Harlem Renaissance Writer Zora Neale Hurston Focus of One-Woman Show at City Tech, May 3-5

April 17, 2012 | New York City College of Technology

Brooklyn, NY — The life and times of of Zora Neale Hurston, one of the most gifted and prolific writers of the Harlem Renaissance, will be portrayed in a one-woman show, “Zora Returns to Harlem,” at New York City College of Technology (City Tech), Voorhees Theatre, 186 Jay Street, Downtown Brooklyn. The five performances will take place Thursday, May, 3 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Friday, May 4, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Saturday, May 5, 2 p.m. Admission is free and the show is appropriate for individuals 12 years old and over. To reserve tickets, go to www.theatreworks.org and click on “get tickets.” For more info, call 718.260.8855.

“Zora” stars NAACP Award Winner Antonia Badón playing 15 different characters in the course of the one-hour-and-20-minute show, which was written by AUDELCO Award Winner Laurence Holder and directed by Greg Freelon. Her 15 wardrobe changes and the 15 music transitions help tell the story of a small-town southern girl with a thirst for education who rose to fame as a writer and pioneer of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement of the 1920s and 30s that was a precursor of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Hurston made her way to New York in 1925 at the age of 31 with just $1.50 to her name and “no job, no friends and a lot of hope,” as Badón recounts in the play. Hurston went on to attend Barnard College (the college’s only black student at the time) and Columbia University, and rose to fame as an author, American folklorist and anthropologist, conducting research in the Caribbean, American South, Jamaica and Haiti (with support from the Guggenheim Foundation) and Honduras, among other places.

She died in poverty in 1960 and was buried in an unmarked grave. A 1975 article, “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston,” written by author Alice Walker and published in Ms. Magazine, revived interest in Hurston’s work. She became a household literary name after the 1978 reissue of her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, originally published in 1937.

City Tech’s Department of Entertainment Technology acknowledged Badón’s tour-de-force performance by giving her one of the 2012 Voorhees Theatre Residency Awards. She is working with the College’s entertainment technology students and faculty to realize production values and incorporate technology unavailable in most other venues. Voorhees Theatre has a reputation for fostering experimental collaborations between art and technology.

“We at City Tech look forward to seeing ‘Zora’ come alive with a new set that we are building and are excited to have this powerful show here for five performances,” said City Tech Assistant Professor/Production Manager Susan Brandt.

New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest public college of technology in New York State. Located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, the College enrolls more than 16,000 students in 62 baccalaureate, associate and specialized certificate programs. An additional 16,000 students annually enroll in continuing education and workforce development programs.