Seven-year-old Christine Marie was sitting in her father’s diner. Lauree, a waitress at the diner was teaching her how to sing pop songs off the radio. “It was my first singing experience,” the girl said.
She was singing when the waitress’s boyfriend brought Christine a VHS tape of James Lapine’s “Into The Woods”.
That was her first taste of Broadway. From then on the young girl became obsessed with musicals and plays. “Grease” and Olivia John Newton filled her everlasting dreams to become a star.
Now the “young girl” is 28, and she is taking the Pittsburgh Cultural District by storm, one performance at a time. She recently participated in the Pittsburgh Playwright’s Theater Festival in Black and White.
This festival is in place to stop the ubiquitous racial lines in the theater, especially in Pittsburgh. It has been running for about 12 years with the same premises: Half the plays are written by black playwrights and directed by white directors and vice-versa.
A theater in Pittsburgh that’s mission is to bring people of all races together is the August Wilson Center. This theater seats about 472 people and is used for all types of activities such as classes, performances, and community activities.
August Wilson was an African American playwright who was born in Pittsburgh. He died in 2005, shortly after the center was built according to biographies.com.
James Hill, the mayor’s assistant said, “Diversity built this city. The steel workers were immigrants from other countries. After the steel industry collapsed, the arts were really what saved us.”
Marie was voted and won best director for her production in the festival.
She said, “Gathering people from all backgrounds and races to create something and give it life was amazing. If you take the time to listen to your staff, cast, and crew, you will create diversity organically.”