University of Pittsburgh
October 9, 2008

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Kicks Off 2008-09 Season With Rob Penny's Diane's Heart Dries Out Still More Oct. 16 through Nov. 1

34th season of Black theater dedicated to the late social activist and Kuntu playwright-in-residence Rob Penny

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre launches its 2008-09 season with Rob Penny's "Diane's Heart Dries Out Still More" Oct. 16 through Nov. 1. All performances are in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Preview performances will run Oct. 16 and 17, with $1 admission for Pitt students with valid student identification. Opening night is Oct. 18, and performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees at 4 p.m. Sundays, 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25, and 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 30. For more information, call 412-624-7298.

"Diane's Heart Dries Out Still More" tells the story of Diane and Austin Williams, newlyweds filled with dreams of happiness, and their struggles to find their way in a world of many temptations. By resisting the lures of sexual infidelity and substance abuse, Diane and Austin are able to recommit to their marriage and create a future for themselves.

The cast includes Lichelle Sade as Diane Williams and Ijasneem (Tyrone Johnson) as Austin Williams, as well as Deborah Banks, Stephanie Akers, Daniel Wright, Les Howard, Shawn Agyeman, Yasheena Moultrie, Jamisa Spalding, Lamont Chatman, and Jameira Moore.

Kuntu Repertory Theatre's 2008-09 season is dedicated to the works of Kuntu's late playwright-in-residence Rob Penny and his exploration of the rich African American life in Pittsburgh. Penny began teaching at Pitt in 1969 and was chair of Africana Studies from 1978 through 1984. He and the late playwright August Wilson cofounded Black Horizon Theatre in 1967 and Kuntu Writer's Workshop in 1976. The workshop continues to occur under the leadership of Chawley Williams. In 1974, Vernell A. Lillie, professor emeritus in the Department of Africana Studies and artistic director of Kuntu Repertory Theatre, founded Kuntu as a way of showcasing the talents of Penny, Wilson, and other playwrights dealing with social issues.

Lillie says she is thrilled to devote an entire season to Penny's plays.

"As a playwright, poet, novelist, short story writer, and literary critic, Penny carved out a vision of Black life that often is ignored and denied," said Lillie, who is director of the production. "He sought not to replicate the men, women, and children on the streets of Pittsburgh but to examine the unique forces, the strength, and the determination that allowed each to live, love, and grow in a complex society that can deny the need for humanity for all."

Admission is $20 with discounts available for seniors, students, groups, and Pitt faculty and staff. Tickets are available at the William Pitt Union box office; Dorsey's Record Shop, 7614 Frankstown Ave., Homewood; and Pro Arts Tickets, 412-394-3353 or