PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh-based Kuntu Repertory Theatre will present Mahalia Jackson: Standing on Holy Ground through March 12 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium in the University’s Alumni Hall.
Written and directed by Kuntu founder and producing artistic director Vernell A Lillie, Mahalia Jackson celebrates the life of one of the most influential gospel singers in the world, known to many as The Queen of Gospel.
“My focus is to present and recapture the marvelous tradition of the Southern Baptist,” said Lillie, “and to celebrate the memory of Mahalia through the magic, beauty, dignity, and elegance of the rich contralto voice she presented to world audiences.”
Deryck Tines Mitchell serves as music director for the production. Founder of ONEchurch Pittsburgh, Tines is a pastor at Living Waters International Church in Clairton, Pa. He serves on several regional boards, including the Pittsburgh Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Council, Equality PA, and the Afro American Music Institute.
Kuntu is presenting productions this season by playwrights who were influenced by the late Rob Penny, Kuntu’s playwright-in-residence for many years and an associate professor of Africana Studies at Pitt. Kuntu was founded in 1974 by Lillie to celebrate the works of Penny and other African American writers.