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5th Annual Blacks in Wax to Premiere at The Kennedy Center

Monday, January 31, 2011
Recreation Wish List Committee to host celebration in honor of Black History Month

On Saturday, February 12, 2011, the Recreation Wish List Committee will host the 5th Annual Blacks in Wax celebration in honor of Black History Month. After years of critical acclaim this year’s event, themed "From Surviving to Thriving", is reaching new heights, with a premiere of select characters lining the Hall of States at the world-renowned John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at 5:00pm.

DPR Contact: John Stokes, (202) 288-7275

WASHINGTON, DC –  On Saturday, February 12, 2011, the Recreation Wish List Committee will host the 5th Annual Blacks in Wax celebration in honor of Black History Month.  After years of critical acclaim this year’s event, themed “From Surviving to Thriving”, is reaching new heights, with a premiere of select characters lining the Hall of States at the world-renowned John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at 5:00pm.  In addition, full performances and a new vignette will take place on Friday, February 25, 2011 at the Blacks in Wax home site, the Southeast Tennis & Learning Center (SETLC), 701 Mississippi Avenue, SE.  The free performances include an early matinee exhibition exclusive to area schools at 1:00pm and an evening performance at 7:00pm.

The celebrated, must-see production, sponsored by the Recreation Wish List Committee in partnership with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and executive produced this year by Reggie Van Lee, Chair of the Washington Performing Arts Society, features youth from the SETLC transforming from a “wax replica” of iconic, historical characters to a live portrayal of these notable, ingenious entertainers, writers, athletes, and inspirational leaders.  Blacks in Wax includes portrayals of over 50 influential figures from Black History, perfected and brought to life through preparation from youth, parents and staff. Famous African Americans portrayed include Madame CJ Walker, Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Maya Angelou, the Supremes, Venus and Serena Williams and President Barack Obama. Background research is conducted in order to educate visitors young and old on the importance of Black History.

DPR Director Jesus Aquirre says, “It is amazing to see the production value of Blacks in Wax and witness the hard work of the SETLC youth scholars, parents and staff. DPR is pleased that such events as this can inspire children, youth and adults of all ages. As a testament to its high quality presentation that instills values in an entertaining fashion, the event continues to grow in popularity each year.”

Recreation Wish List Committee founder Cora Masters Barry states, “The Blacks in Wax event has received overwhelming national recognition and this year will be the best production to date. The event clearly demonstrates how the connection is made across generations and it also empowers the youth and builds self esteem in a new and creative way.  In addition to learning critical thinking skills, the Blacks in Wax event provides youth and audience members with an opportunity to learn how the African American figures they read about and see on the television fit into a bigger, global context of Black history.”

The Blacks in Wax museum premier will take place at 5:00pm in the Hall of States at the John F. Kennedy Center. At 6:00pm on the Millennium Stage, the SETLC youth scholars, in partnership with the Washington Performing Arts Society, will have a cameo appearance with the award-winning a cappella group, Reverb, as they span African American history through song and moving portrayals of noteworthy African Americans.

The full performances at the SETLC will also include a vignette celebrating the economic accomplishments and contributions of African Americans, past and present, in an original production inspired by Dr. Julianne Malveaux’s new work, Surviving and Thriving. It will highlight African Americans from those that bought their own freedom from slavery to self-made entrepreneurs and trailblazing leaders of today. There will also be surprise guest appearances and performances.

For more information, contact the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, (202) 645-6242 or the Recreation Wish List Committee, (202)678-7530