Black history focus ‘Woman Called Truth,’ tribute to Fisk University singers
In a nod to Black History Month, there are two productions that are important to note this week.
One is a play from Charleston Stage, “A Woman Called Truth,” which opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Dock Street Theatre.
Director Julian Wiles has cast Broadway veteran Danielle Lee Greaves to star in Sandra Fenichel Asher’s play, which is the story of Sojourner Truth from the time she was a young girl until her life’s journey ended at the age of 86.
In 1797, Sojourner Truth, then known as Isabella Baumfree, was born into slavery in upstate New York. When the state of New York freed its slaves in 1824, Isabella discovered that her former master had illegally sold Sojourner’s son to a new master in Mississippi.
Isabella sued her former master in state court and won. He was forced to go to Mississippi and bring her son back to her. Thus began Isabella’s lifelong fight for freedom and justice. She changed her name to Sojourner Truth and became a powerful preacher and advocate for abolition and women’s rights.
Along the way, she met Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln in her quest to bring basic human rights to all Americans.
Featuring a stunning score of authentic spirituals and folk songs of the period, Greaves’ previous Broadway, international and regional credits include: “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Rent” and “Hairspray.”
In addition to Greaves, some of Charleston’s best African-American actors and singers will take part.
The play starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through March 3 at 135 Church St. Tickets, $34.50 to $53.50, are available online 24/7 at www.charlestonstage.com.
Tickets by phone are available 1-5 p.m. Monday-Fri-day by calling 577-7183.
The second event focusing on black history is the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble’s tribute perform-ance “Circa 1871: An Ode to the Fisk Jubilee Singers” at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Hampton Street Auditori-um, 494 Hampton St., Walterboro.
First organized in 1871, the Fisk Jubilee Singers are an African-American a cappella ensemble, consisting of students from Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tenn., formed at the end of the Civil War to educate freed slaves and other young African-Americans.
Celebrating Black History Month, the acclaimed CSO Spiritual Ensemble performance will shine a light on the illustrious history and musical story of Fisk University’s renowned Jubilee Singers’ contribution to the American experience.
Tickets are $20; $15 for students with proper identification. Purchase online at www.csospiritual.com.
Another topical production is “Gidion’s Knot,” a play produced by South of Broadway Theatre Company that probes the tightly wound conundrum of school violence, bullying, inappropriate behaviors and the many victims eviscerated in the process.
Playwright Johnna Adams adroitly transmutes this potentially galvanizing and intellectually demanding material by creating characters of intense humanity, strength and compelling vulnerability.
Mark Gorman, artistic director of South of Broadway, directs this new play.
The performances are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 16, 18, 21-23 and 3 p.m. Feb. 17. at South of BroadwayTheatre Company, 1080 E. Montague Ave. in the Park Circle area of North Charleston.
Call 745-0317 or visit www.SouthofBroadway.com.
On a lighter note, Audubon South Carolina and the Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association announced the winners in the 2012 Nature Photography Contest.
The contest invited photo-graphers to capture the beauty of the natural world at one of South Carolina’s two Audubon Sanctuaries: Francis Beidler Forest (Harleyville) and Silver Bluff (Jackson), as well as any other natural habitat in South Carolina.
More than 40 entries were submitted by participants from across South Carolina.
Best in show was won by Raymond Colin Murray of Charleston for “Taking Flight,” featuring a Barred Owl flying directly toward the photographer.
First place, wildlife: Catherine Miller of Charleston for “Parenting Pause.”
Second place, wildlife: Murray, for “Skimming the Shore.” Third place, Wildlife: Sparkle Clark of Columbia for “Food for the Nestlings.”
First place, plant/landscape: Mary Presson Roberts of Tega Cay for “Leaf Reflection.”
Second place, plant/landscape: Sherry Schumann of Moncks Corner for “Autumn Walk.” Third place, plant/landscape: Joanne Wuori of Columbia for “Spring Morning.”
The winning photographs will be on display for several weeks at the Summerville Visitor Center, 402 N. Main St.
Theater award season
The second annual Theatre Charleston Awards season kicks off in August, and Theatre Charleston is looking for area residents with a keen interest in live theater to apply for membership in the official 2013-14 awards voting body.
The awards were created by The League of Charleston Theatres to recognize excellence in theatrical performance, production and design.
Theatre Charleston seeks patrons, artists, educators and journalists with the critical thinking skills necessary to effectively rate all areas of a production.
More details on the requirements and responsibilities of voters can be found within the application.
Applications can be downloaded online at www.theatrecharleston.com/awards and submitted to Emily Wilhoit at firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 279 Charleston, SC 29402, or to any Theatre Charleston member theater by March 1.
Questions should be directed to Wilhoit at 813-8578 before the deadline.
Filled with Southern repartee, “Steel Magnolias” blooms once again on a Midtown Productions stage, starring six of the region’s finest actresses, who play the lovable and zany wo-men of Chinquapin Parish, La.
Directed by Sheri Grace Wenger, the action is set in Truvy’s beauty salon, where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done.
Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle, the outspoken Truvy dispenses shampoos and advice to Ouiser, Clairee and M’Lynn, whose daughter Shelby (the prettiest girl in town) is about to marry a “Louisiana good ole boy.”
Performances start on Valentine’s Day and run through March 9.
Midtown Productions at The Charleston Acting Studio & Theatre is at Folly and Camp roads behind Walgreens.
For tickets, contact 795-2223 or send email to midtownproductions@ yahoo.com.
‘Hansel & Gretel’
Sprouts Musical Theatre in Mount Pleasant is putting on “Hansel & Gretel” starting at 7 p.m. Friday at Creative Spark Center for the Arts on Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant.
With the audience of children sitting only a few feet away from the action, there are hilarious lyrics, beautiful ballads, magical effects, uproarious chase-scenes, tons of audience participation and lots of happy endings.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door and productions run through Sunday, Feb. 24.
To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.creativespark.org or call 881-3780.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557.