For Immediate Release
Contact: Theresa M. MacNaughton,
office: 860-520-7114

Hartford Stage to Present Feeding the Dragon, Written and Performed by
Sharon Washington

Co-Production with Primary Stages will run
January 11 – February 4

Hartford, CT – December 11, 2017 – Hartford Stage Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts announced today that Feeding the Dragon, the moving debut solo play written and performed by award-winning stage and screen actress Sharon Washington, will run January 11 through February 4, 2018.

Feeding the Dragon, a co-production with Primary Stages, made its world premiere at City Theatre in Pittsburgh in 2016. The production will be directed by Maria Mileaf.

Entertainment Weekly says, “Sharon Washington is fabulous,” and Huffington Post calls her “a keen actress, and a thorough joy.” Charles Isherwood from The New York Times ​says, "Don’t forget to bring the sunscreen. Giving a breakout performance as Aunt Glo, the ferociously funny Ms. Washington blazes so brightly it could come in handy.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls Feeding the Dragon “moving, bittersweet and uplifting,” and the Pittsburgh City Paper raves that it is “the loveliest 90 minutes on local stages.”

Feeding the Dragon is a beautiful portrait of the artist as a child and young woman in New York. Sharon Washington takes us on an engrossing journey through key moments in her childhood that have deeply informed the artist she has grown up to be, in her powerful and moving one-woman show,” said Elizabeth Williamson, Associate Artistic Director for Hartford Stage.

Darko Tresnjak, Artistic Director for Hartford Stage, added, “Like Mona Golabek’s The Pianist of Willesden Lane, which graced our stage two years ago, and James Lecesne’s The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, which we presented last season, Feeding the Dragon is a moving, intimate, and highly personal story - one that only Sharon Washington could tell. We are so happy that 2018 at Hartford Stage kicks off with this beautiful play.”

This intimate, heartwarming true story chronicles Washington’s childhood growing up in the custodial apartment of a New York Public Library, where her father toiled night and day loading the fiery furnace with coal (“feeding the dragon”). Washington’s tale boldly examines how the power of forgiveness and her lifelong love for the written word helped her battle dragons of all forms.

Washington said of her play, “People have always been very interested in my story – the little girl who lived in the library; it’s like a fairy tale. I thought if someone is going to tell my story, it should be me. There is also the flipside of the fairy tale – the reality of what it was like growing up in New York City in the 1970s when times were changing. It could be a dangerous place, but there were also strong working class neighborhoods. I loved watching my father stoke the furnace. It was very hard manual labor –but, to me, it was like watching a knight feed a dragon. He opened up this world — he gave me a library.” 

Washington has acted professionally for almost 30 years. She made her Broadway debut in the critically-acclaimed The Scottsboro Boys, in the role she originated Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theater. She recently appeared Off-Broadway at the Vineyard in the world premiere of Dot by Tony Award nominee Colman Domingo. Other Off-Broadway credits include While I Yet Live by Tony Award winner Billy Porter at Primary Stages; Luce by JC Lee at Lincoln Center Theater (LCT3); and Wild With Happy, also by Colman Domingo, at the Public Theater, for which she received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination and an Audelco Award.

Washington will ​be seen in the upcoming feature film On the Basis Of Sex (2018), starring Felicity Jones and directed by Mimi Leder,​ and the Hulu limited series The Looming Tower (2018). Other film recent appearances include ​playing opposite Danny DeVito in Weiner Dog and George Clooney in Michael Clayton. Washington has also appeared in GothamBlue BloodsThe BlacklistWhite CollarRoyal PainsDamages, The Bourne Legacy, School of RockHalf NelsonThe Long Kiss Goodnight, Malcolm XDie Hard With A VengeanceLaw & OrderLaw & Order: CILaw & Order: SVU and the web series Hustling for which she received a 2015 Indie Series Award for Best Supporting Actress – Drama.

Director Maria Mileaf’s credits include the New York premieres of Lee Blessing’s Going to St. Ives at Primary Stages, Kira Obolensky’s Lobster Alice at Playwrights Horizons, and Vijay Tendulkar’s Sakharam Binder at The Play Company. She has also directed works at La Jolla Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and New York Stage and Film.

Feeding the Dragon’s artistic team includes Scenic Designer Tony Ferrieri (Hand to God at Pittsburgh CLO, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre); Costume Designer Toni-Leslie James (August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson at Hartford Stage, The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway); Lighting Designer Ann G. Wrightson (The Rembrandt at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, A Streetcar Named Desire at Portland Center Stage); Sound Designer Lindsay Jones (A Time to Kill and Bronx Bombers on Broadway); Lloyd Davis, Jr. (Abundance and Breath & Imagination at Hartford Stage) is the Production Stage Manager, assisted by Robyn Zalewski (Production Stage Manager for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Heartbreak House at Hartford Stage). 


The Lead Sponsor is Robinson+Cole.

The 2017-18 Season is also sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

Special Dates
Previews begin 7:30 p.m., Thursday, January 11
Opening Night: 8 p.m., Friday, January 19
Closes: 2 p.m., Sunday, February 4

Tickets & Performances
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun at 7:30 p.m.—Fri, Sat at 8 p.m.—Sat, Sun at 2 p.m.
Wed matinee at 2 p.m. on January 24 only.
Weekly schedules vary. For details, visit

Tickets for all shows start at $25. College and youth tickets: $18. For group discounts (10 or more), email Additional discounts are also available:

For all other tickets, please call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit

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Special Events

  • Pride & Plays!–January 17, 6 p.m. FREE pre-show nosh and complimentary wine, soda and coffee (plus cash bar drink specials) for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patrons and allies. Use Promo Code LGBT25 to save 25% off seats for that evening’s 7:30 p.m. performance.
  • Sunday Afternoon Discussion, January 21. Enjoy a lecture from artists and scholars connected with the production immediately following the 2 p.m. matinee. Free
  • AfterWords Discussion—Tuesday, January 23, Wednesday, January 24, and Tuesday, January 30. Join members of the cast and our Artistic staff for a free discussion, immediately following select 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday or the 2 p.m. Wednesday matinee.
  • Open Captioned Performances—Sunday, January 28, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss — free service with admission.

  • HPL @ Hartford Stage–January 11 through February 4. Hartford Public Library and Hartford Stage invite you to dig deeper into the world of the plays onstage. Take out a book today! Select books available at the theatre and at each Hartford branch library.

  • Audio Described Performance—Saturday, February 3, 2 p.m. For patrons who are blind or have low vision — free service with admission.
Feeding the Dragon
Sharon Washington

Sharon Washington


Now in its 54th season, Hartford Stage’s mission is to enlighten, entertain, and educate by creating theatrical works of the highest caliber that have a transformative impact on audiences, the community, and its field. Led by Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts, Hartford Stage is renowned for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals – including over 70 world and American premieres – as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches approximately 21,000 students annually.

Since Tresnjak’s appointment in 2011, Hartford Stage has presented the world premieres of the new musical Anastasia by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens – currently on Broadway; Rear Window with Kevin Bacon; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty; A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Tresnjak; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger's Children; and Tea at Five.