|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THROUGH APRIL 16, 2006
Dr. Goddess Productions
"Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show"
Dr. Goddess Productions will present Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show", an original play written and performed by performance poet and professor, Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D., in a two week run April 7 - 16, 2006, at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater in the Downtown Cultural District at 542 Penn Avenue (Across from Heinz Hall, Entrance on Penn Avenue and Sixth Street, between Starbucks and Subway or through the Jackman Building Parking Garage to the Mezzanine level), with specially-themed matinees.
Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show is a multimedia, coming-of-age variety show about a young woman in urban America, whose neuroses in academia meets the social commentary of the comedic stage. The show is filled with dramatic monologues, sketch comedy, poetry, Jazz, African and Hip Hop Dance.
"Dr. Goddess" is also the stage name for Kimberly C. Ellis, a name that evolved from her online persona as "Goddess" and changed following her graduation with her doctorate from Purdue University in American Studies with a specialty in African American Literature and History. She is a graduate of St. Benedict the Moor elementary and middle schools, Oakland Catholic (formerly St. Paul's Cathedral) High School in Pittsburgh and a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, GA. A young participant in programs sponsored by the YWCA in Downtown Pittsburgh, Ms. Ellis is a former student of Betty Love Gibbs of the Love School of Dance and participated in annual recitals at the YWCA from 7 years old to 14 years old. Also the maternal niece of August Wilson, Ellis grew up on the Hill and on Wilson's plays, attending all but one Broadway production and many others around the country. A former professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Ellis taught the first seminar course, “Blues Poetics and the Wilsonian Tradition”, following the untimely death of another mentor, Rob Penny. She was the last person to occupy Rob Penny's office, which was also formerly inhabited by another woman she admired, Dr. Barbara Sizemore. Dr. Ellis won Pitt's Student Government Association's “Student Choice” Award in May 2004 and presently lectures and gives teacher training workshops around the country.
Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show will feature the talents of performer, Kimberly C. Ellis, director, Eileen J. Morris (Managing Director of Kuntu Repertory Theater), scenic painters Leslie Ansley and Monique Luck, and the work of Bridget O'Connor (graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and Sound Engineer of The Alley Theater in Houston, TX) and Bob Steineck for lighting design and jazz composition by Tony Campbell, with Terri Snoe Consulting Services as the Production Management Team.
“Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show” highlights a poetic critique, “The African American: An Open Poem Response to Smokey Robinson”, and includes powerful presentations on male / female relationships in "Baby Mama Drama" and "My Baby Daddy", a critique of Black Power patriarchy in "King Solomon's Mind", a poetic treatise on weight loss, power mongers and environmentalism in "Extreme Makeover II: Shallow Sam" and a battle between a spoken word poet and a rapper.
Showtimes and Theme Matinees:
Friday, April 7, 8:00pm - OPENING NIGHT! / Students & Artists Night*
Saturday, April 8, 2pm & 8pm - Honoring Elders
Sunday, April 9, 4pm & 7pm - St. Benedict the Moor Day & I Survived Catholic School
Friday, April 14, 7:30pm & 10:30pm - Betty Love Gibbs Students & Artists Night*
Saturday, April 15, 2pm & 8pm - The H.I.L.L. Day & I AM A MAN Night
Sunday, April 16, 4pm & 7pm - GRAND and Other Mothers Celebration
Tickets Now on Sale: $15 in advance, $20 at Door
*$10 Student & Artist Friday Nights Only!
Group Discounts Available!
ProArts Ticket Service: 412-394-3353 or www.proartstickets.org
Former students, faculty and staff of St. Benedict the Moor School and Church, along with former classmates of Kimberly Ellis from Oakland Catholic (St. Paul's Cathedral and Sacred Heart) High School will be in attendance on “St. Benedict the Moor” and “I Survived Catholic School” Day.
Faculty from Pittsburgh's CAPA will be in attendance and some students will be performing for “Betty Love Gibbs Night” (who recently retired from teaching dance at CAPA). Anyone wishing to honor Betty Love Gibbs in person should be in attendance.
The Hill House will be in official attendance on H.I.L.L. Night, along with residents of Pittsburgh's famous Hill District, where persons such as the late Rob Penny and August Wilson will be remembered and honored. Tickets to “Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show” will be auctioned off on Sat. Apr. 1 at “Sugar N Soul” at Carnegie Music Hall.
“The Soul Pitt” will be hosting “I AM A MAN” Night (Apr. 15, 8pm show). Contact Donna Baxter at email@example.com and 412-983-6533 www.TheSoulPitt.com
All mothers and those wishing to honor “other mothers” will be honored during the “GRAND and Other Mothers Celebration” Easter Sunday matinee.
This production of "Dr. Goddess!: A One Woman Show" is generously supported by the Multicultural Arts Initiative. For more information on the show and upcoming tour dates, please visit Dr. Goddess online at (http://www.drgoddess.com).
