Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Jun. 16: Project1Voice & NBLCA Presents Staged Reading of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf Featuring Trazana Beverley, LaChanze, Adriane Lenox, Tonya Pinkins, Lillias White, Denise Burse Fernandez, Marva Hicks, Roslyn Ruff and More

Project1VOICE is presenting FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF by Ntozake Shange in partnership with the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) on Monday, June 16, 2014 at the Harlem Hospital Pavilion at 506 Lenox Ave./Malcolm X Boulevard in New York City. The fourth annual 1VOICE/1PLAY/1DAY event celebrates what it means to be female in the 21st century, with a focus on empowering women and girls.

This international experience, which includes over 30 black theaters and diverse institutions throughout the world, will feature readings by prominent actors and local enthusiasts. Project1VOICE and NBLCA will present the flagship production in New York City, showcasing a star-studded cast under the direction of renowned actor and director Seret Scott. Actors participating in the NYC reading include Tony Award-winners Trazana Beverley, LaChanze, Adriane Lenox, Tonya Pinkins, Lillias White. Also featured are Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Brenda Braxton, Denise Burse Fernandez, Laurie Carlos, Hope Clark, Caroline Clay, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Elain Graham, Allison Williams Foster, Harriett D Foy, Marva Hicks, Janet League-Katzin, Barbara Montgomery, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Flor de Liz Perez, Stephanie Pope, Michele Shay, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Angela Robinson-Whitehurst, Roslyn Ruff, Flo Wiley, Michelle Wilson. The reading will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by author, journalist, and blogger Demetria Lucas, with author Terrie Williams, author and HIV activist Dawn Breedon, and HIV and health advocate Dr. Aletha Maybank.

For a complete list of participating theaters, visit www.project1VOICE.orgTickets are $75, including a VIP reception with the cast and playwright. Tickets can be purchased at

2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the stage debut of FOR COLORED GIRLS… The seminal work of American literature uniquely combines poetry, dance and music—placing the African American female’s experience in America unapologetically at center stage. The Tony and Obie Award-winning play is a compilation of 20 poems, collectively called a “choreopoem.” Shange’s poetry expresses the struggles and obstacles that all women may face in their lives. It is performed by a cast of seven women characters, each of whom is only known by a color, such as Lady in Red. The women in the play learn to celebrate their beauty, their friendships, their scars, their successes, and their connection to something larger and divine. With vivid, lyrical language—specific in its pain and universal in its reach—FOR COLORED GIRLS… evokes feelings that continue to excite, inspire, and transform audiences around the world, four decades after becoming a Broadway sensation.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Project1VOICE on this production of Shange’s , with such an impressive group of actors and partners,” said C. Virginia Fields, President and CEO of NBLCA. “The play continues to speak to the most challenging issues facing women; it is an important reminder in our continued fight against HIV and other health disparities and social barriers that have a disproportionate impact on women of color. FOR COLORED GIRLS… inspires us, celebrates women, and honors those who are committed to advancing social change.”

“The FOR COLORED GIRLS… Initiative celebrates and honors womanhood. This is a movement that seeks to empower, and to encourage good mental and physical health care practices among women and girls using art as the catalyst for ongoing conversations to ignite change,” said Project1VOICE Founder and CEO Erich McMillan-McCall. “This initiative is inspired by my mother—all mothers; what better way to celebrate and honor womanhood. Together, Project1VOICE with NBLCA and all our partners internationally will educate, enlighten, entertain, and save lives!”

Project1VOICE, in partnership with NBLCA, will use the staged readings of FOR COLORED GIRLS… to expand the conversation about the well-being of women and girls. For more information about 1VOICE/1PLAY/1DAY and other programs and events offered by Project1VOICE, visit To find out more about the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc., visit

Playwright Ntozake Shange (née Paulette Williams) attended Barnard College and UCLA, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in American Studies. Her work as an educator, performer/director and writer draws heavily on her experiences of being a black female in America. Best known for her play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, other plays by Shange include A Photograph: A Study of Cruelty, Boogie Woogie Landscapes, Spell No. 7 and Black and White Two Dimensional Planes.

About Project1VOICE (Producer)
Founded by actor/producer Erich McMillan-McCall, Project1VOICE is a national organization whose mission is to strengthen and promote African American theater and playwrights through its innovative initiatives and approaches to audience development, volunteerism and community engagement, as well as fundraising. Project1VOICE focuses attention on the challenges confronting African American theaters and assists in providing solutions for sustainability and long-term institutional growth with programs that educate, enlighten and entertain. Project1VOICE seeks to preserve the legacy of African American theater and cultivate future generations of artists and arts patrons. What began as a grassroots organization for survival in response to the economic downturn of 2008-09 soon developed into a national initiative.

Celebrating its 4th successful year, Project1VOICE is an evolving and continuing voice for American theater. Key members of the Project1VOICE team are producer/production manager Gwen Gilliam, award-winning playwright and MOTOWN: The Musical director Charles Randolph-Wright and marketing consultant/producer Marcia Pendelton (Walk Tall Girl Productions). FOR COLORED GIRLS… is made possible with special permission granted by Samuel French.

