Tawawa House
Composer: Zenobia Powell Perry
Librettist: Jeannie Pool
Other Artistic Personnel: Matthew Buckman (General & Artistic Director)
Ryan Murray (Music Director)
Heike Hambley (Director)

Original Cast: Shawnette Sulker
Eric McKeever
Anthony McGlaun
Leslie Sandefur
Juan Dunn
Lawrence Craig

Premiere Date: May 02, 2014
Description: Description is not available.
Character List (Major): Fanny (sop)
Jake (bar)
Eddie (ten)
Gincy (sop)
Theo (bar)
Zeke (bar)

Bit Parts: All speaking and chorus:
Edward Drake
Amos Dresser
Levi Coffin
Catherine Coffin
3 gentlemen
Mr. Wright
Mrs. Wright
2 runaway slaves
2 bounty hunters

Reviews: Tawawa House, an opera with dialogue written by African-American composer Zenobia Powell Perry in 1984, tells the story of a real hotel and resort in Xenia Springs, Ohio that served as a stop on the Underground Railroad in the decade before the Civil War before becoming one of the first African-American colleges in the country.  The opera offers a glimpse into the lives of people who lived and worked at Tawawa House after gaining their freedom, and the people who helped them protect their freedom as the country braced for Civil War.

In collaboration with Sankofa Theater Company, Townsend Opera is presenting the world premiere of this uniquely American opera to engage the community regarding an important time in American history.  While history largely remembers that time for its conflict and disregard for basic human rights, there were people of all races who worked together and risked their lives to secure the freedom of their fellow man.  This is the story of these American heroes.

The opera highlights the challenges facing Tawawa House as political unrest throughout the nation turns attention and funding away from the enterprise of freeing slaves through the Underground Railroad, the impact that has on the future of the runaway and freed slaves working at Tawawa House, and the courageous decision by religious leaders in the region to turn Tawawa House into the first African-American college in the country, where it still remains as Wilberforce College.

The opera features a unique fusion of traditional Negro Spirituals and western classical music.  The composer wrote the spirituals as her grandfather, a slave during the time depicted in the opera, sang them to her as a child.  After completing an undergraduate degree in music, the composer received personal support and funding from Eleanor Roosevelt to study with the accomplished composer Darius Milhaud in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Length: 02:00
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: SATB
Orchestration: – – strings
3 percussion

Contact: Jeannie Pool
Address: P.O. Box 8144
La Crescenta, CA 91224
E-mail Address: jaygaylemusic@yahoo.com
Phone: (818)606-5743
Composer Web Site: http://www.zenobiapowellperry.org/
Librettist Web Site: http://jeanniepool.org
Publisher Web Site: http://jeanniepool.org
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