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Forest Park Instructor Wins Kevin Kline Award

April 01, 2011

Mariah L. Richardson  
Mariah L. Richardson

A St. Louis Community College-Forest Park instructor’s original one-woman show about an 8-year-old girl’s simple wish for peace on earth has won a Kevin Kline Award.

Mariah L. Richardson accepted the award for “Outstanding Production for Young Audiences” for “Delilah’s Wish” by Metro Theatre Company at the sixth annual Kevin Kline Awards on March 28. Presented by the Professional Theatre Council of St. Louis, the awards recognized excellence displayed by 10 theatre companies.

“It was surprising to win, and fun – it’s fun to win,” Richardson said.

A playwright, poet, actress and teacher, Richardson said “Delilah’s Wish” was her first nomination, and she has worked with numerous local and touring theater groups over the years.

The play is about a little girl who lives in an old north St. Louis neighborhood in transition with her grandmother because her mom is fighting in the Iraqi War. She wishes for peace on earth so that her mother can come home. In the meantime, there is conflict in her neighborhood. Richardson played Delilah, plus an assortment of characters, including Mr. Horowitz, an 80-year-old Jewish man and civil rights activist, who’s lived in the neighborhood all his life; her 10-year-old best friend Stanley who has ADD; the Abus, Muslims from Iran, who own the corner store; Miss Wanda and Miss Rita, who tend a beautiful garden down the street; Roy-Roy and Poochie, who are the neighborhood thugs; Junebug, who is 22 and raising a son by himself; and the Dobolinas, a young yuppie couple from Texas who have just moved into the neighborhood.

Richardson played all the roles when Metro Theatre Company produced it for an 18-month run, performing 80 shows for an estimated audience of 20,000.

The success of the play regionally has led to a deal with Dramatic Publishing Company, so her work will be able to be produced all over the world.

A St. Louis native and graduate of Sumner High School, Richardson received her bachelor's degree in communications from the University of New Mexico and a master’s in fine arts from Smith College in Playwrighting.

Her last play, “Sistahs Indeed!” was a mainstage production at STLCC-Forest Park in 2008. She worked with the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre for two seasons and toured for three years in Metro Theater Company’s production of “Long Road to Freedom.” Her HBO/New Writers Project solo performance show, “all that…”, has toured throughout the country.

Richardson is also a budding filmmaker. Her first short film, “5 of Cups,” premiered in The Center’s Film Festival in New York in 2004. Her third film, “Beautiful Hands,” made the rounds in film festivals, being screened by Chicks with Flicks in New York City and the 2006 St. Louis International Film Festival. She also is an accomplished poet whose work is published in many anthologies and magazines such as Essence, Sinister Wisdom and Harbinger, as well as her own chapbook, Stronger Than My Fears.  

She has taught in after-school programs, residences and homeless shelters from Los Angeles to New England. Mariah’s goal is to combine all the things she loves -- poetry, performance, film and music -- to create work which inspires others to tell their own stories and radiate the “Creator Spirit” within.

“I can’t do anything else,” she said. “I do other things, but I’m a creative at heart, so that’s what I do."