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Tony and Emmy Award-Winner Talks of Life and Love – From Hollywood to Broadway

In celebration of Pasadena Playhouse 2008-2009 season theme, “Women: The Heart and Soul of Theatre,” the Community Outreach Program invites the community to enjoy a candid and lively conversation with Tony and Emmy Award-winner Leslie Uggams for the inaugural 2009 CONVERSATION WITH…series on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. 

The highly anticipated evening offers an intimate glimpse into Uggams’ extraordinary life – both onstage and off.  Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps will moderate. Uggams portrays the legendary icon Lena Horne in  Pasadena Playhouse’s current production of Sharleen Cooper Cohen’s Stormy Weather (which runs through March 1). 

Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on the Pasadena Playhouse courtyard with a trio from the critically acclaimed Lady Concert™ Series (Instrumental Women’s Project - IWP), now in its tenth year.  IWP is a Pasadena-based non-profit jazz arts agency that produces the only known annual showcase in the country featuring an all female line-up of accomplished jazz musicians.  This first IWP performance of 2009 is co-sponsored by the UCLA Community Partnership Program and IWP’s Board of Regents. 

Leslie Uggams, who plays the legendary Lena Horne, was last seen on the Pasadena Playhouse stage in Blue.  She recently starred in First Breeze of Summer at the acclaimed Off-Broadway Signature Theater, for which she received the Audelco Award for leading actress for her portrayal of Gremmar Edwards. 

Ms. Uggams’s Broadway appearances have included starring alongside James Earl Jones in On Golden Pond and co-starring in the Broadway hit Thoroughly Modern Millie.  In 2001, her Broadway portrayal of Ruby in August Wilson’s King Hedley II was nominated for a Tony Award.

It was Leslie’s Broadway debut as the lead in Hallelujah, Baby!, which earned Leslie the 1968 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Broadway Musical Comedy. She followed that with a starring role in her next Broadway show, Her First Roman, opposite Richard Kiley.

In 1970, she had her own musical variety television series on CBS-TV, The Leslie Uggams Show, and signed a new recording contract with Atlantic Records. In 1972, she made her dramatic film debut opposite Charlton Heston in the MGM film Skyjacked, followed by Black Girl, the acclaimed film directed by Ossie Davis. However, it was Leslie’s portrayal of “Kizzy” in the most watched dramatic show in TV history, Alex Haley’s Roots, which won her worldwide recognition as a dramatic actress – including the Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1978, an Emmy Award nomination for Best Leading Actress and a coveted Golden Globe nomination form the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Previous CONVERSATION WITH  guests have included Academy Award nominee and legendary actor/activist Ruby Dee, Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin, esteemed actors Michael York, Carol Lawrence, Grammy Award winners Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., and the late Gregory Hines. 

General admission tickets for CONVERSATION WITH… main stage event are $10 ($5 for students with valid I.D.) and can be purchased at the box office (39 S. El Molino Avenue), by phone 626-356-PLAY, or online www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

Category: Theater


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