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Mahalia: A Gospel Musical

New Stage Theatre presents Mahalia: A Gospel Musical, February 26-March 10, 2013.


Showcasing several great gospel numbers, Mahalia is a joyous celebration of the life and music of the world’s greatest gospel singer: a humble, deeply religious woman whose expressive, full throated voice carried her from a three room shanty in New Orleans to appearances before presidents and royalty. The joy and inspiration of her heartfelt songs provide a counterpoint to the urgent messages delivered by her friend, Martin Luther King, Jr. Standing at his side, Mahalia Jackson became the musical voice of the civil rights movement.

Director, Francine Thomas Reynolds, whose recent credits include The Great Gatsby, Lombardi, Annie, Dracula, and A Soldier’s Play, describes Mahalia as a celebration of a Gospel music legend.


“We are so pleased to be presenting this show to our audience in the Jackson area who I know will understand Mahalia is more than just a play with music.  It is a celebration of the life and the work of the gospel warrior Mahalia Jackson.” Reynolds shared. “Also, a special treat and surprise for our audiences will be the guest appearances in the show of a variety of local gospel choirs throughout the run of the show.”

Mahalia chronicles Mahalia Jackson’s journey from “grandchild of plantation slaves” to “the voice of the civil rights movement”. Jackson rose from humble roots in New Orleans’ Black Pearl neighborhood to become the preeminent gospel singer of her day, captivating the nation and audiences worldwide with her distinctive voice and effervescent delivery. She is known for recordings such as “Elijah Rock,” “Precious Lord” and “We Shall Overcome.” She was also a close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and an important figure in the civil rights movement. She famously performed at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy as well as at King’s funeral. “A voice like hers comes along once in a millennium,” King once said of the beloved singer.

The cast will feature an actress actually named Mahalia Jackson as Mahalia Jackson (Lithonia, GA). Joining her will be Harlan Zackery, Jr. (Clinton), Sharon Miles (Hattiesburg), William Brown (Jackson), Ashia Kendrick (Gulfport), and Quintin Lewis (Birmingham, AL).

Preview night is Tuesday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m.  Curtain times and dates for all other performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.  Ticket prices are $28.00 with discounts available for students, senior citizens and groups.  Student Rush tickets are also available one hour prior to each performance for $10 with valid student identification.  Tickets can be purchased at the box office, located inside the Jane Reid Petty Theatre Center, charged by phone by calling the theatre at (601) 948-3531 or ordered online at www.newstagetheatre.com.

An Actor Chat is immediately following the performances on Wednesday, February 27 and Wednesday, March 6. Mahalia: A Gospel Musical is sponsored by St. Dominic’s, First Commercial Bank, and Nissan

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