Entertainment

‘Many Thousands Gone’ more than a stage play

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Although the month is a little shorter than the rest of them and Valentine's Day takes a lot of the attention during the month of February, it's still African American History Month. And there's still a lot to get out of it...even in 2013.

African American History Month is much more than just hearing that famous speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made right here in Memphis. It's much more than Rosa Parks not giving up her seat on the bus. There were many years of history even before then. As African Americans, our history in this country began with "slavery."

"Many Thousands Gone," the critically acclaimed stage play returns for African American History Month on next weekend. The play shines the spotlight on the life of the Negro slave, telling the story of strength in adversity and hope for freedom.

Produced and directed by Pastor Dwayne Hunt, it combines a stirring score of Negro spirituals with declamation and dance to offer an accurate depiction of the day-to-day struggles to adapt and survive on Southern slave plantations.

"We started the production in 1990 as a choir musical for Black History Month and it has evolved into what it is today", said Hunt, who is also senior pastor of Abundant Grace Fellowship Church.

"Although it takes place in a church, it's a 'theatrical production' rather than a "church event."

"Many Thousands Gone" has inspired many outside of the city as well those who have see it in states such as Missouri and Illinois. While entertaining, the play is also educational and has also made its way into Academia.

"We have performed the play at various schools and universities. Some schools have even made it a part of their curriculum" said Hunt.

"Many Thousands Gone" runs for multiple shows on Friday, Feb. 22, through Sunday, Feb. 24, at Abundant Grace Fellowship located at 1574 E. Shelby Drive. You can purchase tickets at Abundant Grace or Fellowship or online at www.ManyThousandGone.org or you may call (901) 789-GRACE (4722). Discount tickets are available for groups of 12 or more.

Bobby Rush at Chowtime

With a nod to American History Month, the legendary Bobby Rush will reveal his remarkable life story through his music during a special event at Chowtime, located at 4207 Hacks Cross Road, on Feb. 22nd. The evening begins at 9:30. Tickets are $45 for reserved seating and $35 general admission. Food is included with ticket price and there will be an open bar. And if you book a table, you get a picture with Bobby himself!

Zane to Memphis

Author Zane will be in the city this weekend for the grand opening of the Book Lovers Lounge. While she goes by one name, Zane has her hand in myriad ventures, including novels, her Cinemax television show, "The Sex Chronicles," as well her publishing company, which she uses to release the works of other writers.

The event is a book signing and a meet & greet. The Book Lovers Lounge is located at 4780 Riverdale, Suite 8, and the event takes place on Feb. 16 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Let's Talk About Love

Here's a last minute Valentine's Day idea. "Let's Talk About Love" is a night of food, fun and fellowship with a focus on open, candid, thought provoking conversation between the sexes. Check it out Valentine's Day from 7 p.m. until midnight at the Memphis Central Train Station located at 545 South Main Street. Hosted by Comedian TIMBO. Admission: $20/ person, $30/couple.

And as your Valentine's Day continues, don't forget to make plans to see Will Downing and Lalah Hathaway at the Cannon Center this Sunday (Feb. 17). Get your tickets through Ticketmaster and the Cannon Center Box Office.

Parting shot

Next week, I'll get you ready for The Black Expo that weekend, as well as the Will and Lalah concert. Until then, that's what's Happening!

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