University of Pittsburgh
May 2, 2007

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Presents World Premiere of "Healthy Black Family: The Separation of Blood"


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre wraps up its season with the world premiere of a play focusing on this season's theme of health issues for African Americans. "Healthy Black Family: The Separation of Blood" by Bridgette Wimberly will run from May 19 through June 2 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

The play examines the life and work of Charles Drew, an African American physician who pioneered work in blood transfusions. Wimberly, according to Kuntu resident dramaturge Marta Effinger-Crichlow, "captures quite eloquently the hopes and dreams of Africana people in the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice. She adds, "There is clearly a sense of longing throughout this love story. Dr. Drew loves medicine. He longs for 'the race' to thrive in and beyond medicine."

"Healthy Black Family: The Separation of Blood" will be directed by Woodie King, Jr., a man American Visions magazine calls "the king of Black theater producers." Through his 30 years as director of New York City's New Federal Theatre, he has written, directed, and produced a wide assortment of plays, essays, films, and anthologies. His directing credits include "A Raisin in the Sun," "Checkmates," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," "Angels in America," as well as Kuntu plays from previous seasons. King was the recipient of the 1997 Obie Award for Sustained Achievement, the 2003 Paul Robeson Award, and the 2005 Rosetta LeNoire Award.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. Matinees are scheduled for 1 p.m. May 26 and 11 a.m. May 31. This Kuntu season is being presented in partnership with Pitt's Center for Minority Health, part of the Graduate School of Public Health. _For ticket and group sales information, call 412-624-7298.

Kuntu solicited works that centered on the season's theme, and 41 plays were submitted. Of those, 17 were sent to Effinger-Crichlow, who is on the faculty at New York City College of Technology, and Michael Dinwiddie, playwright and professor at the Gallatin School at New York University. The two selected "Healthy Black Family: The Separation of Blood" to be the Kuntu production.

Wimberly, from Cleveland, is the author of seven plays and her works have been commissioned, produced, and read at several regional theaters. Her play "Saint Lucy's Eyes" starred Ruby Dee and was produced by The Women's Project in New York City in 2001.