The Vineyard Playhouse continues its popular summer series of new work, the Monday Night Special, with a reading and singing of a new play by Frank Higgins entitled Black Pearl Sings onMonday, August 24at 7 p.m. at the Vineyard Playhouse.

The real-life phenomenon of musicologists seeking to record and preserve Depression-era American folk songs sparked Mr. Higgins’ Black Pearl Sings, which had its world premiere in 2007 at Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, Tex. In Higgins’ two-person play-with-music, Susannah is an ambitious song collector for the Library of Congress who feels she’s made her career breakthrough when she discovers Pearl in a Texas prison in 1935. Pearl is a living library of slave songs, which she learned from her grandmother.

Like her real-life role model, Susannah in the play considers prisoners her best resources because their remembered songs are less likely to be tainted by outside exposure, especially those who have been imprisoned for years. Higgins has incorporated 15 songs into the play (some heard only in fragments), all authentic folk pieces passed on through the oral tradition — at least until recent times.

Tickets are $25 and are reserved seating. Proceeds benefit the theatre. Please call the Vineyard Playhouse box office at 508-696-6300 or visit our website at to purchase your tickets on-line. The Monday Night Special series is sponsored by The Liman Foundation and Caroline Sharp. The reading begins at 7 p.m. and includes a brief question and answer period with the director, cast and audience. An informal reception follows downstairs in the lobby. The theater is located at 24 Church street in downtown Vineyard Haven.