University of Pittsburgh
January 11, 2005

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Presents Bubbling Brown Sugar Jan. 27-Feb. 12

Performance to feature Broadway star and Pittsburgh native Vivian Reed

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre revisits Harlem in the days when jazz was king in its presentation of Bubbling Brown Sugar, Jan. 27 through Feb. 12 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

The musical revue, written by Loften Mitchell and featuring many of the greatest jazz tunes from the 1920s, made its debut on Broadway March 2, 1976, and ran for 766 performances. Bubbling Brown Sugar tells a tale of a time gone by—when the Harlem clubs, which provide the backdrop for the show, attracted crowds from all over the world. People making the rounds at the community's cabarets frequently stopped at the Savoy Ballroom, located just two blocks from the internationally renowned Cotton Club. There, they danced until dawn to the sounds of Duke Ellington, Guy Lombardo, Cab Calloway, and many others. Bubbling Brown Sugar features such classic songs such as "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Take the 'A' Train," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and "God Bless the Child," to be performed by a live jazz ensemble, under the direction of James Alston.

Kuntu's production features Pittsburgh native Vivian Reed in a recreation of her original Broadway role of Irene. An accomplished song and dance performer who studied at New York's Julliard School of Music, Reed played the same role in the Broadway version of the play and also toured with the show throughout the United States and Europe. Her performance netted her a Tony Award nomination as well as a Drama Desk Award, Theatre World Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award. The Kuntu cast also includes Carolyn Byrd, Kevin Brown, Chuck Timbers, Linda Haston, Tony Dixon, and others.

Kuntu's Bubbling Brown Sugar is directed and choreographed by Keith Tyrone Williams, another featured performer in the Broadway production. Williams studied under Katherine Dunham, an influential pioneer of Black dance, and Billy Wilson, the show's original choreographer. Williams' work has been seen at the Cape Fear Regional Theater, Los Angeles Playhouse, the St. Louis Black Repertory Company, and many other venues.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. Matinees are scheduled for Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. For ticket and group sales information, call 412-624-7298.

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