Youth About Business Community Theatre presents Purlie Victorious

Cast members of the Youth About Business (YAB) stage production Purlie. (photo by D. Culp)

Cast members of the Youth About Business (YAB) stage production Purlie. (photo by D. Culp)

Once again the North Nashville-based Manna From Heaven Dinner House venue was transformed to accommodate the best in community theatre. Youth About Business (YAB) is considered an icon in its own right for their legacy of hard work by tithing and pouring greatness into one of Nashville’s most vital resources, their youth.

YAB is a youth program that has played a key part in structuring and changing the course of many lives for the greater good. One young person at a time, the YAB program has enabled both Nashville and other youth nationwide to learn the back operations and overall process of how business works. Youth entering the YAB program who stay the proverbial course have defied all odds and embarked upon progressive life change. The organization’s national headquarters is located at Youth About Business, 3518 West Hamilton Ave. Nashville, Tennessee 37218. However they list satellite offices in other areas of the state and country. Each one may be found via the Youth About Business official, inclusive website.

One of the ways youth learn real world operations are with hands on experience through community theater production. The recent production of Purlie Victorious was successful in filling the seats each night, October 26-29, with the captivating production.

Purlie began as a musical with book written by legendary actor/performer Ossie Davis. Later it became a stage play titled Purlie Victorious. In 1961 it was made into the film Gone Are the Days. What began in the ‘60s and took on other talented forms is still popular today in the 21st century. Community theatre productions such as this one presented by YAB and their passionate, multi-talented cast breathe new life into a timeless classic.

Purlie is indeed a timeless depiction of one man’s journey to create a legacy for his family and future generations. It is a gripping production, which has the power to make the audience experience a full range of emotions, including: laughter, tears, wonder, delight and more. It stems from a time which many can only imagine living in. But we are grateful for those who came before us, allowing each thereafter to embrace the embodiment of pure gratitude.

YAB’s executive director is Rev. William Kirk; William Jenkins is director and casting consultant; and the stage manger is Nicole Lovelace. They all worked tirelessly to make it happen. The cast gave the stage production life, demonstrating they are some of Music City’s finest.

Playing the role of Purlie was DeYonte Jenkins; Greg Welsch played Cap’n Cothipee; Taomi Ray played Lutibelle; Raheem ‘Tha Dream’ Holt played Gitlow; Dwanna Hughes played Aunt Missy; Monica Collins played Idella; and Cameron Rattray played Charlie. Other supporting elements helping make the production a rousing success included: the dance ensemble, the orchestra, the stagehands, and the sound and lighting design team.

Purlie was yet another slice of the great lady we call Nashville, as well as contributing to the success of Youth About Business.