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Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood Join Cicely Tyson in “The Trip to Bountiful”

cicely tyson

24TRIPjp2-popupVanessa Williams and Blair Underwood will join Cicely Tyson in the critically acclaimed, Tony-nominated Broadway revival of Horton Foote’s American masterpiece “The Trip to Bountiful,” which will be presented in the exclusive Center Theatre Group engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre, September 17 through November 2, 2014. The opening is set for September 26.

Tyson and Williams appeared together in the 2013 Broadway production of “The Trip to Bountiful,” while Tyson, Williams and Underwood all starred in the Lifetime TV version that aired in March.

Directed by Michael Wilson, “The Trip to Bountiful” tells the story of Mother Watts, played by Tyson. She is an elderly woman forced to live with her overprotective son, played by Underwood, and domineering daughter-in-law (Williams). Mother Watts’ dream is to return for one last time to her small hometown of Bountiful, Texas. Her journey becomes a heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming and inspiring tale that examines the fragility of memory and celebrates the enduring power of hope, faith and family.

Tyson, who received an Academy Award nomination for “Sounder” and two Emmy Awards for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” returned to Broadway in 2013 for the first time in over 30 years to star in “The Trip to Bountiful.” She received every major theatrical award including the Tony Award for Best Actress, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her tour-de-force performance as Carrie Watts. Vanessa Williams, one of the most multi-faceted performers in entertainment today, has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television, and she has sold millions of albums worldwide. In addition to “The Trip to Bountiful,” in which her performance Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood Set for “The Trip to Bountiful” at Ahmanson as the bossy daughter-in-law was called “wickedly funny” by Entertainment Weekly, Williams’ other stage credits include Broadway’s “After Midnight,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Into the Woods” (for which she received a Tony Award nomination) and “Sondheim on Sondheim,” as well as “St. Louis Woman” for City Center’s Encores! As a recording artist, she has garnered 11 Grammy nominations, and she is also known for her three-time Emmy-nominated performance as Wilhelmina Slater in “Ugly Betty” and for her performance as Renee Perry in “Desperate Housewives.”

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Award-winning actor, director and producer Blair Underwood, who will appear as Othello at The Old Globe in San Diego this summer, is equally at home in the worlds of theatre, film and television. He made his Broadway debut as Stanley in “A Streetcar Named Desire” for which he received a 2012 Drama League Distinguished Performance Award nomination. His many film and TV credits include “Just Cause,” “Deep Impact,” “Something New,” “The Event,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Sex and the City,” “In Treatment” (Golden Globe nomination) and “L.A. Law” (Golden Globe nomination), among many others. He is a Grammy Award-winner for the audiobook of “An Inconvenient Truth.” He made his feature directorial debut with “Bridge to Nowhere.”

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“The Trip to Bountiful” was lauded as one of the most distinguished productions on Broadway in 2013. Terry Teachout of the The Wall Street Journal said, “I’ve never been more deeply moved by a theatrical production of any kind. ‘The Trip to Bountiful’ is without flaw!” While Ben Brantley of The New York Times said, “Book the next bus to Bountiful! Cicely Tyson is remarkable.” David Cote from Time Out NY called the show “Soul-stirring and flawless. ‘The Trip to Bountiful’ seems as fresh and vibrant as the day Horton Foote finished it.”

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“The Trip to Bountiful” is the first production in the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre’s 2014-2015 season. Tickets for the season are currently available by subscription only. For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Hotline at (213) 972-4444.
To purchase subscriptions online, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/Ahmanson. For information regarding audio description and Project D.A.T.E. (sign language interpreted, open caption and audio description performances) call TDD (213) 680-4017 or voice (213) 972-4444.

Bountiful Cast

LUE PRODUCTIONS: YOUTH HOLIDAY TALENT SHOWCASE

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YOUTH HOLIDAY TALENT SHOWCASEWhat it do I.E. and neighboring cities! Happy to be back again this week to let you know WHAT IT DO! Well, it’s about our young folks. Our community is saturated with talented youth and teens looking for events to showcase their skills. I’ve witnessed children on more than one occasion at several neighborhood events singing, dancing, and rapping. Come on let’s be honest, how many of you have given Lil’ Jon Jon or Sara a dollar or two to perform at the family function because they have amazing talent? I know I’m guilty of it.

