The YWCA of Northeastern New York tonight will stage Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, an episodic play that focuses on all manner of women’s issues – from body image and menstruation to genital mutilation and sex work.
It’s hard to over sell the importance of this play, which New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood called “the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.”
The YWCA of Northeastern New York in Schenectady is a charter member of the YWCA USA and was established in 1888. In its 132-year history, this organization has focused on adapting to a rapidly changing society while providing services to hundreds of local women.
The YWCA has a shelter for women and children with fully furnished residences and a hotline for abuse victims – both open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The organization currently provides services to more than 4,000 women, children, and families.
The Vagina Monologues was first performed in 1996. Written a full two decades before the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Ensler put women in the spotlight and made it clear that like it or not, society has always defined women by what is between their legs.
The Schenectady YWCA first began giving performances of Ensler’s pivotal play in the 1990s. Back then, the goal was simply to entertain the building residents. The performances went dormant for about a decade, but in 2018 YWCA directors revived the show in an effort to both raise funds for local charities and further support women in the area.
Partnering with Proctors, the YWCA began recruiting women throughout the Capital Region to participant. The event exploded in popularity. Last year, a reception outside the GE Theater at Proctors, where the show is performed, was added.
This year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet.
The pre-show reception kicks off at 6 p.m. in the GE Theater Lobby. There will be a raffle with multiple items available, including gift certificates, jewelry, wine and more. There will also be a cash bar, a candy bar, popcorn, a risqué balloon and more. Everyone is welcome.
A wide variety of women are scheduled to read for this year’s show and standup comedian Jennifer McMullen will serve as the emcee. Cast members include:
WNYT News Channel 13 Anchor Karen Tararache, Schenectady City Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo, Jessica Sheridan (Redburn Development), Tiffany Orner (JDog Junk Removal and female vet), Karen Radley (yoga instructor), a Troy-based artist Karyn Draper, Katrina Middleton and Victoria Daley (female vets from our community), some fierce women’s advocates from Planned Parenthood Teresa Casullo, Hemavattie Ramtahal and Danielle Gonazalez.
Multiple members of the YWCA of Northeastern New York’s staff and board will also participate.
A new addition this year was a “Call for Submissions” by the YWCA – a plea for stories that fit within the genre of the show to be added in and read onstage. Many great stories were submitted, but the standout piece was penned by one of YWCA’s own domestic abuse counselors – Epiphany ‘Piph’ McGee. She wrote a highly relatable piece for many women on faking orgasms, and how she refuses to do it anymore. I can’t wait for the audience to hear it!
Please do yourself a favor, join the Schenectady YWCA of Northeastern New York at the GE Theater at Proctors tonight for their performance of The Vagina Monologues. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m.
The YWCA would also like to announce the 2020 Women of Achievement Awards. It is the 37th year of these awards that recognize 10 women from throughout the Capital Region for their amazing accomplishments and contributions to the community. This year’s inductees are:
- YWCA NorthEastern NY and New York Oncology Hematology are pleased to announce the 2020 Women of Achievement Awards. The 37th Annual Awards Luncheon will recognize 10 outstanding women from the Capital Region. Induction into the Women of Achievement Academy is both an honor and a privilege. This year’s honorees, who were selected from a large field of candidates, will join over 250 women who have received this prestigious award since its inception.
- Barbara Artis – Travel Trainer, Capital District Transportation Authority, Diversity & Inclusion Award
- Onicela Cedeño – Travel Trainer, Capital District Transportation Authority, Diversity & Inclusion Award
- Cheryl Hage-Perez – Executive Director, Veterans & Community Housing Coalition, Community Development Award
- Sabrina Mosseau – Executive Director, New York Oncology Hematology, Medicine Award
- Michelle Pollard – Owner, Studio 4 Yoga & Pilates, Health & Wellness Award
- Cynthia V. Powell – Wealth Management Specialist, First Scotia Wealth Management, Susan Rosenthal Woman in Business Award
- Jessica Sheridan – Marketing Director, Redburn Development, Philanthropy Award
- Natalie Smarro – Owner, Three Generations, Small Business Award
- Miranda VonFricken – Transformational Life & Career Coach, Empowering Women Award.
- Every year there is a woman who goes above and beyond in their service to the YWCA of Northeastern NY – this year recepient is Alissa Quinn, Senior Vice President, UBS, The Quinn Wealth Management Group
The luncheon & awards ceremony will be held on Friday, March 27, 2020, at the Rivers Casino & Resort Event Center from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Heather Peterson of Peterson, Campoli & Associates CPAs, PLLC and Alissa Quinn, two past awardees at the Women of Achievement celebration are serving as the Honorary Chairwomen. JoDee Kenney, journalist and news anchor at Spectrum News, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
Photo credit: Kerrie Wolf-Piechota