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u T~*ried Chicken and Latkes," Rain Pryors powerful one-woman show, was among I
l?'the standout hits of the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival. The buzz it ?
JL generated is still ringing, so much so that organizers have invited Pryor back
NBTF fans are not the only ones who have fallen head over heels for Pryor s brutally
honest style of comedy. "Fried Chicken and Latkes" has been an Off-Broadway smash
for the last 17 years. It is being presented at this years festival by NYCs Dr. Barbara Ann
Teer's National Black Theatre and is being directed by the talented Kamilah Forbes.
In the play, Pryor, the daughter of late African-American comic legend Richard Pryor
and former dancer Shelley Bonis (a white Jewish woman), offers a glimpse into the
people, experiences and events that have shaped her life by morphing into myriad
characters. The show pulls no punches. Racial stereotypes and cultural bias are
exposed via her signature wit.
"Politically correct means we don't actually want to talk about (race), but I think
politically correct should be calling a spade a spade - literally, and then lets discuss
why we are calling a spade a spade. Let's talk about that elephant in the room that is
sitting there," Pryor told The Chronicle during the '13 NBTF.
Pryor said she created the show because she was tired of Hollywood dictating her
career. She made her television debut in 1989 as T.J. on the ABC hit "Head of the
Class" and then went on to star as Jackie, the lipstick lesbian drug addict on Showtime's
"Rude Awakening." Her long list of television credits also iriclude "The Division" and
"Chicago Hope." But Pryor said casting directors have never quite known what to do
"I didn't look black enough to be black; I wasn't white enough to be white ... I don't
care that Hollywood says you have to be this. I am going to be who I am. Being who
you are works," she said.
Two years ago, Pryor said she was overjoyed to have had been invited
to present at the NBTF, especially since hers is not the typical black experience. Her
return engagement is rare, a clear sign that she left audiences wanting more.
"My story is a part of the African-American diaspora, even though I am multi-racial, I
think that is a part of who we are," the actress said.
In between performing and raising her daughter, Lotus Marie, Rain serves as
an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, making speeches at
fundraisers across the nation. Her father lived with MS for 30 years before his
death in 2005.
"For me, finding a cure is the ultimate feat. It is something I have to do," she said
of her ambassadorship.
Also, Rains new documentary, "That Daughters Crazy' is expected to be
screened as part of the NBTF Film Fest. ?
Rain Pryor onstage in her
hit one-woman show.
| Fried Chicken
I and Latkes
Reese Theatre i
in the Pavilion -
Tues, Aug. 4 8 p.m.
1 Wed, Aug. 5 3 p.m. i
Wed, Aug. 5 8 p.m.
Thurs, Aug. 6 3 p.m.
? . > J .;. V ; J
Nate Jacobs is founder and artistic director
of Sarasota, Fla.'s Westcoast Black Theatre
Troupe (WBTT), where the actor, singer,
comedian, playwright, composer and
director nas developed and produced countless nit productions, jacoos
was presenting shows, including comedies, dramas and musicals, at
venues throughout the country and world before he founded WBTT
i in 1999. His "Soul Crooners" shows have been hits in Sarasota, at the
National Black Theatre Festival and abroad in countries like Germany
? and Switzerland.
? A longtime mentor to young performers, Jacobs was honored by the ?
? NAACP Youth Council of Sarasota County with a 2012 Men of Valor ?
? honor. Earlier this year, he was recognized as a "Champion of Diversity" ?
? for the arts by the Biz(941) and La Guia magazines. ?