*  Black Cultural Center

February 16, 2007

Black Cultural Center's arts ensembles preview spring performances

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The performing arts ensembles from Purdue University's Black Cultural Center will preview their spring productions at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at a "Coffee House" performance.

The Black Voices of Inspiration, Haraka Writers and New Directional Players will present formal spring performances later in the semester. This preview event is free and open to the public.

"These performances will help audiences beat the winter blues and get a taste of springtime," said William Caise, assistant director at the Black  Cultural Center. "The ensembles are all supervised by artists-in-residence who also are professional entertainers skilled in the disciplines of African-American choral music, creative writing and theater. The result is a top-notch performance that everyone will love."

Singer and composer Twana Harris is a full-time artist-in-residence for the Black Voices of Inspiration, which will share a variety of musical selections.

"Expect the coffee house performance from the Black Voices of Inspiration to be energetic and inspirational," Harris said. "Selections will include a Duke Ellington jazz piece commissioned for us by renowned jazz arranger Kirby Shaw, contemporary gospel selections, as well as music from celebrated motion pictures and Broadway musicals."

The Haraka Writers, a group of student poets, essayists and short-story writers, will explore the theme "The Neighborhood and Love" during its portion of the coffee house.

"Haraka will present just a taste of the outdoors from their upcoming "From the Porch" series," said artist-in-residence Khari Bowden. "These wonderfully gifted wordsmiths will offer all-original works rampant with willful rants of wisdom, wonder and realization."

The New Directional Players is a theater group with a focus on presenting drama about the African-American experience. The group will present scenes from its spring show, the Obie Award-winning play "Fabulation" or "The Re-education of Undine," by Lynn Nottage.

The play is a social satire about an ambitious African-American woman, Undine Barnes Calles, whose husband suddenly disappears after embezzling all of her money. Undine finds herself facing pregnancy, bankruptcy and the familiar surroundings of the Walt Whitman Projects of Brooklyn and begins the process of reclaiming her life.

"Through her circumstances, Undine goes through metamorphosis and comes to realize what the truly important things are," said Ashley Vance, student coordinator for the acting ensemble. "The play is just plain funny."

For information, call the Black Cultural Center at (765) 494-3092.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432,

Source: William Caise, (765)494-4630,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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