University of Pittsburgh
January 4, 1999



PITTSBURGH, Jan. 5 -- The University of Pittsburgh's internationally-renowned Kuntu Repertory Theatre (KRT) will present Lifting,, written by Frank Hightower, January 28 through February 13, in the Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium, Oakland.

Directed by Eileen Morris from the Houston Ensemble Theatre as part of the Woodie King Jr. Professional Director and Producer series, Lifting is a drama set in Pittsburgh just after World War II. It is the story of Buford Kincade (Wali Abdullah), a bar owner torn between his love for Mavis (Nyjah Moore), a blues singer weighing a return to the road with a young blues guitarist, and Minnie (Tracey Turner), his widowed sister-in-law, who grieves for a son killed in the war.

This trio is supported by a cast of characters that includes the philosopher bass player, Blindman (Mark Southers), his wife, Estelle (Mayme Williams), and the numbers runner Honey boy (Ronald Goode.) Lifting refers to the transforming power of the blues that inspires these people to carry on through their pain and suffering to find hope in love.

Lifting is the second production in KRT's 1998-99 season celebrating local playwrights. Hightower is a native of Pittsburgh's Manchester area, where he still lives and works. Trained as a photographer, Hightower's creative connection to theater began in the late 1960s, when he met Rob Penny and August Wilson while working at their First Black Horizon Theatre in Pittsburgh. He later joined Kuntu Writers Workshop, founded by Penny and Wilson in 1976, where he began writing Lifting.

KRT performances are held Thursday through Sunday. Thursday to Saturday performances start at 8 p.m., and Sunday curtain time is 4 p.m. Tickets are available through the Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium by calling

412-624-PLAY. For more information, including additional ticket outlet locations , call 412-624-7298.

This production is supported by grants from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, Multicultural Arts Initiative of the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Howard Heinz Endowment Initiative for Small Arts Organizations.