About the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (Producer)
The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA), founded in 1987, is the oldest and largest national non-profit organization of its kind in the United States. NBLCA’s mission is to educate, mobilize, and empower African American leaders to meet the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in their local communities through advocacy and policy; capacity-building; technical assistance; awareness; testing and screening; and linkage to care.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards
Signature Theatre to Be Honored with the 2014 Regional Theatre Tony Award
Second Stage Uptown: 2g Presents Readings of Anna Moench’s Three Kingdoms on 6/9 and Sung Rno and Aaron Jones’ Galois on 6/16 
Wesley Taylor and Mitchell Jarvis’ ‘it could be worse’ Series Featuring Adam Chanler-Berat, Alison Fraser, Gideon Glick and More Airs on Pivot TV in June; and on Hulu in July 
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014 
Jun. 16: Project1Voice & NBLCA Presents Staged Reading of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf Featuring Trazana Beverley, LaChanze, Adriane Lenox, Tonya Pinkins, Lillias White, Denise Burse Fernandez, Marva Hicks, Roslyn Ruff and More
June 13-14: Washington National Opera Presents Huang Ruo & David Henry Hwang’s An American Soldier in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Jun. 23: The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall Features Chapman Roberts, Norm Lewis, André De Shields, Chuck Cooper, Brandon Victor Dixon and More
Francis Jue, Bryan Cranston, Olympia Dukakis, Paul Daigneault, All The Way, The Jungle Book, The Flick, Tribes, Hairspray Among 32nd Annual Elliot Norton Award Winners
Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 OBIE Award Winners
Jun. 4-29: Tony Award–winner BD Wong, Sab Shimono, Julyana Soelistyo, Stan Egi, Orville Mendoza, Paolo Montalban and More Set for A.C.T.’s U.S. Premiere of Orphan of Zhao, a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse 
June 22 – July 27: Blair Underwood, Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Lead the Cast of The Old Globe’s Othello, helmed by Barry Edelstein 
June 4: Garth Kravits, Lena Hall, Lesli Margherita, Wesley Taylor and More Strip Down with The Skivvies at 54 Below 
May 31 – June 22: Annette O’Toole Leads Cast of Wendy Wasserstein’s “Third” Helmed by Michael Cumpsty at Two River Theater Company 
May 28 – June 29: Lisa Joyce, Henry Kelemen and CJ Wilson Join Mary McCann in Atlantic Theater Company’s OUR NEW GIRL
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan 
Photos: Bryan Cranston, Peter Jay Fernandez, Roslyn Ruff, Tamara Tunie, Leslie Uggams, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Celebrate All The Way Opening Night
Photos: Harriet Harris, John Tartaglia, Christine Toy Johnson, Alan Muraoka, James Saito and More celebrate Ann Harada’s Debut at Lincoln Center in the American Songbook Series 
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre Review: Power Play Powerful & Suspenseful 
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party 
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Other articles about Denise Burse:
Photos: Denise Burse, Michael Genet, Doug Eskew, Tracie Thoms, Sakina Ansari-Wilson and More Celebrate Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts Opening Night at Center Stage
Center Stage Photo Preview: Denise Burse and Michael Genet in Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts, Opens October 16, 2013
Oct. 9 – Nov. 17: Denise Burse and Michael Genet Star in Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts at Center Stage
Photos: Denise Burse, Lizan Mitchell, Novella Nelson, Arthur French at Regina Taylor’s stop. reset with LaTanya Richardson Jackson at Signature
Denise Burse, Harriett D. Foy, Lynda Gravatt, Nikiya Mathis, Dennis Parlato, Saycon Sengbloh and Tracie Thoms in Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand in 2012 Powerhouse Theater Season, July 20-22, 2012
Photos: Larry Bryggman, Denise Burse, Peter Jay Fernandez, Tim Hopper, Arliss Howard, Kobi Libii, Mary McCann, Neil Pepe, David Pittu, Steve Rosen, Sheila Tapia, Debra Winger at Atlantic Theatre’s Opening Night of Gabe McKinley’s CQ/CX
Denise Burse, Michael Early, Phillip James Brannon, Malesha Jessie & Ellen Mandel featured in HAPPY BIRTHDAY LANGSTON HUGHES at Cornelia Street Café
Denise Burse & Peter Jay Fernandez Featured in INTAR Reading of Andrew Dolan’s The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King
Multimedia: The 52nd Street Project Benefit Photos: Michael Cerveris, James Monroe Inglehart, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Matthew Morrison, Greg Naughton and Kelli O’Hara
Michael Cerveris, Matthew Morrison & Kelli O’Hara sing for 52nd Street Project’s Benefit
Multimedia: Zooman and The Sign Opening Night Party
Slideshow – On October 16, 2005, The Virginia Theatre was renamed the August Wilson Theatre

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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