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Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Reading Set for Jan. 19

Wirtz Center hosts free dramatic reading of an inspiring Lydia R. Diamond play

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A free Jan. 19 staged reading of “The Gift Horse,” in commemoration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, will be co-presented by the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University and the Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre and the City of Evanston.

Penned by playwright and Northwestern University alumna Lydia R. Diamond (Broadway's “Stick Fly”), “The Gift Horse” explores the complexities of human interaction in love, commitment and tragedy and celebrates the resilience of the soul.

Directed by Northwestern University School of Communication faculty member Aaron Todd Douglas, and featuring Fleetwood Jourdain Artistic Director Tim Rhoze, the reading will be staged at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19, in the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University's Evanston campus. Doors will open at 1:45 p.m.

“The Gift Horse” is the story of Ruth, a young African-American artist and teacher, who discovers how to appreciate what she has while she has it. A beautiful and mysterious cellist spools her own story, as Ruth takes the audience on a tumultuous journey, moving back and forth in time as characters from the past and present collide.

“It is a pleasure to partner with Northwestern University to honor Dr. King’s legacy through a special reading of this terrific script,” said Tim Rhoze, Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre’s artistic director. “I’m certain audiences will leave the theatre genuinely moved and delighted by Lydia Diamond’s poetic and beautiful play.”

Admission is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is recommended. RSVP at

For more information, phone (847) 491-4819, visit the Wirtz Center website at or email