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The Week Ahead

Play is a pro-female valentine

February 05, 2007|Lynne Heffley

Vanessa Williams (TV's "Soul Food"), Paula Jai Parker, Omarosa (from "The Apprentice") and author Zane will appear with other African American celebrities in two performances of "The Vagina Monologues" at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Eve Ensler's funny, harrowing, often graphic discourse on the mystique of female genitalia -- which has become not only a major theatrical franchise but also a worldwide pop culture phenomenon -- is part of the annual Valentine's Day observance of "V-Day," launched by Ensler and others in 1998 to fund programs targeting violence toward women.

Ensler's play is "universal," said Yetta Young, who is producing the show in L.A. and in Washington, D.C.

Young began producing the play five years ago. "I wanted to be part of the global movement to end violence against women and girls, and I thought with an African American cast, it would attract more of us to see the play because the topics are so relevant."

Some may hesitate to see the show because they have the mistaken impression that the show is serious and dark, Young said. But although some topics are very serious (genital mutilation, cancer), "there are a lot of wonderful, funny stories too -- why thongs were created and going to the gynecologist."

Saturday's performance will benefit United Lesbians of African Heritage. Tickets are available only through the website www.vdayladc.com.

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