Series to bring Tony winner to WKU


Award-winning author, playwright and poet Ntozake Shange will visit WKU on April 9.

Shange’s presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Van Meter Hall and is free to students, faculty and the Bowling Green community as a part of the Cultural Enhancement Series sponsored by the Potter College of Arts and Letters.

Shange is best known for her Tony-award-winning play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” which led to its 2010 film adaptation, “For Colored Girls,” starring Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson and Anika Noni Rose.

Mina Doerner, assistant to the dean of Potter College and coordinator for the Cultural Enhancement Series, said Shange is “bringing a performance aspect” to her presentation, something Doerner said is very unique for students to experience.

“Ms. Shange will be very different from usual speakers,” Doerner said. “It’s going to be something more than just listening to her talk about how she wrote the play. She’ll be performing her works and bringing them to life.”

Jane Olmsted, director of Gender and Women’s Studies, and her department are cosponsoring Shange’s presentation and an additional roundtable discussion with the author.

“Shange is a fabulous poet and writer, and the fact that her book was made into a movie made it so timely,” Olmsted said in a March 14 interview with the Herald.

“It’s always good to be inspired by people who’ve done great things and to put them on a personal level,” Olmsted said.

According to the Cultural Enhancement homepage, Shange’s presentation is open to the public, and “seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.” However, the roundtable discussion with the author requires an invitation, Doerner said.

Shange is the final speaker in Potter College’s 2011-2012 Cultural Enhancement Series. Previously this year, the series has featured National Public Radio contributor James Fallows and ice cream tycoon Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s.

Doerner said she can’t encourage students enough to take advantage of Shange’s visit to WKU.

“How often do you see someone so widely recognized for free?” Doerner asked. “Any opportunity students have to broaden their horizons, I think they should take.”