‘From Free To Freedom’ At PPAC

(6.19) This year’s presentation of “From Free to Freedom: A Juneteenth Celebration” has been moved to 7pm, but it will still feature great music, backed up by the Mighty Wurlitzer, and once again it is free and open to the public. Mixed Magic Theatre, RI Black Storytellers, and Juneteenth RI have crafted a play with music, dance and storytelling that celebrates Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of 300 years of the enslavement of African people in America.

Written and directed by Ricardo Pitts-Wiley of Pawtucket’s Mixed Magic Theatre, “From Free to Freedom” takes the audience on the journey of a people torn from the lives of family, friends, and traditions in their homelands, through the horrors of bondage, to freedom, accompanied by PPAC’s rare and historic Mighty Wurlitzer as brought to life by PPAC’s House Organist Peter Edwin Krasinski, and narrated by Jomo Peters and Bernadet V. Pitts-Wiley, with a special appearance by Valerie Tutson of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers.

The show’s musical director Kim Pitts-Wiley, in collaboration with veteran Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, directs some of Rhode Island’s finest singers and actors, including Joyce Brayboy, Jeannie Carson, Matt Fraza, Autumn Jefferson, Donna Osborne, Corinne Pitts-Wiley, Habibah Quddus, Ondrea Robinson, Lauri Smalls, Kim Trusty, Aaliyah Turner, Diane Straker, Denyse Wilhelm and Gia Yarn.  

Last year’s production was both moving and thrilling. (There was a female soloist, whose name I did not get, who was fabulous.) Whether this new show has been slightly tweaked or completely reimagined (it would appear to be longer) it does not matter — just go.

Free, Juneteeth presentation, 7pm to 9pm, Wednesday, June 19, PPAC, 220 Weybosset Street, (directions)

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Juneteenth RI has a food event planned for earlier in the day on Wednesday at Farm Fresh, as well as a festival starting at noon on Saturday in District Park.

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