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‘For Colored Girls’ at McPherson College Gives Attention to Frequently Unheard American Voices

With a title like “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf,” the upcoming play at McPherson College will clearly be anything but “easy.”

Jd. Bowman, associate professor of theatre, said challenging audiences was one of his most important reasons for selecting the landmark play by Tony Award-winning playwright Ntozake Shange.

“My hope is that members of our campus community and our audience discover the beauty of this piece,” he said.

The 1975 play will be showing at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2-4 in the college’s Mingenback Theatre. Reservations are required by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or at

Bowman said that the play consists of a series of inter-connected storytelling poems told by women who are identified only by the color of the rainbow they are dressed in.

It provides a glimpse into what it meant to be an African-American in the United States in the 1970s, but has grown to reflect many voices in America that are silent or unspoken.

Even though most of the local audience is Caucasian, Bowman said that just makes this play’s message even more important.

“That is all the more reason why this piece should be produced here – because we need to hear voices and stories that are different than our own,” he said. “When we look into a social mirror, we do best if that reflection is not what we expect.”

However, Bowman expects people in minority and majority populations alike to find connection to the play.

“One of my favorite poems starts with, ‘Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff,’” Bowman said. “In the poem, a woman is realizing that gave so much of herself to a relationship that she almost let them run away with her identity. I can relate to that story and many more in this piece.”

Tickets to all shows cost $5 for adults and $3.50 for children ages high school and younger as well as seniors.

Cast for the show is: Whitney Murray, junior, Kansas City, Kan.; Nora Grosbach, junior, Evergreen, Colo.; Aysia Pryor, sophomore, Wichita, Kan.; Miaya Sample, freshman, Baytown, Texas; and guest alumna artists – Tracey Hughes ’91, Kansas City, Mo.; Colleen Gustafson ’06, McPherson, Kan.; and Kenyatta Harden ’13, McPherson, Kan.

Crew for the show includes: Elizabeth Thornton, freshman, Karval, Colo. (stage manager); Erin Fralick, junior, New Palestine, Ind. (lights); and Nancy Dorrell, freshman, Newton, Kan. (sound).