Play With Fire 

Charlayne Woodard's name isn't exactly a household word. Fans of the New York stage may remember Woodard, an actress and singer, from her acclaimed debut in Dreamgirls or her work in Suzan Lori-Parks' groundbreaking drama In the Blood. But Woodard is also an accomplished playwright, and Pretty Fire, the autobiographical one-woman show she penned and first performed in 1992, has received numerous awards.

Pretty Fire, which can be seen at the Hattiloo Theatre through September 9th, is less a play and more a collection of short stories intended to be read aloud. With earthy humor and unflinching honesty, it tells the story of a talented, loving, and tightly knit African-American family whose (mostly) happy lives in the urban north are informed by the bucolic landscapes and brutal realities of the Jim Crow South.

Pretty Fire is directed by Teresa Morrow, the Arts for Social Change director for Heifer International. It features gently powerful performances by Hattiloo regulars Charlie Giggers and Tara Hickey and a star turn by Michaelyn Oby, whose beautifully resonant voice is almost too big for the tiny playhouse.

"Pretty Fire," at The hattiloo theatre, 656 Marshall. Tickets: $15 for adults; $12 for students and seniors. Through September 9th. For more information, call 502-3486.

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