Moonlight Abolitionists – A Play for the Full Moon [Sold Out]

August 18, 2021

Moonlight Abolitionists

Written by Patrick Gabridge
A Concert Reading Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Produced in partnership with Plays in Place, LLC

Join us for a site-specific outdoor concert reading of a one-act play by playwright Patrick Gabridge designed to be performed at the Cemetery under the light of the full moon. Moonlight Abolitionists is a swirling conversation between six abolitionists buried at Mount Auburn: Samuel Gridley Howe, Harriet Jacobs, Joshua Bowen Smith, George and Mary Stearns, and Charles Turner Torrey. This fascinating mix of men and women, some well-known and others far less so, made enormous sacrifices for the cause of freedom.


Approximate run time: 45 minutes
Directly following the one-act play will be a discussion with Patrick Gabridge and Megan Sandberg-Zakian.

Tickets are $25 per person ($20 for members). Advance registration required.

Location: Bigelow Chapel Lawn
Rain Location: Bigelow Chapel


Monday, September 20, 8 pm SOLD OUT

Tuesday, September 21, 8 pm SOLD OUT

Wednesday, September 22, 8 pm SOLD OUT


What time should I arrive?
You will be arriving to the Cemetery after closing time, however the main gate at 580 Mount Auburn St. will be open for attendees.  Please plan to be at the Cemetery at least 15 minutes before your showtime so you have ample time to park, use the restroom and check in. 

Is there parking?
Yes, when you arrive security will direct you to parking.  You may wish to bring a flashlight to get to and from your car as it will be dark.

Is there a student/senior rate?
No, the only discounted ticket rate is for members of the Friends of Mount Auburn. Learn more about becoming a member.

Do I need to print my ticket?
No, we will have your name on our attendee list.

If I cannot make it to the show, are my tickets refundable?
If you request a refund at least 48 hours before the show, we will refund your ticket price minus the processing fee by Eventbrite. 

Is the play canceled if it is raining?
No, in the event of rain, the play will be held inside Bigelow Chapel.

Is the play handicap accessible?
The play will take place on the lawn in front of Bigelow Chapel, a short distance from where you will be directed to park.  If you have mobility issues, please call us at 617-607-1980 to discuss in more detail.

Will there be amplification?
No, the actors do not use microphones.  However, they will speak loudly so they can be heard by all.  And we intentionally keep the audience size small so that everyone has a good seat and can hear the dialogue.

Do I need to bring my own chair?
No, we will provide chairs for every attendee.

Are restrooms available?
There are accessible public restrooms in Bigelow Chapel.

Can I take photos?
Once the performance has begun, we ask that you turn off your cell phones, and put away other electronic devices.  Photos are not allowed during the performance.

Is the show appropriate for children?
The play is best suited for adults and high-school age students.

Are masks required to attend?
Yes, we are requiring masks at the shows. Although we are outdoors, you will be seated in close proximity with others for the show.

Actor Bios

Production Team list:
Written and produced by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Stage Manager:  Adele Nadine Traub
Co-Producer:  Jazzmin Bonner

Cast list:
Harriet Jacobs:  Rachel Cognata
Charles Turner Torrey:  Alexander Platt
Mary Stearns:  Amanda Collins
George Stearns:  Lewis Wheeler
Samuel Gridley Howe:  Steven Barkhimer
Joshua Bowen Smith: Damon Singletary

Bios:  (alphabetical order, by last name)

Steven Barkheimer* (Samuel Gridley Howe) appeared as Richard III as a member of the Resident Acting Company of the Actors Shakespeare Project; his play Windowmen received an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script of 2014; he is a composer and lyricist Lobstergirl (Stoneham Theatre, 2017;Time Was, independent CD); and has taught at Brandeis, MIT, BU, Cambridge College and elsewhere.

Rachel Cognata* (Harriet Jacobs). Recent credits include: Echoes (Dream Boston Series, Huntington Theatre), Gloria: A Life (American Repertory Theatre), Hype Man (2018 Elliot Norton Award winner) Greater Good, and Really (Company One Theatre); Cardboard Piano (New Repertory Theatre); The Book Club Play (Boston Playwrights Theatre). A graduate of both the Boston Arts Academy and Tufts University, Rachel is from and resides in the Boston area.

