World Premiere of (gravity + grace) Set for September 25 and 26 at Hillman Theater for Performing Arts at Shadyside Academy

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(gravity + grace), was created by Pittsburgh artist Frank Ferraro who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) at the age of 42. It is a stage-based work that contains dance, original musical score, video and performance that he describes as a contemporary opera.

The world premiere of (gravity + grace) is scheduled for September 25 and 26 at the Hillman Theater for Performing Arts, Richard E. Rauh Theater, at Shadyside Academy. Show times are Friday, 8 p.m; Saturday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $12.50 for students with I.D. Special ticket packages available. Purchase by calling 412-365-2086, online at http://www.pfwpa.org or at the door.

(gravity + grace), was created by Pittsburgh artist Frank Ferraro who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) at the age of 42. It is a stage-based work that contains dance, original musical score, video and performance that he describes as a contemporary opera.

"Although this is not your classical opera work, it contains the elements and the grand scale of an operatic work," said Frank. "I created it to resonant not only with those struggling with PD, but also with those facing any other diversity." Frank found himself unable to work in his traditional media of sculpture and painting and was forced to shut down his art studio and experiment with other forms of artistic expression. Frank began to keep a journal of how this disease affected his ability to live, work and create. He contacted the Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania to reach out to others with PD.

PD has had a profound impact on Frank's life and inspired him to develop this project, which combines his personal journey through the disease as well as stories told to him by others. "I found it to be a creative challenge to manifest these stories into a theatrical performance while battling the very disease that has become an unwanted passenger," Frank explained.
The title, (gravity + grace), emphasizes the complex equation of maintaining dignity in the face of public perception against physical forces of invisible weight and the race against time. These concepts are presented in a three act, 60-minute performance of dance, monologue, music and video. Each act is broken into a series of scenes that expresses the events those with PD confront daily.

(gravity + grace) is directed by Frank Ferraro's long time collaborator and 35-year veteran of the stage, Stephen Pellegrino. In addition to directing, Stephen scored the music for the production, which will be performed live by members of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, The Renaissance City Choir, The Businessmen brass section, as well as several individual musicians who are taking part in this event.

(gravity + grace) is scheduled to be performed in major cities in the northeast and Midwest in the coming months. All net proceeds benefit the Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania.

About Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania:

The Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania is a non-profit organization that provides services, support and education for those afflicted with Parkinson's disease and their families and supports medical research to discover the cause and cure. For information, visit http://www.pfwpa.org.

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Frank Catanzano

Maggie Schmidt

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