge an acting career and maintain her dignity in a time when the only roles black women were as maids and mammies. An outstanding Capathia Jenkins plays the resilient McDaniel in Sorkin’s one-woman show…[a] vivid portrayal of McDaniel.”
--The Scarsdale Inquirer

“An evocative, informative, insightful examination [of the life of Hattie McDaniel.] It's the best thing I've seen in quite a while.”
--Hi! Drama (Channel MNN57 (TV)

Click to examine more complete press writings of (mis)UNDERSTANDING MAMMY: The Hattie McDaniel Story

Music by Chandler Carter
Libretto by Joan Ross Sorkin
“…Ms. Sorkin’s libretto tells the story in abundant detail with subtly poetic, often rhymed lines…”
--Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“...a stunner of an opening performance, giving us a basic struggle that is uniquely American, and yet delivering on everything that we expect of modern opera: stirring voices, fine characters, a terrific and adaptive set, and a full stage of voices with singers who are among the top voices in their craft... This opera is truly American, having as its root the jazz/blues style of music.” 
--Alan Hall, “Front Row Center,” Theatre in the Triangle

“Masterful work…so beautifully sung...[it] brought tears to my eyes…”
--Ken Hoover, Classical Voice of North Carolina

“[T]here is no denying Carter and Sorkin's assured talent in a work that will easily bear repeated exposure.”
--Roy C. Dicks, The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC

"It takes a very long time for art to process history and when an artwork comes along that makes a righteous step down that path toward understand, it is very exciting. Such a work [Strange Fruit] was presented in UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall last weekend..."
-- Kate Dobbs Ariail, The Independent Weekly

Click to examine more complete press writings of Strange Fruit

an upside-down Cinderella fairy tale

Music and Lyrics by Steven Fisher
Book by Joan Ross Sorkin and Steven Fisher

“…a nearly perfect pastry of a show…that rare achievement, matched only by the likes of Shrek or Aladdin.”  
--The New York Times (Rob Kendt) 

“The book by Steven Fisher and Joan Ross Sorkin…is consistently witty and well drawn...Steven Fisher’s music and lyrics are ‘accomplished’ and ‘endlessly inventive.’ ” 
--The New York Times (Rob Kendt)

“Musical theater magic.” 
--The Scarsdale Inquirer (Debra Banerjee)

“Pure kids’ theatre of the cheeriest sort…Steven Fisher’s bouncy and bright score, with some dozen songs, matches the book by Fisher and Joan Ross Sorkin.” 
--Backstage (Ron Cohen)

Click to examine more complete press writings of Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell


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