Amanda Collins* (Mary Stearns) – Amanda has worked with many Boston-area theaters including the Huntington Theatre Company, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Co., Lyric Stage, Boston Playwrights’, Gloucester Stage, Wheelock Family Theater, Central Square Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT), and Cape Rep. Regional: The Outfit in NY and Philadelphia, American Stage in Florida, founding member of Harbor Stage Company. She was in the 2019 production of The America Plays at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  She recently won an Elliot Norton Award for her performance in Merrimack Rep’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and can currently be seen in a Staples Connect commercial. Television: Olive Kitteridge (HBO), Castle Rock, Boston’s Finest (ABC Pilot) Film: Sea of Trees. Amanda is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA.

Alexander Platt* (Charles Turner Torrey) Most recently appeared as Sherlock Holmes in Gloucester Stage’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Bakserville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. Other recent credits include: Cloud 9, Arcadia (Nora Theatre); Assassins, Hedda Gabler, Far Away, Festen, Paul (Gamm Theatre); Macbeth, Social Creatures, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Trinity Rep); True West (Gloucester Stage); Miss Holmes, Neville’s Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Greater Boston Stage Company); Futurity (Wilbury Group); Alexander served as the Artistic Director of  Elemental Theatre Collective in Providence, RI from 2006-­‐2012 and has an MFA in acting from Trinity Rep Conservatory.

Megan Sandberg-Zakian (director) is a theater director, author, and educator with a passion for the development of diverse new American plays for the stage and the ear. She is a co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. Her first book, There Must Be Happy Endings: On a Theatre of Optimism and Honesty, is available from The 3rd Thing Press. Megan is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She lives in Jamaica Plain, MA, with her wife Candice.

Damon Singletary* (Joshua Bowen Smith) is a Boston-area-based actor/playwright.  Some of his recent Boston-area stage appearances include Fences (The Umbrella Stage Company); The Ebonic Woman (The Gold Dust Orphans); Birdy (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Shakespeare in Love, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (SpeakEasy Stage Company); Desire (Zeitgeist Stage Company); and Miss Holmes (Greater Boston Stage Company).  Damon is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, and lives in Cambridge with his wife Laurie (also an actor and playwright), whose love and support is invaluable.

Adele Nadine Traub*: (Stage Manager) : Founding Company Member at the Actors’ Shakespeare Project where she stage managed over 22 productions (plus one or two on Zoom).  Other stage management credits include The Huntington Theatre Company, Playwrights’ Horizons, Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY; Speakeasy Stage Co., Israeli Stage, Central Square Theatre, Vineyard Arts Project, Boston Playwrights’ Theater, Lyric Stage Company, BU’s Dance Theater Group, Brandeis University, and The Boston Conservatory. Adele is thrilled to return to Mount Auburn Cemetery after working with playwright Patrick Gabridge and Daphne the Duck on The Nature Plays and The America Plays. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and currently teaches Stage Management at Boston College and works as the Marketing Manager at J.P. Licks.

Lewis Wheeler* (George Stearns) – Lewis previously appeared in Patrick Gabridge’s Blood on the Snow (Old State House/Revolutionary Spaces). Recent credits include Pass Over (SpeakEasy Stage) and The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberly (Merrimack Repertory Theatre). Other theatres include American Repertory Theatre, New Rep, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Commonwealth Shakespeare Co., Nora Theatre, Lyric Stage, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Gloucester Stage, Greater Boston Stage, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Cape Rep, Wheelock Family Theatre, Vineyard Playhouse. Film/TV: Don’t Look Up, Little Women, Manchester by the Sea, Black Mass, Louisa May Alcott (PBS), Brotherhood, City on a Hill, NOS4A2. BA Theatre and Film Studies, Cornell University; MFA American Film Institute.

* member of Actors’ Equity Association

About Patrick Gabridge, Playwright:

Playwright Patrick Gabridge is an award-winning writer of historical and contemporary stage plays, novels, audio plays, and screenplays. His short plays have been produced more 1,000 times in theaters and schools in 14 different countries around the world and appear in various anthologies. His recent site-specific works include Blood on the Snow and Cato & Dolly for The Bostonian Society/Old State House, and Both/And: A Quantum Physics Play for the MIT Museum. In 2018 Gabridge launched Plays in Place, a new company that works in partnership with museums, historic sites, and other cultural institutions to develop and produce site-specific theatrical plays and presentations to help engage, entertain, and enlighten visitors in new and vibrant ways. Gabridge served as the 2018 – 2019 Artist in Residence of Mount Auburn.  The Mount Auburn Plays were presented in partnership with Plays in Place as one of the company’s inaugural projects.

For more information about playwright Patrick Gabridge please see; to commission a site-specific work for a museum, historic site, or other cultural institution see

Moonlight Abolitionists is supported in part by a grant from the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, and the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust.

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  1. Pingback: Moonlight Abolitionists tickets are on sale! – Plays in Place

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