University of Pittsburgh
February 22, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 23 -- The University of Pittsburgh's internationally-renowned Kuntu Repertory Theatre—the second oldest black theater affiliated with a major university in the U.S.—continues its 25th anniversary season with the world premiere production of Rob Penny's "Nefertari Rising," March 23 through April 8.

"Nefertari Rising" will be directed by Woodie King, Jr., founder and producing director of New York's famed New Federal Theatre. "Nefertari Rising" is the latest offering from Penny, Kuntu's award-winning playwright-in-residence. It is the romantic story of an Afrikan-centered black woman experiencing the unfolding of her spiritual and emotional natures and the way in which they compliment each other.

"The journey of Ms. Nefertari Rising reveals how she builds a black educational institution devoted to our young male and female warriors while dealing with her own relationships," said Eileen J. Morris, Kuntu managing director. "All this takes place and revolves around community issues, police infiltration, harassment, and other female jealousies."

Added Vernell Lillie, Kuntu founder and artistic director, "Rob Penny has created a vast cast of characters that we know and love, that we've come to understand, and people we must deal with within this community. 'Nefertari Rising' has ingredients of 'Little Willie Armstrong Jones,' 'Diane's Heart' and 'Good Black Don't Crack,' also written by Penny."

Performances are held Thursday through Sunday, in Oakland's historic Masonic Temple, 4227 Fifth Avenue, across from the Cathedral of Learning. This is Kuntu's first performance of the season in the newly-renovated facility. Thursday to Saturday performances start at 8 p.m. Sunday curtain time is 4 p.m. There will be a special matinee for students and seniors at 11 a.m., Friday, April 7. Tickets are $15, with discounts for students, senior citizens, and groups. For more information, call 412-624-7298.