Theater: ‘For Colored Girls ‘ celebrates diversity

Ntozake Shange’s seminal “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” is her first, and still best-known work. Shange first performed it with four other women in a small bar in Berkeley, Calif., in 1974. By 1976 it was on Broadway, where it ran for nearly two years and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Celebrating the power of reclaiming one’s voice, the seminal work’s influence is everywhere. One has to look no further than to Basement Poetry, the company producing “For Colored Girls…” at the Ice House in Bethlehem Friday and Saturday.

The company was born of six friends from Northampton Community College who wanted their voices to be heard and grew into a performance art group focusing on slam poetry and movement theater. Dedicated to creating a courageous and safe place to share stories through art, the group presents productions that speak about the silenced voices of their community — women, people of color, mentally ill, LGBTQ and every other marginalized group.

A stated inspiration for the work they do, “For Colored Girls…” is a natural fit as Basement Poetry’s first-ever scripted production.

•”The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,” Tuesdays-Sundays, through June 4, Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. Tickets: $15-$62. 215-985-0420,

Daniel Friedman is a freelance writer.

Jodi Duckett, editor


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