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RED BANK: ‘BUTTERFLY’ ALIGHTS AT BASIE

lorraine-stone-yetta-young-8497902Lorraine Stone, left, as Sojourner Truth, is among the cast members in Dunbar Rep’s ‘Butterfly Confessions,’ a play by Yetta Young (right) that returning to the Count Basie Theatre. 

It’s been described as “a love letter to women of color,” one that “reveals heartfelt emotions about intimacy, sexual responsibility and overcoming adversity.” Credited to author and producer Yetta Young — but acknowledged by her as a collaborative effort that features the input of some dozen different women — the intimate theatrical experience entitled Butterfly Confessions has spread its wings and its message to communities from coast to coast, including audiences right here in Red Bank who enjoyed it for the first time in the spring of 2016.

The presentation at the second-floor “Studio 99” rehearsal space of the Count Basie Theatre was a production of Dunbar Repertory Company — and beginning this Friday, the grass-roots troupe (founded by educator Darrell Lawrence Willis Sr. as a vehicle for presenting new and classic works with African American themes) returns topside Basie’s place for a two-weekend stand.

Running a total of six performances through October 22, the presentation under the direction of Willis (who’s served as a member of the Basie organization’s board) and longtime lieutenant Mark Antonio Henderson marks Dunbar Rep’s third visit to the play that “blends humor and heartbreak with education, empowerment and inspiration while bringing awareness to domestic violence and HIV/AIDS.” The crowd-pleasing 2016 engagement was followed by a special encore presentation at the Bates Lodge Elks Club on Shrewsbury Avenue.

A cast of Dunbar stock company regulars — including Renee Bordonada, Tracie Johnson-Ashe, Rochelle Miller, Latimah Naylor, Danielle Richards, and actor-writer-dancer-storyteller Lorraine “the Wisdomkeeper” Stone — brings the “confessions” of the play’s multiple narrators to life, with performances at 8 p.m. on October 13, 14, 20 and 21, with 4 p.m. Sunday matinees on October 15 and 22.

Reserve tickets ($20 all seats) by phone at (732)995-4616 — and take it here for reservations to Dunbar’s big production of Black Nativity, the Langston Hughes perennial that’s scheduled to make its bi-annual return to the Count’s mainstage on December 30.

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