YSU hosts Core Ensemble performance

The Core Ensemble will stage “Ain’t I a Woman!” on March 16 at Youngstown State University.

The chamber musical theater performance celebrates the life and times of novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, ex-slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth, folk artist Clementine Hunter and civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer.

The musical score is drawn from the spirituals and blues of the Deep South, the urban vitality of the Jazz Age and contemporary concert music by African Americans.

Shayla Simmons portrays multiple characters in the performance. Simmons’ stage credits include “The Color Purple,” “Dreamgirls,” “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “The Wiz” and the national tour of “Winnie the Pooh.” She is a recipient of the NAACP Best Actress Regional Award and the Women of Power Certificate of Achievement in Acting, Singing, Writing, Producing and Directing.

Since its start in 1993, the Core Ensemble has toured in every region of the United States and internationally to Australia, England, Russia, Ukraine and the British Virgin Islands. The Core Ensemble has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, The Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

“Ain’t I a Woman!” will be staged at 8 p.m. March 16 at Bliss Hall’s Ford Theater. Admission is free, but tickets must be secured by Monday by calling the University Theatre box office at 330-941-3105 or online at www.ysu.tix.com.