University of Pittsburgh
June 28, 2006

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Presents Sing Black Hammer July 13-23

Production closes out Kuntu's "Revival on 5th Avenue" series

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre closes out its current season with Sing Black Hammer July 13-23 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Pitt's Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Written by Pittsburgh playwright William Mayfield in 1990, Sing Black Hammer explores a moment in the 1960s when a hard-hitting Black construction worker from Pittsburgh collides with a struggling Black singer in Detroit. The resulting explosion echoes around the world as the audience discovers what it takes to make a black hammer sing. Mayfield is a veteran of the Kuntu Writer's Workshop, founded in 1976 by the late August Wilson and the late Rob Penny. He wrote Sing Black Hammer while working full-time as an electrician. In Chicago, the play won the 1990 Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting. Mayfield's works also have been performed in New York, Miami, Cleveland, Denver, and Detroit, among other cities.

Sing Black Hammer, last performed by Kuntu in 1999, will feature actors Kevin Brown, Leo Beatty, Richard Hutchins, Leslie "Ezra" Smith, Ben Blakey, Stephanie Akers, Kimberly Ginyard, Nailah Lewis, and Marcia Jones.

Herb Newsome, whose theatrical credits range from Shakespeare to August Wilson, will direct. Newsome began his career in the Second Stage Theatre's production of Black Girl, starring Angela Bassett. Since then, he has acted in many productions and has written the one-man shows In Devil's Heaven and FreeMan in Paris. His Revenge of a King, a multi-cultural hip hop musical based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, will premier at the New York International Fringe Festival this August.

Performances of Sing Black Hammer are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. A special student/senior matinee has been scheduled for 11 a.m. July 20. For ticket and group sales information, call 412-624-7298 or visit