Written by Gabrielle Pina and Starring Vanessa Bell Calloway
"LETTERS FROM ZORA", written by Gabrielle Pina, starring Vanessa Bell Calloway, and directed by Anita Dashielle-Sparks, with live music composed by Ron McCurdy, is scheduled to play from August 15 – 18, 2013, at the Pasadena Playhouse, with a press opening night on August 15 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for all performances.
"I am so delighted to have the touching and humorous words of Zora Neale Hurston on our Playhouse stage," said Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse. "Her impact on the literary world during the thrilling period of the Harlem Renaissance provided such rich insight into our heritage. Her influence and that impact are still with us today."
"LETTERS FROM ZORA is an untold story about the unbridled creativity of Zora Neale Hurston: writer, anthropologist, voodoo priestess and overall Renaissance woman determined to live and die by her own mind," stated writer Gabrielle Pina. "This production offers a passionate glimpse of history, music, and artistry intended to illuminate her life, her extraordinary career and her immeasurable contributions to the American literary canon."
Through the dramatization of personal letters, LETTERS FROM ZORA explores Hurston's controversial views on integration, segregation and social justice showcasing a life that was filled with artistic triumphs as well as abject poverty and self-doubt. Veteran actress Vanessa Bell Calloway plays the role of Zora in this provocative multimedia production directed by Anita Dashiell-Sparks and written by novelist Gabrielle Pina.
With live music composed by Ron McCurdy and archival images collected by Margie Labadie, LETTERS FROM ZORA will illuminate Hurston's prose, her life, her distinctive array of friends and foes and her unique view of a jazz-age world.
LETTERS FROM ZORA was originally presented at Bovard Auditorium on the campus of the University of Southern California on March 3, 2012 by Vision and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative.
Vanessa Bell Calloway is an eight-time NAACP Image Award nominee for her critically acclaimed performances on stage, screen and television. Best known for her roles in the box office hits Coming to America and What's Love Got to Do With It, she has also starred in numerous films. Television credits include her current recurring role as Carol on Showtime's "Shameless"; TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles"; "Hawthorne RN" with Jada Pinkett Smith and NBC's hit "Go On" with Matthew Perry; guest star roles include "Dexter," "CSI," "CSI: Miami," "The Closer" and "Cold Case" just to name a few. On stage, Ms. Calloway was in The Pasadena Playhouse and Ebony Repertory Theater productions of Crowns. She also starred in August Wilson's Seven Guitars at the Kennedy Center's August Wilson Theatre Festival and the Los Angeles production of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson.
"As an actor you dream of a role that you can embody, a character in whom you can become completely engrossed, a role that you wake up each morning excited to portray with dialogue that flows like pure poetry," stated star Vanessa Bell Calloway. "For me LETTERS FROM ZORA is that perfect piece."
LETTERS FROM ZORA will play five nights only (August 15 – 18, 2013), press opening night is August 15, at 8:00 p.m. Single ticket prices are $30.00 - $75.00. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The performance schedule is Thursday and Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org, by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Group Sales (8 or more people) are available by calling 626-921-1161. For more information, visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.