`girls' cast headed to Manhattan

Theater: The actors and musicians in the Center Stage production of the `choreopoem' will present the show at the Schomburg Center.

February 11, 2000|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF

After a five-week run, including three weeks of sold-out performances, the Center Stage production of "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf" is moving to an African-American culture center in Manhattan.

The same cast of seven women and two musicians, under director George Faison, will present Ntozake Shange's "choreopoem" at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

"George is a personal friend, and we have been looking for opportunities to collaborate," says Schomburg Center director Howard Dodson. "When he mentioned that this piece was running, I said it would be a perfect piece for the Schomburg Center. ... Our business is interpreting the African and African diasporal experience."

The show -- consisting of 20 poems interspersed with music and dance -- will run at the 340-seat Langston Hughes Auditorium for a week starting March 13. Faison says a few changes will have to be made to adapt the show to a smaller space. The Hughes auditorium is 25 feet wide, 15 feet less than the 541-seat Pearlstone Theater at Center Stage.

"I'm very glad to be doing this," says Faison. "We hope this is the beginning of what will be many adventures with Center Stage" and the Schomburg Center.

The Schomburg Center, a research arm of the New York Public Library, has presented a range of dramatic and musical performances by such artists as Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Billy Taylor and Max Roach.

After playing in clubs and coffee houses on the East Coast and West Coast, "for colored girls" broke new ground on Broadway in 1976 by virtue of its form and content. Conventional dialogue is replaced by a series of poems in which black women relate their experience with love, violence, rejection and the pursuit of self-acceptance. The Center Stage run ends Sunday.

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