University of Pittsburgh
December 12, 2002

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre to Present "Cryin' Shame" Jan. 23 through Feb. 8

Contact:  412-624-4147

December 13, 2002

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre will present "Cryin' Shame," a two-act drama about hurt, shame, and resentment in a South Carolina town, Jan. 23 through Feb. 8 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Written by Javon Johnson and directed by Derrick Sanders, "Cryin' Shame" takes place in Anderson County, S.C., in 1985. An illegal establishment, disguised as a corner store run by a man named Tucker, provides the backdrop for the resurrection of hidden ghosts born out of strong generational bonds and unconditional love. However, traditions and expectations run deep and put love to the ultimate test. The play does not follow the traditional protagonist structure. Its theme exists within two relationships that are paralleled in issues and conflicts throughout.

The cast includes Johnson, Kevin Brown, Art Terry, Marc Ellis, Angela Hunt, James Gilmer, and Mark Southers.

"Cryin' Shame" was chosen Best Produced Play in 2001 for the 12th Annual Awards of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Beverly Hills-Hollywood chapter. The production appeared during the 2001 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., and at Stage 52 in Los Angeles in 2001.

Johnson, a native of Anderson, S.C., is a founding member and current literary manager for Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago. He has had his plays produced at the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa, Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., Horizon Theatre in Atlanta, the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., among other theaters. A former Kuntu member, Johnson earned the Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre arts from the University of Pittsburgh. He has received several awards and honors, including the 2001 and 1999 National Project Award sponsored by Pierans Inc.'s Pittsburgh chapter; the 1999 Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting; the 1999 Lorraine Hansberry Award; the 1999 Yukon/Pacific New Play Award; and the 1998 Kennedy Center Fellowship to attend the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Conn. He was a finalist in 1999 for the Allen Hughes Fellowship at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

Sanders is cofounder and founding artistic director of Congo Square Theatre Company. He earned the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University and the Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre arts from the University of Pittsburgh. His most recent theater productions as a performer include the critically acclaimed "Playboy of the West Indies" and Congo Square's "The Piano Lesson." He directed "Kiwi Black," the 2002 Theodore Ward Prize winner for African American Playwriting at Columbia College, and the award winning "Ali" for Congo Square. He also directed the international classic "The Island," and "The Pawn" and "Next Stop Ellipse …" by Johnson. He has appeared in several movies, including "The Temptations" and "Dogma."

Performances are held Thursdays through Sundays. Thursday through Saturday performances start at 8 p.m. Sunday curtain time is 4 p.m. There will be a special matinee for students and seniors at 11 a.m. Feb. 6.

For ticket and group sales information, call 412-624-7298 or visit www.kuntu.org. Student and senior discounts are available.

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