The Pittsburgh Playhouse Offers Six Performances Of Black Femme Artists and Creators In The Playhouse Presents 22-23 Season

Learn more about the lineup here!

By: Aug. 11, 2022
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The Pittsburgh Playhouse Offers Six Performances Of Black Femme Artists and Creators In The Playhouse Presents 22-23 Season

"Shaping the Arts: Black Femme Artists and Creators" is the centerpiece of the Point Park University's Playhouse Presents 22-23 season, shining a light on Black femme artists and creators with performance, dance, and music. The 22-23 Season is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

This season the Playhouse has assembled and exceptional roster of Black femme artists who are creating conversations through innovative dance, movement, and performance," said Garfield Lemonius, Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Playhouse and Dean of the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University, "The Pittsburgh Playhouse is distinguished by presenting the most eclectic and Dynamic Productions in all of Pittsburgh. Our programming aims to both reflect the rich diversity of our city and to create space for finding consensus and community."

September 9 - 10, 2022: Urban Bush Women

Kicking off the season is Urban Bush Women is a ground-breaking performance ensemble with an educational arm based in Brooklyn, NY. For almost 40 years they have been telling untold and under-told stories through a woman-centered perspective as members of the African Diaspora community. At the Pittsburgh Playhouse, they will present their work Hair & Other Stories, a dance-theater work that explores race, identity, and ideas of beauty through the lens of Black women's hair, in a two-night engagement September 9 - 10, 2022.

Urban Bush Women (UBW) is presented in conjunction with its community partner Hill Dance Academy Theatre (HDAT). Said Ayisha Morgan Lee, EdD, Founder, CEO, and Artistic Director of HDAT, "It is an honor for Hill Dance Academy Theatre to join with the Pittsburgh Playhouse in welcoming the dance traditions of Urban Bush Women's storytelling and dance artistry of the African Diaspora. HDAT's dance community is thrilled to connect the rich arts culture of the Hill community with the artistic vision of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar."

HDAT will host a community reception with the UBW company on Tuesday, September 6th at the HDAT Arts Center. HDAT students will then take practical classes at Point Park University taught by the UBW ensemble and will attend the performances with their families on September 9 and 10. Located in Pittsburgh's Hill District, the Hill Dance Academy Theatre's mission is to provide professional level training in Black dance traditions, history, culture, and aesthetics to empower students to pursue careers in Black dance.

"We're thrilled to begin our season with Urban Bush Women's residency, and then to offer these other outstanding Black femme artists a platform to explore gender, equality and art in a theme that is especially relevant at this time in a compelling, authentic and entertaining way," said Lemonius.

What Else to Expect

October 21, 2022: National Geographic Live Speaker Series. Alicia Odewale-Greenwood: A Century of Resilience

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, archaeologist Alicia Odewale is uncovering stories of resilience in the hundred years since the attack on Black Wall Street in the city's historic Greenwood district. Considered one of the worst episodes of racial violence committed against Black people in American history, the Tulsa Race Massacre left a devastating toll on generations of survivors and their descendants and impacted the very footprint of the district itself. Join her to discover how archaeology and radical mapping can be used as a tool for recovering lost stories, reclaiming a narrative, and pursuing restorative justice.

NOVEMBER 12-13: Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Founded in 1976 by Ann Williams, Dallas Black Dance Theatre's mission is to create and produce contemporary modern dance at the highest level of artistic excellence through performances and educational programs that bridge cultures and reach diverse communities. DBDT is the ninth-largest contemporary modern dance company in the U.S. Located in the thriving downtown Dallas Arts District, DBDT has performed worldwide for over 4.5 million arts patrons and 2.7 million students in 31 states and 16 countries on five continents. The performances include two Olympics (1996 & 2012), the nation's most prestigious venues (Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Broadway, Jacob's Pillow), and for such luminaries as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and South African President Nelson Mandela. Since the pandemic began in 2020, DBDT performances have also been viewed virtually in over 30 countries. The Company has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as an American Masterpiece Touring Artist (2008) and received the Texas Medal of the Arts Award for Arts Education (2017).

March 18, 2023: Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science co-produced with MCG Jazz.

Terri Lyne Carrington's audacious ensemble tackles subjects of racism, homophobia, gender equality, mass incarceration, and police brutality. Championed in her youth by the likes of Art Blakey, Jack DeJohnette and Buddy Rich, Carrington has risen to become a major instrumental and compositional figure, having collaborated with a who's-who of jazz royalty, including long-term associations with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Esperanza Spalding.

March 30 - April 2, 2023: Toshi Reagon's Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower is a triumphant, mesmerizing work of rare power and beauty that illuminates deep insights on gender, race, and the future of human civilization. This fully staged congregational opera brings together over 30 original anthems drawn from 200 years of black music to recreate Octavia Butler's sci-fi, Afrofuturist masterpiece live on stage. With music and lyrics by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, this compelling work gives life to Butler's acclaimed science fiction novel of the same name.

March 25, 2023: Emma Donovan and the Putbacks

Acclaimed Indigenous vocalist Emma Donovan and Melbourne rhythm combo The Putbacks burst on to the Australian scene with their album Dawn in 2014, announcing a new voice in Australian soul music. Emma's songwriting is optimistic, impassioned, and bruisingly honest, The Putbacks' music is fluid, live and raw, and the collaboration has won friends and admirers all over the world.

Other compelling offerings this season at the Playhouse Presents include:

October 12, 2022: The Peking Acrobats

For the last thirty-one years, The Peking Acrobats have redefined audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics. They perform daring manoeuvres atop a precarious pagoda of chairs and display their technical prowess at such arts as trick-cycling, precision tumbling, juggling, somersaulting, and gymnastics. They push the limits of human ability, defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility, and control.

December 21, 2022: Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Holiday Jazz Concert co-produced with MCG Jazz.

When the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra formed in 2010, it was decided a Holiday show would be a programming must. Now, the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Holiday Celebration has become a tradition for families all over the Greater Pittsburgh region to take a break from the busy prep of the holiday season.

January 24, 2023; Machine de Cirque's La Galerie

Seven zany acrobats and one electrifying musician take in a monochrome exhibit.--With a creative spark, they set off an explosion of color - and a lot of popcorn. In mocking defiance of convention, these wacky and endearing characters eagerly explore the exhibition inside out.

March 23, 2023: MALEVO - the "South American Sensation"

Created by director, choreographer, and dancer Matías Jaime, this thrilling all-male group specializes in Malambo-a traditional Argentine folk dance of great virility and dexterity-and takes it beyond its limits with a modern, avant-garde, and transgressive approach, while still staying true to the cultural foundations of this traditional gaucho artform.

April 27-Friday, April 28, 2023: Vuyani Dance Theatre's Cion: Requiem of Ravel's Bolero

In this piece the message of death and its dire consequences are infused through a lament to be able to confront a universe in which the age-old tropes of greed, power and religion have given rise to loss of life not as a natural phenomenon.

For ticket buying, contact the Pittsburgh Playhouse Box office at 412.392.8000 or visit Pittsburgh Playhouse for more information on the complete Pittsburgh Playhouse 22-23 season.