Josephine Baker: The Black Pearl premieres this month at The University of Akron’s (UA) Sandefur Theatre in Guzzetta Hall, 157 University Ave., across from E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.
Josephine Baker: The Black Pearl is the story of the fantastic life of trailblazing black performer Josephine Baker. UA Theatre Professor Susan Speers, director of last season’s UA production of The Gospel According to Tammy Faye , is the writer and director of The Black Pearl. Jack Schantz, who leads UA’s Jazz Studies Program, is the musical director.
Known as “the highest-paid chorus girl” in America in the 1920s, Josephine Baker moved to France in 1925. She achieved international fame as a performer with the Folies Bergeres, and became the toast of Parisian cabaret society. She was the first American-born woman to receive the French Croix de Guerre for her work on behalf of the French Resistance during World War II. Although she spent most of her life in Paris, she also supported the American Civil Rights movement, appearing on the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King during the March on Washington.
Tickets for Josephine Baker: The Black Pearl are $12 for general admission; $10 for seniors and UA faculty, staff and alumni; and $6 for students. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Performances are Sept. 13-15 and Sept. 20-22 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 16 at 2 p.m.