Race Relations, Reinvented: “The Bold and the Sanctified®” Storms the Stage Sep. 24 at Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater

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Filled with drama, laughs and music, The Bold and the Sanctified takes a no-holds-barred look at what happens when a small black church and small white church are financially obligated to combine congregations. The play storms the stage at Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on September 24 at 8pm – for tickets call 412-456-6666.

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When you take two different cultures, shove them in a building together and don’t let them leave, it’s bound to be a beautiful mess!

Start with a combustible and polarizing mix of racial conflict, anger, anxiety and tension. Add a small black church and small white church; both of which are struggling with a serious cash crunch. And then thrust them together through a force that is even more potent than deep-seated bigotry -- sheer necessity -- and let events unfold in their profound, dramatic and surprisingly hilarious ways. That’s the unique backdrop for “The Bold and the Sanctified,” an unforgettable play that will storm the stage at Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on September 24 at 8pm.

Returning after a sell-out performance in 2011, broadcast as a hit radio soap opera in more than 30 markets across the country, and featuring singer and American Idol season two winner Ruben Studdard, The Bold and the Sanctified takes a raw, no-holds-barred look behind the scenes at what happens when a small black church and small white church are financially obligated to combine congregations.

As can be expected, everything and everyone – from the choir, to the pulpit, and even the usher board -- is disturbed by the inconceivable union in what is arguably the world’s most complex organization: the church. But what isn’t expected – and where The Bold and the Sanctified truly and courageously elevates -- is in how each character struggles with issues related to race, compromise, community, love, betrayal and survival, and ultimately strives to answer the big, booming question: “Can we actually make this work?”

Obviously, and especially in light of recent violent outbursts in cities across the country, the subject matter for The Bold and the Sanctified is serious and severe. As such, there are plenty of teeth-gnashing, fist-clenching, and “did I really just hear that?” moments. Wonderfully however, there’s also an abundance of laughter, joy, singing, and uplifting twists and turns that will have audiences laughing until it hurts, clapping and stomping in rhythm, and standing up to cheer.

“I always hear people say the church is silent on issues of race,” commented The Bold and the Sanctified’s writer and producer Sheri Lynn Johnson. “I don’t believe that’s true. I think we speak volumes. With our congregations and segregated music, we’re screaming loud and clear that we don't consider this to be an important issue, so don’t look to us for answers. What a terrible message for believers in Jesus to send.”

Continued Johnson, who also co-hosts and produces The Brant Hansen Show, “When we talk about race on the show, the number one issue that listeners want to deal with is how unity should work, and what it could look like. Those concepts are explored and brought to life in The Bold and the Sanctified -- and just like real life, the outcome isn’t a forgone conclusion, and the people are completely human and authentic. After all, when you take two different cultures, shove them in a building together and don’t let them leave, it’s bound to be a beautiful mess!”

As noted, The Bold and the Sanctified takes the stage at Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on September 24 at 8pm. For tickets call 412-456-6666. As in 2011, another sell-out is expected, and those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase tickets now to avoid disappointment. For additional information visit http://www.boldandsanctified.net.

For Byham Theater details including directions visit https://trustarts.org/pct_home/visit/facilities/byham/.

For interview requests and media inquiries, contact Sherri Lynn Johnson at sherri(at)branthansen(dot)com or (724) 826-1568.

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