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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sheryl Lee Ralph's One Woman Show in Washington, D.C.

By Holly Wood

Sheryl Lee Ralph, left, participated as a panelist at Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's Science and Technology Braintrust at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Friday and then went on a stage at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus on 16th Street NW in a one-woman show "Sometimes I Cry" on Saturday. This theatrical production exhorts the public to acknowledge the problem of HIV/AIDS. The actress-turned-activist has toured the work nationally and internationally and she gave a forceful performance in a show subtitled "The Loves, Lives and Losses of Women Infected and Affected by HIV/AIDS." Ralph's solo turn is part memoir, part dramatized oral history, part civic and medical harangue, ringing with sermon-like cadences. Standing in front of a screen that relays photographic projections and terse epidemiological statistics, she delves into her subject by way of a bittersweet memory of the 1980s, when she created the role of Deena Jones in the Broadway staging of "Dreamgirls." While she was reveling in her fame, she recalls (an Ebony cover featuring the "Dreamgirls" stars splays across the screen behind her at this point), the AIDS outbreak was gathering force.

She segued between matter-of-factness and anguish, portraying two characters: a 45-year-old entrepreneur who struggles to maintain her dignity as an AIDS-ravaged body fails her, and a 68-year-old grandmother who has trouble comprehending her HIV-positive diagnosis. Some of the evening's most touching moments cropped up in a Q after the show. Ralph gave sympathetic, supportive answers to audience questions.

From The Washington Post Style Section Review

Earlier in the same day, Sheryl participated in a sit-in at the Lincoln Memorial, along with her husband, Pensylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, to bring attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the U.S. (The Washington Informer)
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