Monthly Archives: July, 2013

Power Play Stars Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman Featured in SonEdna Mid- Morning Matinee Reading Series on July 31, 2013

Roscoe Orman

Roscoe Orman

The SonEdna Mid- Morning Matinee Reading Series kicks off with Family Story Hour at the Forsyth County Public Library Malloy/Jordan East Winston Heritage Center, on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, featuring the stellar celebrity duo, “Sesame Street” icon Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson-Washington, Orman’s co-star in the NBTF drama Power Play by Lorey Hayes. Orman, best known for playing Gordon on “Sesame Street” and spokesperson for AudibleKids.com, will delight young audiences, reading aloud from his premiere children’s book, Ricky and Mobo, a modern fable about a boy and his horse. Pearson-Washington will follow with an interactive reading of Ellington is Not A Street by literary icon Ntozake Shange, author of the Broadway classic for colored girls who considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. A delightful double bill for young and old, one and all! The Forsyth County Public Library Malloy/Jordan East Winston Heritage Center is located at 1110 East Seventh St.,Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Click here for a map and directions.
11:00AM – 12:30PM
Pauletta Washington

Pauletta Pearson Washington


Each SonEdna Mid- Morning Matinee reading will be followed by an intimate Q&A and a book signing. All of the events will be presented at Forsyth County Public Library sites in Winston-Salem and all are free to NBTF patrons and the public.

SonEdna was founded by Myrna Colley-Lee in 2006 to bring together writers from around the country, allowing them to interact with each other, the public, and students in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship. SonEdna believes that people empowered through the literary arts discern, decide, and design with greater authority, clarity, understanding, and compassion.

In 2011, SonEdna made its National Black Theatre Festival debut with the dramatic reading of Ifa Bayeza’s Charleston Olio, which was adapted from her novel, “Some Sing, Some Cry” and featured Phylicia Rashad and National Black Theatre Festival former Co-Chair Hattie Winston.

Other SonEdna programs include salons, student writing workshops, school presentations, peer critical review for emerging writers, retreats and residencies for established writers, literary showcases.

For more information please contact SonEdna Director Benjamen Douglas at 662.625.6178.

National Black Theatre Festival
NBTF is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1979. The Festival, also founded by Hamlin, has been held biennially since 1989. The event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was named one of the Top 100 events in North America by the American Business Association. This is the only national black theater festival in the country offering six consecutive days of professional theater, film, poetry, workshops, seminars and shopping.

For additional information and a schedule of events, call the festival office at (336) 723-2266, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.nbtf.org online.

Tonya Pinkins, Dorien Wilson, Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Rain Pryor, André De Shields, Debbi Morgan, Chester Gregory, Tommy Ford and More Set for National Black Theatre Festival® in Winston-Salem, NC

The 2013 National Black Theatre Festival® (NBTF) held in the city of the arts Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from Monday July 29th- Saturday August 3rd, 2013, will be yet another starr-studded affair, with actors Tonya Pinkins and Dorien Wilson serving as celebrity co-chairs.

Tonya Pinkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Tonya Pinkins. Photo by Lia Chang


The NBTF is one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and is produced by The North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC). NBTF is the only theatre festival in the country offering six consecutive days of professional theatre. Other components of the festival include workshops, a reader’s theatre of new works, a film festival, a poetry jam, a youth celebrity project, a vendor’s market, and The International Colloquium. NBTF officials have also created exciting events for teens during Festival week with TEENtastic. Events include a dance contest, a gospel music workshop and concert, formal event and much more. Officials say over 60,000 people are expected to attend the event, along with celebrities from stage, screen, and television.

Tonya Pinkins received the coveted Tony Award for her performance as “Sweet Anita” in the Broadway musical, Jelly’s Last Jam. She also received Tony nominations for her role in the Broadway musical Play On and for the title role in Caroline, Or Change. Although she is probably most admired for her stage work, soap opera fans remember her as “Livia Frye” on “All My Children” or “Heather Dalton” on “As The World Turns.” Pinkins returns to Winston-Salem after having performed in two previous NBTF productions: Pandora’s Box with Kim Fields and the celebrity staged reading of What Would Jesus Do? She will perform her one-woman show Tonya Pinkins UNPLUGGED at this year’s festival.

Lia Chang, Tommy Ford and Lorey Hayes at The James Stephens III Foundation Scholarship Gala in Florence, S.C. on May 4, 2013. Photo by B. Charles

Lia Chang, Tommy Ford and Lorey Hayes at The James Stephens III Foundation Scholarship Gala in Florence, S.C. on May 4, 2013. Photo by B. Charles


Dorien Wilson may be best known for his portrayal of Professor Olglevee on The Parkers, a role which solidified him as a mainstay in television. He received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for this role. His career includes many other television roles as well. He first became known as the smooth-talking talk show host “Eddie Charles” in HBO’s hit comedy series “Dream On.” He appeared in recurring roles in “Sister, Sister,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” and was the first African-American to have a recurring role on “Friends.” Wilson has strong roots in theatre and has appeared in more than 75 plays. A longtime supporter of the NBTF, Wilson has performed in several productions in previous Festivals. Wilson will be starring in the production of Love and Other Four Letter Words along side popular television actor Tommy Ford best known for his work from the TV show “Martin.” The N.C. Black Repertory Company will present the gospel musical Crowns.
Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington in Lorey Hayes' Power Play. Photo by Will Chang

Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play. Photo by Will Chang

The NBTF is also proud to bring back, Broadway actor and festival-favorite Chester Gregory in his show The Eve of Jackie: A Tribute to Jackie Wilson.This dynamic musical will open the festival following a star-studded opening night gala. Gregory took audiences by storm with his portrayal of Wilson in The Jackie Wilson Story during two previous festivals.This year’s festival offers a wide range of theatrical performances including drama, comedies, musicals, choreoplays and multi-media productions. The shows will include celebrity performances throughout the week, featuring actors like Rain Pryor, daughter of famed comedian Richard Pryor, Debbi Morgan, Kim Coles, Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington, wife of Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play, and theatre icon, André De Shields, who returns to the Festival in Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss after playing to soldout houses in 2011, and many more.
André De Shields as Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois in Charles Smith's Knock Me A Kiss. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields as Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois in Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss. Photo by Lia Chang

S. Epatha Merkerson. Photo by Lia Chang

S. Epatha Merkerson. Photo by Lia Chang

“We are so excited about all of our main stage productions this year. Our selection committee did an excellent job. The talent we will be bringing to the 2013 NBTF will be Marvtastic and will reach audiences of all ages” said Gerry Patton, Executive Director NCBRC. Patton also added that the NCBRC is happy to honor some theatre greats during the award ceremony at the opening night gala. Those being honored include veteran actor and longtime festival supporter Hal Williams. Williams will receive the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award. Other awardees include star of stage and screen, Starletta DuPois, and S. Epatha Merkerson, who captivated audiences for years as Lt. Van Buren on Law & Order. Visit www.nbtf.org, for a complete list of performances and awardees.

NBTF is proud to be in partnership with the following sponsors this year: City of Winston Salem, The Millennium Fund, Reynolds American, Visit Winston-Salem, Hanesbrands, Inc., Twin City Quarter, Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, N.C. Arts Council, Truliant Federal Credit Union, Inc., Wells Fargo Bank, Winston-Salem State University, Novant Health, Duke Energy Foundation, American Express, Verizon Wireless and The Marvtastic Society.

NBTF is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1979. The Festival, also founded by Hamlin, has been held biennially since 1989. The event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was named one of the Top 100 events in North America by the American Business Association. This is the only national black theater festival in the country offering six consecutive days of professional theater, film, poetry, workshops, seminars and shopping.

For additional information and a schedule of events, call the festival office at (336) 723-2266, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.nbtf.org online.

Lorey Hayes’ Power Play Cast at 2013 National Black Theatre Festival® has North Carolina Connections

Power Play's Lorey Hayes, Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington. Photo by Lia Chang

Power Play’s Lorey Hayes, Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington. Photo by Lia Chang

Actress and North Carolina native Pauletta Pearson Washington, wife of Denzel Washington, stars with Roscoe Orman (Gordon on “Sesame Street”) in a celebrity staged concert reading of Power Play, at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival this summer in Winston-Salem, and is one of five productions with ties to North Carolina among the more than 40 productions presented.

The festival, organized by the N.C. Black Repertory Company and held every other year, will be held from July 29 to Aug. 3 with 120 performances of new works and black classics presented by professional black theatre companies from throughout the United States as well as Brazil, Bermuda and Canada.

This award-winning play explores passion, politics and the power of God through the story of a powerful politician and four women who find themselves caught in a whirlwind of personal and political intrigue. Pauletta Washington grew up in Catawba County and is a graduate of the UNC School of the Arts.

Power Play has a two-fold North Carolina connection, in that it was written by Lorey Hayes, a native of Wallace and graduate of NC A&T University. Hayes is a Broadway and film actress-turned-writer whose credits include The Dragonfly Tale, winner of the 2007 Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Southern Writer’s Project. Power Play is presented by the New Heritage Theatre Group of New York. Helmed by Andre Robinson, Power Play also featuring Lia Chang, Phynjuar and Marcus Naylor, will have 4 performances at Shirley Recital Hall at Salem College Fine Arts Center, Stadium Dr, Winston-Salem, NC, 27108, on Tuesday, July 30th at 8pm, Wednesday, July 31st at 3pm and 8pm, and Thursday, August 1st at 3pm.

COAH Enterprises of Charlotte will present The Evolution of Black Gospel Music, a crowd-pleasing musical that retraces the roots and evolution of black gospel music. Through key characters and vignettes, the play shows how the music helped shape our culture and sustain a people.

Another crowd-pleasing production, Crowns, explores black history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young black girl who goes south to stay with her grandmother after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. Crowns is based on the book of the same name by Greensboro’s Craig Marberry and will be presented by the N.C. Black Repertory Company.

Mama Juggs, a one-woman show presented by Anita Woodley of Chapel Hill, is an intimate performance about women’s health, motherhood and living with breast cancer as told through the voices of three generations of women. A tale of life in all its wonderful and difficult moments, Mama Juggs surprises the audience with a story that has universal appeal.

For Brothers and Sisters Who Chose Life – When Death was not an Option is a mash-up of two separate works, the choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, by Ntozake Shange; and For Black Boys Who Have Considered Homicide When the Streets Were Too Much, by Keith Mason. Presented by NC Central University, this intriguing play examines how men and women forge a path to discovery, self-worth, mutual respect and interdependence.

Show times and tickets to these and all the performances presented during the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival are available at www.NBTF.org. Group rates are available by calling the festival office at (336) 723-2266.

NBTF is proud to be in partnership with the following sponsors this year: City of Winston Salem, The Millennium Fund, Reynolds American, Visit Winston-Salem, Hanesbrands, Inc., Twin City Quarter, Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, N.C. Arts Council, Truliant Federal Credit Union, Inc., Wells Fargo Bank, Winston-Salem State University, Novant Health, Duke Energy Foundation, American Express, Verizon Wireless and The Marvtastic Society.

The NBTF is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. The festival has been held biennially since 1989 and attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem for six consecutive days of professional theatre, film, poetry, workshops, seminars and outreach programs to develop the next generation of Black theatre.