University of Pittsburgh
May 17, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, May 18 -- The University of Pittsburgh's internationally-renowned Kuntu Repertory Theatre (KRT) concludes its 24th season with Sing Black Hammer, written by William Mayfield, June 17 through July 3, in the Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium, Oakland.

Directed by Allie Woods as part of the Woodie King Jr. Professional Director and Producer Series, Sing Black Hammer won the Theodore Ward Prize in 1990. Mayfield brings together the punishing world of Detroit steelworkers in 1964 and the emerging Detroit sound as women vocalists took center stage and made the music that would sweep the nation and inspire a generation.

"We all know about the big stars who emerged from the music industry in the 1960s," said Mayfield. "But I want to deal with the little people who are just as great in their stories, dreams, goals and insights into the world around them."

Mayfield, a Pittsburgh resident since 1970 and a member of the electricians union since 1972, started writing in 1979 when he joined the Kuntu Writers Workshop. His previous works have been produced at the African Arts Theatre in New York, Frank Silvera's Writer's Workshop, the Eaton Theatrical Workshop in Denver, the Ebony Ensemble in Rockford, IL and Karamu House in Cleveland. He also has written two books on black play writing: Playwrighting for Black Theater and Advance Techniques for Black Playwrights.

Woods is a veteran director and actor who has worked on more than 100 productions in the United States and abroad. His New York credits include an off-Broadway production of Ed Bullins' The Gentleman Caller as part of A Black Quartet, John Oliver Killens' Cotillion and Laurence Holder's When the Chickens Came Home to Roost. Woods has been a member of the Circle Repertory Theatre Lab, the playwrights/directors units of both the Negro Ensemble and the Actors Studio, and was director-in-residence for two seasons with LaMama Experimental Theatre Club.

"We invite everyone to join Kuntu Repertory Theatre for a dramatic journey into rhythm and blues guaranteed to move your heart, your soul and your feet," said Eileen J. Morris, KRT managing director.

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 for Sing Black Hammer are available at Ticketmaster (412-323-1919) and Dorsey's Record Shop in Homewood (412-731-6607). For more information, call