University of Pittsburgh
October 11, 2007

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Kicks Off 2007 Season With Rob Penny's "Good Black Don't Crack" Oct. 18 through Nov. 3


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh-based Kuntu Repertory Theatre launches its 2007-08 season with the classic Rob Penny play "Good Black Don't Crack" Oct. 18 through Nov. 3. All performances are in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Performances run Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 4 p.m. and a Saturday, Oct. 27, matinee at 1 p.m.

"Good Black Don't Crack" tells the story of Dalejean Harris-a single mother from the Hill District struggling to balance caring for her three children, dodging the sexual advances of her boss, and filling her own needs for intimacy. Although the play was written in 1974, Dalejean's story remains as timely as ever. The way Dalejean negotiates life's challenges demonstrates the axiom "good Black don't crack."

Cast members include Vickie Bey as Dalejean, Rob Pitts as Jake as well as Kimberly Ginyard, Les Howard, Tyrone Johnson, Teri Bridgette, Lamar "Quest" Field, Jada Ginyard, Rodra Burruss, Alexis Dixon, and Sahara Nzongola. Pitts is reprising his role of Jake from the play's 1970s debut.

"Good Black Don't Crack"is by the late Rob Penny, a Pitt associate professor of Africana Studies and Kuntu playwright-in-residence who died in 2003. His other works include "Little Willie Armstrong Jones," "Murderer on the Hill District," "Who Loves a Dancer?," "Boppin' With the Ancestors," and "Nefertari Rising." Penny began teaching at Pitt in 1969 and was chair of Africana Studies from 1978 through 1984. He was committed to fighting racism and inequality, often using his writing to explore social issues. Penny and the late playwright August Wilson cofounded Black Horizon Theatre in Pittsburgh and Kuntu Writer's Workshop. In 1974, Africana Studies associate professor Vernell A. Lillie founded Kuntu as a way of showcasing the talents of Penny and other Black playwrights.

"The cast and all Kuntu members have done an outstanding job in preparing for and adding their own flavor to this classic play," says Lillie, who will serve as director for "Good Black." "They have manifested their own identities in these roles and have found magnificent ways of personalizing this performance, while upholding the play's power and meaning."

Admission is $20 for adults; $14 for Pitt staff and faculty; $13 for senior citizens, students, and children ages 4-18; and $5 for all Pitt students with a valid ID. Groups of 10 or more receive 25 percent off the single ticket price. For more information, call 412-624-7298.