A woman in a blue dress holds a silver bowl of berries in her lap and smiles as she sings.
Tonya Pinkins as Pearl in the Ford’s Theatre production of Black Pearl Sings! directed by Jennifer L. Nelson. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Black Pearl Sings!

date September 25, 2009 — October 28, 2009

Susannah, a song collector for the Library of Congress, travels the country seeking little-known melodies. When she encounters Pearl in a Texas prison, she discovers dozens of musical treasures rooted in the African tradition. Pearl must decide whether to give away her ancestors’ songs for a chance at her own freedom. Music unites strangers in a powerful story that illuminates America’s racial divisions and the attempts of two women to bridge them. Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins makes her Ford’s Theatre debut in the title role with Erika Rolfsrud as Susannah.  Jennifer L. Nelson returns to direct for the first time since her critically acclaimed production of Jitney.


Silhouette of a human head on black.

Tonya Pinkins

Alberta ‘Pearl’ Johnson

Silhouette of a human head on black.

Erika Rolfsrud

Susannah Mullally

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