DOWN TO EARTHA

Acclaimed Eartha Kitt biographical solo play returns for Black History Month
February 23 - 2, 2022 at Gene Frankel Theatre

Buy tickets HERE.

"Brilliant... Dierdra McDowell not only writes about the life of Eartha Kitt but embodies her... stunningly directed by Marishka S. Phillips." -- Linda Armstrong, Amsterdam News

"Dierdra McDowell did an uncanny job representing Eartha Kitt...this show is a must see." -- Eva Heinemann, Hi! Drama

"McDowell’s performance shines a spotlight on a raw nerve in American history, one that involves not only the anti-war movement but the role of women in America." -- Cliff Cunningham, Sun News Tucson

MPTP Productions Intl. in association with 24 Bond Arts Center present a return engagement of DOWN TO EARTHA, a one woman show written and performed by Dierdra McDowell (2-time AUDELCO Award nominee for Outstanding Solo Performance as Eartha Kitt), and directed by Marishka S. Phillips. In celebration of Black History Month, performances run February 23-27 at Gene Frankel Theatre.

In January 1968 entertainer and activist Eartha Kitt was invited to the White House by Lady Bird Johnson to partake in a women's luncheon to discuss rising crime rates in America. At the luncheon, Eartha stood up and expressed her views that the increase in crime was mostly due to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Lady Bird was personally insulted by the comment and shortly after, by order of President Lyndon Johnson, Kitt was blacklisted from work in the United States for 10 years. In one act filled with drama and music, DOWN TO EARTHA recounts Eartha Kitt’s memories of that fateful day and her personal journey to reclaim her own power and freedom.

DOWN TO EARTHA features lighting and sound by Sir Real, costumes by Dierdra McDowell, set by Marishka S. Phillips, live drums played by Atiba Morales and stage management by Rosita Timms. It is sponsored by Miko Branch and Miss Jessie’s Natural Hair Products (who will provide gift bags at all performances). Previous productions of DOWN TO EARTHA have been seen at The Dwyer in Harlem, The Gene Frankel Theatre and Invisible Theatre in Tucson, AZ.

Broadway actress, director, and thespian guru, Marishka S. Phillips is a native of Brooklyn, New York. At thirteen she was cast in the European tour of Raisin, a musical version of A Raisin In The Sun. She honed her skills at Alvin Ailey School of Dance, Broadway Dance Center, and Fordham University, where she studied theater arts. Marishka’s big break came with the Broadway musical, Uptown: It’s Hot (directed by Maurice Hines). Her stage credits include Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, FAME: The Musical, The Wiz, The Me Nobody Knows, Stage & Screen (directed by Hinton Battle) and Woody King’s production of Sweet Mama String Bean, for which she received an AUDELCO nomination. In 2002, Marishka released a musical recording on Hinterland Records entitled The Hike, and in 2007, she released At The Waterfront on Mole Listening Pearls. Marishka is bona fide triple threat, and has performed and toured with Sean P.Diddy Combs, Christian Castro, and CeCe Winans, to name a few. As an acting coach, she founded the Marishka Phillips Theatrical Preparatory and has coached some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Deborah Cox, Kerry Washington, Terri Vaughn, Nicole Beharie, Nafessa Williams, Tasha Smith and Elizabeth Rohm. As a theater director, Marishka studied at the Los Angeles Community College, and has directed two revered off-Broadway productions: Box and Precious. Recent theater directing credits include The Diary of An Afro Goddess & Down To Eartha: Both One Woman Shows (nominated for an AUDELCO Award), Each Scar Has A Story, Storage, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the musical For All My Girls. Her film and TV directing credits include the short Love Always, Eartha (about Eartha Kitt), the feature film Melinda (starring LaChanze and Lillias White) and the TV pilot I Am Charlie.

Dierdra McDowell was born in Brooklyn, New York... with Panamanian roots. As an actress, Ms. McDowell is honored to claim guest star appearances in current television shows including POWER, Odd Mom Out, and Mr. Robot. She is honored for work in feature-length and short films including 4:44 directed by Abel Ferrera and starring Willem Dafoe (as his ex-wife). She remains proud of her work in commercials for Verizon Fios, Time Warner Cable, Pearle Vision, Home Depot, Spray and Wash, Wii, and Allegra D to name a few. She is also delighted to have worked with Susan Lucci on the former hit soap opera All My Children.

DOWN TO EARTHA runs February 23 – 27, Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 4pm. Gene Frankel Theatre is located at 24 Bond Street, between Bowery and Lafayette -- accessible from B,D,F,M trains at Broadway/Lafayette or the #6 at Bleecker. Tickets are $20 - $25, available at www.downtoeartha.com.