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Encore Performance of "To Be Young, Gifted and Black”
Comes to MCCC’s West Windsor Campus Feb. 28


West Windsor, N.J. – The show was simply dazzling! So reports Jody Person, coordinator of the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Theatre Program. Originally performed earlier in February at the Trenton campus, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" comes to MCCC's Studio Theatre on the West Windsor campus for an encore performance on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The Studio Theatre is located next to Kelsey Theatre, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Observes Person, "The show was so amazing, the actors so strong, and the direction so sharp that we felt we needed to bring the production to the West Windsor campus. This will be people's last chance to see a truly unique piece of theater."

The play is based on the writings of Lorraine Vivian Hansberry, author of “A Raisin in the Sun,” which debuted on Broadway in 1959 and won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the Year. Hansberry was the first black woman to write a play performed on Broadway.  Her promising career was cut short when she died from cancer in 1965 at the age of 34.

Adapted after her death by Robert Nemiroff, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” features passages from Hansberry’s plays, interviews, diary entries, letters, and other observations.  As described in the book’s foreword, it is "the portrait of an individual, the workbook of an artist, and the chronicle of a rebel who celebrated the human spirit." In turns angry, loving, bitter, amusing, and defiantly proud, the story, voice, and message are all Hansberry's own, coming together in a major work about the black experience in mid-20th century America.

The production will be performed in the round, guaranteeing a good seat for all.

The ensemble cast of “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” includes, first row left to right, Elizabeth Koenig, Madison King and Marisa Dixon; second row left to right, Mariah King, Amariss White, Tonya Treadwell and Ashley Hines.

The male actors include, from left, John Cintron, Wellington Talkpa and Dwayne Barnes.

The cast includes Dwayne Barnes of Trenton, Jon Cintron of Trenton, Marisa Dixon of Princeton, Ashley Hines of Trenton, Madison King  of Dayton, Mariah King of Dayton, Elizabeth Koenig of Yardley, Pa., Wellington Talkpa of Trenton, Tonya Treadwell of Trenton, and Amariss White of Trenton. The show is directed by Deena Jiles-Shu’aib and produced by MCCC Theatre Program Coordinator Jody Person, with stage management by Shauri Johnson, light design by Robert Terrano, and sets and costumes by Kate Pinner. Jon Cintron and Madison King created the show's musical arrangements.

Person notes that this year’s performances, united by the theme “Ideas are Power,” will continue with “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler, which will be performed at the Trenton campus March 7, 8 and 9 as part of the V-Day Celebration. A benefit event, most of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Womanspace, with the remainder going to the V-Day Spotlight Campaign, all with the goal to help combat violence towards women.

The Theatre Program concludes its performance season with the musical “Hair” at Kelsey Theatre from April 25 to May 4.

“It is truly a season of provocative thought and phenomenal presentations,” Person said.

Tickets for “Young, Gifted and Black” are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $8 for students, staff and faculty.   Tickets are available online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333. A limited number will be available at the door.

Students interested in studying theatre and dance at Mercer may pursue their associate degrees in either Liberal Arts or Fine Arts. Read more about the Theatre/Dance program here.

Kelsey Theatre Schedule

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