Department of Performing Arts

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  OLIVIA'S OPUS

written and performed by Nora Cole
directed by Imani
at
The Harry Hope Theatre
February 8, 1999 at 8pm

Nora Cole (Olivia Bradford Long) most recently appeared as the Nightclub Singer in the New York Shakespeare Festival Broadway production, ON THE TOWN. Other outstanding credits include the role of Anita opposite Gragory Hines in JELLY'S LAST JAM on Broadway and a reprise of the role opposite Maurice Hines in the national tour for which she was nominated for Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award. She was also in the Broadway company of Vinnatte Carroll's YOUR ARMS TOO SHORT TO BOX WTH GOD as Singing Mary with Patti LaBelle. Off-Broadway and regional theatre credits include THE COLORED MUSEUM and LOVE LANGSTON at the Hartford Stage Company where she was nominated for the Connecticut Critic's Award for her performance; Second Stages' THE GOOD TIMES ARE KILLING ME at the Minetta Lane Theatre; JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE, Studio Arena; AVENUE X, O'Neill Theatre Center; Elizabeth Swados' GROUNDHOG, Manhattan Theatre Club; and TAMER OF HORSES, Penquin Repertory Theatre. Additional highlights as a veteran company member of Vinnette Carroll's Urban Arts Corp and the Vinnette Carroll Repertory Company include the title role of Medea in Robinson Jeffers' MEDEA and the Broadway bound Kennedy Center production, WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER I'LL SKATE. Television appearances include The Cosby Mystery Movie; most of the New York soaps; the pilot, H.E.L.P. along with numerous commercials and radio voice overs. She has also performed for New York Public Radio's Selected Shorts series. Internationally, she reprised her role in ...BOX WITH GOD at Theatre Mogadar in Paris and THE NIGHT STRUT at Le Cabaret in Monte Carlo. She performed the role of Coretta in I HAVE A DREAM in festivals in Brighton and Birmingham, England and the 1989 National Black Theatre Festival; and has toured Norway, Japan, and Northern Italy with the Canaan Gospel Ensemble.

OLIVIA'S OPUS was first read at Second Stage and later presented at the 1993 National Black Theatre Festival, the Negro Ensemble Company, and Primary Stages' Solo Festival. OLIVIA'S OPUS was originally directed by Herman LeVern Jones.

Ms. Cole is a native of Louisville, Kentucky where she trained and performed as a child in Louisville's Stage One, Louisville Shakespeare in the Park and The Westside Players companies. She earned a B.F.A. from the Goodman School of Drama (a school of the Art Institute of Chicago), attended Beloit College and Chicago Conservatory and throughout her performing career has studied dance with Pepsi Bethel, Frank Hatchatt, and Barbara Fraser. Apart from her performing career, Ms. Cole plays the family historian. She has researched her family tree for years. She is the granddaughter of I. Willis Cole, owner, editor, and publisher of the Louisville Leader (1917-1950). In 1991, she was instrumental in his induction into the National Negro Press Association's Distinguished Gallery of Black Newspaper Publishers at Howard University and won the approval of the Kentucky Historical Society for a historical highway marker to commemorate his life's work. The marker was mounted and dedicated in September 1997. All remaining copies of the newspaper were put on microfilm by the University of Louisville Black Archives. On April 5th, 1999, I. Willis Cole will be inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Kentucky.

Article
Broadway Actress at The Harry Hope
Nora Cole, actress/dancer/singer/playwright, direct from her engagement in the New York Shakespeare Festival's Broadway production of On the Town will present her one woman multi-media show, Olivia's Opus, on Monday evening, February 8th, at 8pm in Eastern Connecticut State University's Harry Hope Theatre (located in Shafer Hall on the corner of High and Valley Streets in Willimantic).

Audiences may well remember Nora's outstanding performances last season at the Hartford Stage in Love, Langston and in her one-woman show, Olivia's Opus, which will be reprised at the Harry Hope as part of a mini-guest artist residency at ECSU. Olivia's Opus is semi-biographical in nature and to quote Nora's publicity materials:

"is a collection of remembrances of Olivia Bradford Long. It's the mid-sixties somewhere near the MasonDixon line. Olivia reflects on the excitement and trauma, the fun and the trials, and the history-making events of the time that weave in and around her life. Some touch her deeply, others barely brush her existence... and growing up is hard to do.

'Red and yellow, black or white,
Makes a difference in this life
Still a child's a child wherever in the world.'

This multi-media performance piece was created to por-tray the commonalities and peculiarities of black life in this society through the eyes of an adolescent. It sheds light on that rarely portrayed group of lowermiddle class blacks with upper-middle class tastes and limitless aspirations. 'Olivia's Opus' was conceived to acknowledge,introduce, acquaint and share this portion of black life and culture."

Admission is $8 for Students and Senior Citizens; $10 for the General Public.

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