On the Hot Seat

In 1944, Lena Baker became the only woman ever to die in the electric chair in the state of Georgia. The black woman with a checkered past was sentenced to death by a jury of white men during a five-hour trial for killing her white employer — and abusive lover — in self-defense. Janice Liddell’s one-woman play, Who Will Sing for Lena?, which tells Baker’s story from birth to death, opens tonight in a local production by Susan Lyles’s And Toto Too theater company, which emphasizes woman-themed works by female playwrights.

“It’s really a women’s story, about how powerless women are in general,” Lyles says. “This woman in Georgia in 1944 had no hope...because she killed a white man. She’d been in jail in the past for running a whorehouse, and she had a drinking problem, but she didn’t deserve to die. She should never have been charged for capital murder in the first place.” And the fact that Baker was pardoned in Georgia more than sixty years after her death drips with irony, Lyles adds.

Libby Arnold directs, and Adrienne Martin-Fullwood stars as Baker in Who Will Sing for Lena?; shows run at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through August 3 at the Aurora Fox Theatre, 9900 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora. For information or tickets, $20 to $22 (or $11 on “cheap date night,” July 24), visit andtototoo.org or call 303-739-1970.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: July 17. Continues through Aug. 3, 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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