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UMPI students share heritage in revue

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — In honor of Black History Month and as a special Valentine’s Day treat, University of Maine at Presque Isle students Lassana and Lossene Dorleh will present an original revue, “The Cotton Club: A Journey through the Harlem Renaissance,” on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Auditorium in Wieden Hall.

The show is free and open to the public, though donations will be accepted at the door.

The Dorleh twins explained that they wanted to share their heritage and history with the community by hosting an evening of music and dancing during Black History Month in February. The Cotton Club of the 1920s and ’30s was a famed New York City nightclub that, despite being a whites-only establishment, featured many top black entertainers of the time, from Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington to Billie Holiday and Lena Horne.

During their revue, the two will take audience members on a journey through the Harlem Renaissance, spotlighting the music scene in the 1930s fused with the music of today, as well as some of the singers, musicians and performers inspired by those artists. The Dorlehs have put together several numbers that honor black artists such as Duke Ellington, James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, Anita Baker, Richard Wright, Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers.

The Dorlehs are English majors with theater and performance in their blood — in addition to the playwriting and screenwriting they’ve done since they were kids, they’re involved in several campus clubs, including the UMPI A Cappella Group, Slam Poetry Club and University Players.

“This show will be like nothing you’ve ever seen—the heart of the Harlem Renaissance will be displayed on stage Feb. 14,” Lassana Dorleh said. “Don’t miss the toe tapping, high kicks and splits in this one-of-a-kind tribute.”

For more information about this event, please contact UMPI’s Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452 or umpi@maine.edu.

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