A Portable Theatre Presents PIERCE TO THE SOUL as Second Touring Show, Now thru 4/27

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A Portable Theatre Presents PIERCE TO THE SOUL as Second Touring Show, Now thru 4/27

Chiquita Mullins Lee's one-man play Pierce to the Soul will be the second offering by A Portable Theatre (APT), a new professional theatre dedicated to touring. Starring Equity actor Alan Bomar Jones, Pierce is the true story of folk artist Elijah Pierce, an Ohio legend. Touring performances begin tonight, April 12.

Born on a Mississippi farm in 1892, Pierce - the son of a former slave - took up barbering while still in his teens and practiced the profession for more than sixty years. A part of the Great Migration north after World War I, Pierce eventually settled on the east side of Columbus, where for several decades he had a barber shop on Long Street. In his free time, Pierce carved wood. A self-taught artist, his carvings reflected events in his own life as well as in the life of the nation; in particular, Pierce carved many scenes from the Bible. By the time he was finally "discovered" when he was in his late seventies, he had amassed a considerable body of work, which is now displayed in museums, galleries and private collections across the country.

Pierce to the Soul is the true story of Pierce's life journey from a youth spent carousing and chasing women, to his experiences as a baseball player and hobo, to his several narrow escapes from death (including a near-lynching and a train wreck) and leading eventually to his discovery of his true calling. It is a vivid, heartfelt and often humorous tale that will appeal to all, whether young or old. Each performance will be followed by a discussion with the artists.

Pierce received its World Premiere at CATCO in 2010, directed by Geoffrey Nelson. It was nominated for a GCAC Artistic Excellence Award and received rave reviews.

Playwright Chiquita Mullins Lee is the author of several works for the stage, including Faces of Grace and Myrlie, Coretta and Betty: the Mothers of the Civil Rights Movement. She also writes non-fiction and poetry and has been the recipient of writing fellowships from both the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Ohio Arts Council.

Actor Alan Bomar Jones originated the role of Pierce in the World Premiere of the play at CATCO in 2010. Jones has appeared in over forty professional Equity productions and is a resident artist with both the Human Race Theatre in Dayton and with the American Stage Company in St. Petersburg, Florida. At CATCO in Columbus he has appeared in A Soldier's Play, The Exonerated, The Shorts Festival 2004 and The Piano Lesson.

Director Geoffrey Nelson staged the original production of Pierce to the Soul at CATCO in 2010, where he served for 26 years as Founder and Artistic Director. He has extensive experience in the development of New Works, including Jerry Holt's Rickey, Herb Brown's You're My Boy, his own docudrama 1892 and seven versions of The Shorts Festival.

Bill Childs has dramaturged several productions at CATCO, including the world premieres of Pierce to the Soul, Herb Brown's You're My Boy and Geoffrey Nelson's 1892. He also served on the CATCO Board (President, 1998-2000). He is a Professor of History, Emeritus, at the Ohio State University.

In addition to private and out-of-town tour bookings, public performances of Pierce to the Soul will be offered in April at the following locations: Saturday, April 12 at 8:00 PM at the Dublin Abbey Theatre; Thursday, April 17 at 7:30 PM at the Columbus School for Girls; Saturday, April 19 at 8 pm at Wild Goose Creative; Monday, April 21 at 7:30 pm at the Village Academy; and Sunday, April 27 at 3:30 pm at the St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.

Tickets for all of the performances except St. Andrew may be booked online at the theatre's website, http://www.aportabletheatre.com/buy-tickets/public-performance-calendar/ or by calling 1-866-967-8167. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, pending availability. Tickets are $20, with Senior tickets priced at $15 and Student tickets at $5. Seating is General Admission.

Tickets for the April 27th performance at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church may be purchased by calling the church at (614) 885-7609.

Pierce to the Soul will be available for tour bookings during the summer and fall of 2014 and during selected time periods during the winter and spring of 2015. APT's first touring show, David Mamet's comedy The Duck Variations, which began touring in 2013, will also be available for bookings during the summer and fall of 2014.

For more information on touring or on public performances of The Duck Variations or Pierce to the Soul, please visit the APT website at www.aportabletheatre.com.

Photography by Will Shively, courtesy of APT.

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