Black Pearl Sings! at the Ensemble Theatre

I had the oppportunty to watch the performance Black Pearl Sings! at the Ensemble Theatre on opening night. I honestly didn’t know anything about the play before attending the show. I am now a fan after watching this powerful story of two woman whose lives cross paths in an unlikely way.

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(Cincinnati, OH) An unlikely and controversial pair unites over their passion for music as Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati continues its 2012-2013 season with the regional premiere of Black Pearl Sings!. Written by Frank Higgins, the play tells the soulful story of a musicologist’s endeavor to preserve traditional spiritual songs and the cultural experiences of an African-American inmate seeking freedom. Inspired by the real-life story of folklorist John Lomax and musician Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, Black Pearl Sings! plays March 13-31, 2013 and is directed by D. Lynn Meyers. LPK is Premiere Sponsor.


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(displayed  from left to right) Cast members: Alberta ‘Pearl’ Johnson: Torie Wiggins *Susannah Mullally: Annie Fitzpatrick

Set during the Great Depression, Susannah, an academic and song collector for the Library of Congress, travels the country, recording lost traditional songs. Hoping to find the one song that will bring her long-awaited recognition, she discovers Pearl Johnson in a Texas prison. With a silky, soulful voice and a wealth of African-American spiritual songs, Pearl seeks information along with a chance at freedom and at finding her lost daughter. The two women soon find themselves walking a delicate line between exposure and exploitation. Featuring beautiful a cappella renditions of African-American folk songs, this moving drama chronicles a powerful story about being a woman in a man’s world, being black in a white world, and fighting for one’s soul in a world where anyone can be a commodity.

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I was amazed at the actors ability to really have you believing that they were the characters that they were portraying. The weight of the entire play was held on these two woman’s shoulders and they carried the weight with ease.

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The theatre holds around 200 people which gives the audience a really intimate setting. I really enjoyed the story and insight into what the culture was like for the characters during that time period.


Black Pearl Sings!, by Frank Higgins, will be at the Ensemble Theatre from March 13-31, 2013

Times: Tues-Thurs at 7:30 pm; Fri & Sat at 8:00 pm; Sat & Sun at 2:00 pm

Tickets: $38-$42

The Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is located at 1127 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202


All discounts subject to seating and availability at time of purchase.

Half-Price Rush Tickets: All remaining tickets for the current day’s performance(s) are available two hours prior to each showtime for half-price (discount does not apply to senior or children’s tickets) when purchasing by phone or in person. $15 Student Rush Tickets: Students may purchase up to two $15 student rush tickets two hours prior to show time with valid student I.D. Available in person only.

AAA, ArtsWave Fun Card, Cincinnati Public Radio Perks Card, Military/Educator and ETA discounts available. Group discounts available for 10+. Complete details available at

**Images courtesy of the Ensemble Theatre



Disclosure: I recieved complimentary admission for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


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