Please help us spread the word about our FREE YOUTH auditions. Let’s get them off the streets and on the STAGE! The “Youth Holiday Talent Showcase” is sponsored by LUE Productions, Westside Story Newspaper, Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Cities, Family First Entertainment, Pretty Pockets, Cold Cutz Barber Shop, and Blaim Society. The event will be held on Saturday, December 13th.

We are calling all Gospel acts, singers, singing groups, poets, dancers, rappers, comedians, and more, as well as youth hosts and models. Registration is free to sign up, and if you are selected you must sale tickets. All participants must be 19 and under. Auditions will be held on Sunday, September 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, September 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You may send us an audition tape if unable to make the auditions. Please send it to Lue.info@yahoo.com. Please make sure that your footage is no longer than 3 minutes. All final contestants will be contacted by Monday, September 29.

Abused Women: Why They Stay, Why They Leave

Ray Rice and Janay Rice

Ray Rice and Janay Rice

By Jameelah Medina, PhD

We have all heard about (former) NFL player, Ray Rice, receiving a 2-game suspension for a domestic altercation with his former fiancée. Janay Rice, who is now his wife, explained that she was partially at fault for the violence that led to being unconscious in an elevator; however, most did not know the extent of the violence. We all know that it takes a serious amount of force to render someone unconscious, but the recent release of the entire surveillance video showing how she lost consciousness set off a storm. In short, the video shows Mr. Rice reaching for her before they enter the elevator. Once in the elevator, he strikes her. She responds by pushing him, and he hits her again hard enough to knock her to the floor. On her way down, her head hits a handle bar in the elevator. Once on the floor, she does not move; she is unconscious. He is forced to drag her seemingly lifeless body from the elevator and out of the building.

While many were appalled at his violent actions, many chose to focus on  Mrs. Rice. They asked questions like, “Why did she stay with him?” “How could she marry him?” “Why would she lie for him?” “How could she sit at that press conference and support him so publicly?” While it is very easy to judge an abused woman, her behavior and choices; it is actually better to try to understand the psychological nature of abuse and the psychology of the abused and battered.

Relationships hardly ever start out abusive. There is a process of breaking in and breaking down a victim. This process involves possessiveness, isolation, verbal and emotional abuse, and other tactics. Women who have experienced physical, emotional, sexual or other forms of abuse as girls are at greater risk for entering into an abusive relationship. For many, become accustomed to seeing violence as a way in which love is shown. Others may have low self-esteem in general or at least when it comes to romantic relationships. While others see potential in the abuser and believe that they can help the abuser change.

Many women, especially in the African American community, also have an aversion to involving the authorities in domestic disputes; they would rather take the abuse than offer their abusive partner up to the criminal justice system. Within the African American community, there is also the stigma of being seen as weak and the stereotype of “the strong, black woman.” This often keeps African American women silent about the abuse they suffer.

Over 85 percent of domestic violence (DV) or intimate partner violence (IPV) is against women, and one in every three women will experience IPV in her lifetime. More than 33% of teenage girls already report experiencing violence in a dating relationship. Abused women are often killed by their abusive partners, and the most dangerous time is when she is leaving or has just left the relationship. Roughly 72% of all murder-suicides are the result of IPV. It also takes roughly 7-8 attempts at leaving before the woman leave for the final time. Many often wonder why these women stay and judge them harshly for doing so. Just because a woman stays with her abuser does not mean that she does not want to end the abuse or leave the relationship. Most times, she has carefully weighed her options and the safest one is remaining where she is. She may remain in hopes of changing the abuser or simply to buy herself more time to plan a safe exit. Most people think of leaving as a one-time event. However, leaving an abusive relationship is a process. Once a woman is committed to leaving the relationship, it may take her months or even years before the process is finalized. And, until the very end, she runs the risk of losing her life to the abuser. If there are children involved, the leaving process is further complicated.

I do not particularly care for the NFL nor do I think they deserve applause for ending Ray Rice’s contract. However, I believe that this case represents an excellent time for our community to openly and honestly discuss DV and IPV, especially with our pre-teen and teen population.