BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL streaming on the Metropolitan Virtual Playhouse

Obie Award-winning Metropolitan Playhouse presents free new “featured” reading, so huge it has to be featured over two weekends, streamed live for free, with its revolutionary and signature visual magic, and debate at follow: BERTHA, LA MACHINE À COUDRE FILLE – Part one, by Charles Foster.

Airing April 17, 2021 at 8 p.m. EST until April 22, 2021 at 10 p.m. EST. Available at:

The video will be available on the Playhouse webpage, the Metropolitan Playhouse YouTube channel and the Metropolitan Playhouse Facebook page. The second part of the play will run from April 24-28, 2021. The model of virtue and integrity, Bertha Bascomb works as a sewing machine operator for the condescending Miss Pinch, the strict Mr. Carson and her lascivious son, Joe . She would leave for greener pastures, but not without her father’s consent and her wages withheld. She doesn’t know, the envious Lizette – another sewing machine girl – and the miser Carter – who holds the secrets of Bertha’s past – have plans worse for her than a life of drudgery. Her only salvation may be a drunken waster whose life she must change if she hopes to get out of the sweatshop, stay out of jail and marriage. Leave BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL.

Emerging from the tearful pages of “The New York Weekly” on the Bowery Theater stage in 1871, BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL was a social cause that came to life and flourished for the last three decades of the 19th century. She was brought to life in a new version in 1906 and 1939 thanks to the powerful International Union of Women’s Garment Workers on their work scene under the name “Pins and Needles”.

The popularity of the play attests to the enduring appeal of sincere but broad interpretations of human conflict and aspirations, as well as of the essential truths at the heart of the play: the righteous are tormented by the selfish, the lucky by the resentful, the helpless. by the powerful, and chance plays a much bigger role in our daily lives than we would like. In this time of serious inquiry into social inequality, this haughty melodrama speaks more clearly and sincerely than it has in years.

Reading Metropolitan embraces the promise of two-dimensional drama with all the glories of two-dimensional “staging” that society has magically embraced during the pandemic.

A discussion including audience participation follows the reading with Kim Miller, associate professor of theatrical arts at the University of the Cumberlands. The production features 14 actors under the direction of artistic director Alex Roe and includes Becca Ballenger, Craig Anthony Bannister, John Blaylock, Diego Carvajal, Margaret Catov, Linus Gelber, Tyler Kent, Peter Loureiro, Beethovan Oden, Madelynn Poulson, David Logan Rankin, Jay Romero, Hannah Sharafian and Tom Staggs. Graphic art by Medusa Studio.

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