University of Pittsburgh
December 19, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, December 20 -- The University of Pittsburgh's internationally-renowned Kuntu Repertory Theatre -- the second oldest black theatre affiliated with a major university in the U.S. -- continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary season with two one-woman shows, beginning Jan. 20. The productions are:

"Love to All, Lorraine" and "Zora: The Dark Town Strutter," one-woman shows celebrating two black women who changed the way people look at the world and each other.

"Love to All, Lorraine," written by and starring New York actress Elizabeth Van Dyke, is based on the life of Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote "A Raisin in the Sun" and became the only black playwright, the youngest American and the fifth woman to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.

The play, co-directed by Van Dyke and Woodie King, Jr., focuses on Hansberry's emotional state during significant periods of her life that include memories of being raised in a family that refused racial prejudice, learning African history from W.E.B. DuBois, and struggling to write during her losing battle with cancer.

"Zora: the Dark Town Strutter," written by Lawrence Holder, directed by Kuntu founder and artistic director Vernell A. Lillie, and starring Renee Berry-Mack, chronicles the life of anthropologist and author Zora Neale Hurston, from early childhood through ultimate recognition as one of the best-loved writers of the Harlem Renaissance movement. Hurston's many works include "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and "Dust Tracks on a Road."

In honor of Hurston, author Alice Walker wrote: "We are a people. A people do not throw their geniuses away. If they do, it is our duty as witnesses for the future to collect them again for the sake of our children. If necessary, bone by bone."

"These two shows provide a wonderful combination of history," said Lillie. "They showcase two women who were story tellers, each in her own way."

"Lorraine" and "Zora" will be performed January 20 to February 5 in the Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland.

All performances are held Thursday through Sunday. Thursday through Saturday performances start at 8 p.m. Sunday curtain time is 4 p.m. A student matinee, supported by the Hilda M. Willis Foundation, is scheduled for Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. Special group discounts are available. For more information, call