Merkerson, O'Connell co-starring in free WTF play reading at the Clark

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WILLIAMSTOWN >> Williamstown Theatre Festival will present a free reading of Jen Silverman's "The Roommate" with S. Epatha Merkerson and Deirdre O'Connell, June 2 at the Clark Art Institute, 225 South St.

The reading begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Michael Conforti Pavilion and will be followed by a conversation with WTF artistic director Mandy Greenfield about the process of work on new plays as well as WTF's 2016 season.

The reading runs for approximately two hours. Late arrivals will not be seated.

Reservations are required and can be made online at clarkart.edu or by phone at 413-458-0524.

Mike Donahue is directing Silverman's play about empty-nested and husbandless Sharon, who takes on a roommate in her Iowa City home. She gets a bit more than she bargained for when Robyn, a beat poet from the Bronx, moves in and an unexpected friendship ignites between these two very different women.

Merkerson is best known for her role as the smart and shrewd Lt. Anita Van Buren on the long-running TV crime drama, "Law & Order." She currently stars in "Chicago Med," another NBC series from "Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf. She received the Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for "Lackawanna Blues." Merkerson has a long list of Broadway and off-Broadway credits and honors that include Drama Desk- and Tony Award nominations for Best Actress for her performances in the 2008 Broadway revival of Williams Inge's "Come Back, Little Sheba" and in August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" (1995); a 1992 Obie Award for her performance in "I'm Not Stupid;" and a 1998 Helen Hayes Award for her starring role in the John Henry Redwood play, "The Old Settler."

The Obie-, Drama Desk- and Ovation Award-winning O'Connell was honored with a 2015 Lilly Award for contributions made to American theater by women. Recent theater credits include productions at Steppenwolf, Page 73, Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, Rattlestick, Labyrinth, The Flea Theater, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, and Mark Taper Forum. Her television credits include recurring roles on "The Path," "Nurse Jackie" and "The Affair."


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