The true story of 'the little girl who lived in the library'

Feeding The Dragon

   a play by Sharon Washington          

Acting, mimicking, presenting, or narrating, Washington is always a figure to watch... with a fine actor’s capacity for transformation and a born storyteller’s knack for casting a magical haze over even the most everyday events.
— Michael Feingold, The Village Voice
The play does what every good story should - it captures the mind, inspires imagination and transports the audience to a place that seems too magical to be real (yet it was!)
— Broadway World
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From 1969 until 1973 my family lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At 444 Amsterdam Avenue in an apartment on the top floor inside the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library: 
my father George, my mother Connie; my grandmother, my dog Brownie, and me. 
A typical American family. 
Living in a not-so-typical place. 

Whenever I talk about it people’s eyes widen, “It’s like a fairytale: The Little Girl Who Lived in the Library!
You HAVE to tell that story! 
So here I am.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a library... 

Moving, bittersweet and ultimately uplifting. Ms. Washington never misses a beat in making each character distinct and compellingly real.
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The St Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library

The St Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library

I’ve wanted to tell the story of my unique childhood for many years, but I’ve always thought of it as a book. Specifically a children’s book. The amazing adventures of “The Little Girl Who Lived in The Library”. 

Several years ago the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library - the library I lived in as a child - underwent a major renovation and I was asked to attend the re-opening ceremony as a special guest. I stepped into the building and the memories came rushing back. 

Around the same time there was an article published about my family in the “About New York” section of the NY Times. The next day my inbox was deluged with people wanting to write my story. I thought I’d better get it written before someone else did. But it kept coming out of me more as memoir than children’s story. 

There was the modern-day fairy tale of the “Little Girl Who Lived in the Library” but there was also another story just under the surface. Most classic fairy tales have a dark side that coexists with the “happily ever after”. That part of the story was fighting to be told as well. So I decided to follow that path - like Alice down the rabbit hole.

This play is the result of that journey of discovery. 

Of revisiting the story through the various voices of my childhood: my father, my mother, my grandmothers, aunts & uncles, neighbors & friends.

The other character in my play is New York City. In the 1970’s it was a very different place. Despite the danger and turmoil of the times there were still neighborhoods where folks looked after one another. I wanted to share a little of the lost New York City of my memories.

My hope is that each time I perform this piece I will learn - along with my audience - something new.

A shared experience. 

We step through the magic portal of memory together.

Here we go…

One actor plays in the theater are often attempted but few really succeed. The charming, funny, and moving autobiographical play Feeding the Dragon at City Theatre gets everything right.
— Pittsburgh In The Round
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