An award-winning, spoken word poet and budding playwright, Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis won the pre-Def Jam Poetry Slam in Pittsburgh, PA in October 2003 and is well known as "Dr. Goddess". Also a choreographer and a dancer, she began exploring art by studying ballet, tap and jazz with Betty Love Gibbs at the YWCA and twirling the flag in the all-Black Thunderherd Drum and Bugle Corp in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In graduate school, she heavily explored traditional African Dance and went on to choreograph fourteen dance theatre pieces for Jahari Dance Troupe in Indiana, including "Umoja! Dance Theatre for 'The Kwanzaa Song'", the only piece featured at the Grand Opening of the newly constructed, Purdue University, Black Cultural Center.
In October 2005, she won the Embodi Black Female Performing Arts Festival in Los Angeles, CA for her performance of "Dr. Goddess! A One Woman Show" at the Inglewood City Playhouse. She has presented in plenary sessions and performed her poetry at the Gwendolyn Brooks Black Writers Conference on "Hip Hop, Spoken Word and Social Responsibility" in Chicago, IL and the National African American Student Leadership Conference at Rust College in Holly Springs, MS. Other performances were at the National African American Studies & Affiliates Conference and the University of Houston, Downtown Campus in Houston, Texas, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Hip Hop Conference at Lehman College in Bronx, New York, a run at the Boston Center for the Arts produced by “Up You Mighty Race” Performing Arts Company, a “Homegirl's Homecoming” run at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater and performances at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio and the 20th Anniversary Conference of the Black Theatre Network in Louisville, KY. "Dr. Goddess" is on a National Tour and expects to come to a campus and city near you!
Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis acquired her Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University in 2002. She received her B.A. as a double major in English and African and African American Studies at Emory University and her M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut. With at least a decade of experience in teaching, she has also taught at DePauw University as a Fellow and Part-Time Assistant Professor in English and Black Studies, at the University of Pittsburgh as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Africana Studies and at the University of Houston as a Visiting Scholar. Her areas of specialization are 19th and 20th Century American Literary Culture, African American Studies, Women's Studies, the early Civil Rights Movement and Black Theater. At DePauw, she taught a new course she developed at Purdue University entitled, "The Africana West: An Interdisciplinary Study of the Black Experience in the American West," which was a highly successful endeavor and a course students greatly enjoyed. Her dissertation was entitled, "We Look Like Men of War: Africana Male Narratives and the Tulsa Race Riot, War and Massacre of 1921". Some of her lectures on Tulsa include places such as the State of the Black World Conference in Atlanta, the University of Virginia, West Virginia University, Emory University's Conference on Lynching and Racial Violence, Stanford University and a Teacher Training Workshop at Hoover High School in Fresno, California. Her essay entitled, "Enemies, Both Foreign and Domestic: Tulsa, 1921 and September 11, 2001" appears in Julianne Malveaux and Reginna Green's edited book, "The Paradox of Loyalty: An African American Response to the War on Terrorism", published by Third World Press. In 2003, Dr. Ellis was appointed the Literary and Historical Expert Consultant to the Reparations Coordinating Committee, led by Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, TransAfrica's Randall Robinson and N'COBRA's Adjoa Aiyetoro, which brought a lawsuit against the city and state of Tulsa, Oklahoma on behalf of the existing survivors. On May 9, 2005, she testified in a Congressional hearing on the significant impact of the Tulsa travesty in American History. She is presently working on her manuscript, “The Way They Fought and Why: African Americans and the Tulsa Race Riot, War and Massacre” and a play on the Tulsa story entitled, “June”.
Having literally and figuratively grown up on August Wilson's plays and in the famed Hill District in which most of his plays were set, Dr. Ellis is on her way to being the next August Wilson scholar. She has consulted for and wrote the program (including the timeline and scene descriptions) for “August in April”, an annual series of vignette performances of August Wilson plays produced by the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (February 23, 2005). She has presented at the “Situating August Wilson in the Canon” Conference at Howard University (April 9, 2005) and, at the Penn State University “August Wilson Festival” (April 29, 2005), Dr. Ellis delivered a lecture on the early life of August Wilson and gave an “August Wilson for Young Scholars” workshop at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. She further addressed Wilson's “Gem of the Ocean” in her paper presentation, “Staging the Goddess: The Female Divine in Black Theatre” (August 5, 2005) at the National Black Theatre Festival International Colloquium and on November 18, 2005, she was the featured speaker on “Teaching August Wilson to Young Minds” at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following Wilson's untimely death in October, 2005, Dr. Ellis served as a consultant for the “Art for August” project, ten artists creating pieces in tribute to and as an extension of the works of August Wilson, which debuted in time for the “August in February” vignette performance at the Byham Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (February 14, 2006) with James Earl Jones appearing as a special guest.
A multifaceted scholar, artist and activist, she utilizes interdisciplinary studies to shape her various endeavors as a lecturer who has traveled throughout the country giving multimedia presentations on African American History, the Black experience in the American West, popular culture and Theatre. Dr. Ellis also works as a consultant offering master classes, teacher training, youth/college student leadership development and rites of passage programs centering on Africana arts and history. She most recently gave the "Scholars of the 21st Century" Lecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (October, 2005) and a “Renaissance Woman: Scholarship, Activism and a Life in the Arts” lecture at Williams College in Williamstown, MA (March 7, 2006). Her ongoing work revolves around constructions of the Black female divine, contemporary images of Africa by African Americans and the history and development of Black Theater.