Tonya Pinkins Hoards Musical Past in Ford's Theatre's Black Pearl Sings!

News   Tonya Pinkins Hoards Musical Past in Ford's Theatre's Black Pearl Sings!
Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins will star as a prisoner with a trove of African-American folk music in Ford's Theatre's 2009-10 season opener, Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins, Sept. 25-Oct. 18 in Washington, DC.
Tonya Pinkins and Harry Lennix in Radio Golf.
Tonya Pinkins and Harry Lennix in Radio Golf.

The Caroline, or Change and Jelly's Last Jam star makes her Ford's Theatre debut in the title role with Erika Rolfsrud as Susannah. Jennifer L. Nelson returns to direct for the first time since her critically acclaimed production of Jitney. The regionally popular play is about Susannah, a song collector for the Library of Congress, who travels the country seeking little-known melodies. According to Ford's, "When she encounters Pearl in a Texas prison, she discovers dozens of musical treasures rooted in the African tradition. Pearl must decide whether to give away her ancestors' songs for a chance at her own freedom. Music unites strangers in a powerful story that illuminates America’s racial divisions and the attempts of two women to bridge them."

Pinkins received a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle and Clarence Derwent Award for her role as Sweet Anita in Broadway's Jelly's Last Jam. Additional Broadway credits include Caroline, or Change (Tony nomination), Radio Golf, The Wild Party and Play On. She has appeared in multiple television series, including "24," "Army Wives," "All My Children" and more. (Visit

Rolfsrud received a Kevin Kline Award for her role in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' The Little Dog Laughed. She has performed regularly at the Old Globe Theatre and the Shakespeare Festivals of Utah, Seattle and Idaho. Rolfsrud holds an MFA from the Old Globe Theatre/USD. To find out more, visit

The creative team includes set designer Tony Cisek, lighting designer Dan Covey, costume designer Toni Leslie-James, music director William Hubbard, sound designer Veronika Vorel and wig and makeup designer Wendy Parson.

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