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Lillias White to bring free Cabaret show to Smoot

PARKERSBURG — Broadway star and Tony Award winner Lillias White will be the headliner and guest lecturer at the 2019 National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students on Friday and Saturday sponsored by West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

In addition to her lecture, White will give a Cabaret performance at the Smoot Theatre in downtown Parkersburg. Both events are free and open to the public.

The Cabaret performance will be Friday at 7 p.m. The lecture, “Move Mountains: Rising Up with Lillias White,” will take place at the Smoot on Saturday at 11 a.m.

White is a Brooklyn native and made her Broadway debut in “Barnum” in 1981. She also played Effie in the 1987 revival of “Dreamgirls,” for which she won the Drama League Award for Best Actress in a Musical. For her role as Sonja in Cy Coleman’s “The Life,” she won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

White has done voiceover work in Disney’s “Hercules” and “Anastasia.”

“We want only the very best for our students and our community, and Lillias White represents the very best of the American stage,” said Chris Gilmer, president of WVU-P. “The National Institutes is ultimately about ensuring equity and promoting opportunity, and we are thrilled with the quality and the dedication of the guests who will be joining us in Parkersburg.”

The Think Tank 2019 theme, “Rise Up,” includes two full days of activities at WVU-P. The delegates of the National Institutes will represent 15 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to White, other distinguished guests are expected to include Aaron Abeyta, National Book Award winner; Stacee Reicherzer, transgendered author and motivational speaker; Sarah Armstrong Tucker, chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System; Carmen Walters, president of Tougaloo College; Patrick Saxon, president-elect of the National Organization for Student Success, and Lonie Haynes, vice president of diversity and inclusion, Highmark Health.

The public is welcome to attend the “Rise Up” opening session Friday from 9-10:30 p.m. in the WVU P college theater. The Parkersburg High School A Cappella Choir, poet Aaron Abeyta and other National Institutes guests are set to take part in the session.

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