University of Pittsburgh
February 18, 2011

Pitt’s Kuntu Repertory Theatre Presents Mahalia Jackson: Standing on Holy Ground Feb. 24-March 12


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh-based Kuntu Repertory Theatre will present Mahalia Jackson: Standing on Holy Ground Feb. 24-March 12 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium in the University’s Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. 

Written and directed by Kuntu founder and producing artistic director Vernell A Lillie, Mahalia Jackson celebrates the life of one of the most influential gospel singers in the world, known to many as The Queen of Gospel. 

“My focus is to present and recapture the marvelous tradition of the Southern Baptist,” said Lillie, “and to celebrate the memory of Mahalia through the magic, beauty, dignity, and elegance of the rich contralto voice she presented to world audiences.” 

Deryck Tines Mitchell serves as music director for the production. Founder of ONEchurch Pittsburgh, Tines is a pastor at Living Waters International Church in Clairton, Pa. He serves on several regional boards, including the Pittsburgh Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Council, Equality PA, and the Afro American Music Institute. 

Kuntu is presenting productions this season by playwrights who were influenced by the late Rob Penny, Kuntu’s playwright-in-residence for many years and an associate professor of Africana Studies at Pitt. Kuntu was founded in 1974 by Lillie to celebrate the works of Penny and other African American writers. 

Admission to Mahalia Jackson: Standing on Holy Ground is $20 for adults, $14 for Pitt faculty and staff, $13 for senior citizens, and $5 for students with a valid ID. On preview nights Feb. 24 and 25, Pitt students with a valid ID can attend for $1. Discounts for groups of 10 or more are available. Tickets can be purchased at the box office of the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland (412-648-7814); through ProArts at 412-394-3353 or; at Dorsey’s Record Shop, 7614 Frankstown Ave., Homewood (412-731-6607); or at the Kuntu office, 4140 Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland (412-624-8498). 

For more information, call 412-624-7298 or visit




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