"Lazarus, Unstoned" at Freedom Theatre, 4/3-4/25
- LAZARUS, UNSTONED
Returns To Freedom Repertory Theatre
[Philadelphia, PA] --- Lazarus, Unstoned, a musical drama conceived, written and directed by Freedom Theatre Artistic Director Dr. Walter Dallas, will return to Freedom Theatre's John E. Allen, Jr. Theatre, located at 1346 North Broad Street for a limited engagement beginning Friday, April 3rd and ending Sunday, April 25, 2004.Lazarus, Unstoned is the story of Jesus’ best friend Lazarus, who Jesus raises
from the dead. With all the buzz surrounding Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ," Lazarus, Unstoned is worth checking out because it takes a look at the life and work of Jesus in a way that no other work of art does!The work explores, with a breathtaking mixture of rapture, respect and irreverence, the meanings of life, death, resurrection and the real and imagined journeys that connect them. Blending traditional and fantastic theatrical, musical, religious and historical conventions, Lazarus, Unstoned draws its impetus from the intelligent, unbridled curiosities that probably inspired works as far ranging as Dante’s Inferno, Inez Andrew’s Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep (a gospel telling of Lazarus’ resurrection sung by Aretha Franklin), Brazilian-Greek Orpheus myths, the Bible’s Book of Revelation, Stravinsky’s La Sacre du Printemps, Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s groundbreaking raps written in Negro dialect in the late 19th century, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, Bosch’s Visions of the Hereafter, and the religious/spiritual logic that envelops the mysterious rites-of-passage rituals in traditional Madagascar.After Lazarus, Unstoned completed its initial run in April 2002, Dr. Dallas moved forward and announced the 2002-2003 season. He was surprised by the reaction of Freedom’s audience when his play selections did not once again include Lazarus. "We received letters, phone calls -- and threats," Dallas laughed.The audience, especially fans of the annual staging of Freedom Theatre’s Black Nativity, found great resonance in Lazarus, Unstoned. The musical drama had a profound affect on many, including a man who decided not to commit suicide after seeing a performance. "The play is the most life-affirming work that we have ever done here at Freedom, Dallas said. "It gave people hope."Audiences will experience Dallas’s "sense of garden" in the upcoming production of Lazarus, Unstoned which features a new cast, new musicians, and new musical elements including new sounds with a Middle Eastern flavor. Dallas said, "All the plays I’ve ever written have been driven by music. Lazarus, Unstoned displays how I use found music in new and unique ways."Dallas‘ background in comparative religious studies (Morehouse College and Harvard Divinity School) and his interest in the connection between theatre and spirituality heavily influenced the development of Lazarus, Unstoned. Dr. Dallas has put together a team of superb theatre artists who will lend their support to his 28-member cast. They are: Jeirous L. Parker, Jr. (sound design), Gail Leslie (dramaturgy), Shawn-Lamere Williams (choreography), Renee Robinson-Way (vocal director), and Jamar Jones (musical director/conductor)."I want people to experience passion and joy when they see Lazarus, Unstoned," Dallas said. "Whatever you’re up against, there is always resurrection -- hope."Performance and Price InfoPreview performances of Lazarus, Unstoned with post-show discussions with Dr. Dallas are Saturday, April 3rd at 7:00 PM and Sunday, April 4th at 7:00 PM. Opening night is Wednesday, April 7th at 7:00 PM, with subsequent performances during the run set for Wednesdays at 11:00 AM, Wednesdays & Thursday at 7:00 PM, Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 PM, and Saturdays & Sundays at 3:00 PM through April 25, 2004.Tickets for Lazarus, Unstoned are $15-45. Discounts for students, groups and senior adults are available. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.freedomtheatre.org or by calling Freedom Theatre's toll free ticket hotline at 866-314-3733. For group purchases, call the Freedom Theatre box office at 215-978-8497.Please Note: Several performances of Lazarus, Unstoned are already sold-out, so get your tickets NOW...DON'T DELAY!About Freedom TheatreFounded by John E. Allen, Jr. in 1966, Freedom Theatre is Pennsylvania's oldest African-American theatre. In 1968 Robert E. Leslie joined Freedom Theatre and founded the Performing Arts Training Program in 1971. After John E. Allen, Jr.'s death in 1992, nationally acclaimed director Walter Dallas became Freedom's Artistic Director.
Dr. Walter Dallas created Freedom Rep, the professional performing company of Freedom Theatre in 1993. Since then, Freedom has grown from a small community theatre to an award-winning, nationally recognized regional theatre, only the second African-American theatre to join the prestigious League of Resident Theatres (LORT).
Freedom Theatre is located on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts, in the historic Edwin Forrest Mansion. The newly built 299-seat state-of-the-art John E. Allen, Jr. Theatre opened February 19, 2000.
New Freedom is a cherished African American and American theatre institution.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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