Broadway star brings salute to Lena Horne to Fine Arts Series

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January 16, 2018

WintersSyndee Winters has had her pick of some exceptional Broadway roles.

She has starred on Broadway in the blockbuster production of “Hamilton,” in addition to “The Lion King,” “Motown the Musical” and “Pippin” - not a bad catalog of work by anyone’s standards.

But asked why she has chosen to portray Lena Horne, she answers quite passionately.

“Why not Lena? She was one of the first pop stars of all-time. She was featured on many films, records and graced many stages,” she said on a website devoted to the play. “She paved ways for artists of color — like myself — to follow in her footsteps, and ultimately experiencing many obstacles so performers today wouldn’t have to.”

She is bringing that production to the Fine Arts Series at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. “Lena: A Moment with a Lady” is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Escher Auditorium, CSB.

Winters will be in residency Feb. 9-10. She will conduct an acting workshop with GREAT Theater members, and a workshop with CSB and SJU music and theater students at which Winters will critique performances of some of the students.

“Lena” uses powerful vocals and a rich storyline to share the most pivotal moments of Horne’s life, which almost reads like a novel.

Just who was Horne? She was an African-American jazz and pop singer, dancer, actor and civil rights activist. Her career spanned some 70 years, appearing in film, television and theater, and she produced several iconic American pop standards, including “Stormy Weather” and “The Lady is a Tramp.”

The performance celebrates the legacy of Horne as an American icon, both the highlights of her remarkable career and the low moments when she was unable to get work in Hollywood.

“Ms. Horne was an activist for the progression of people of color in our nation, primarily in the entertainment industry,” Winters said. “I want my generation and generations to come to know and remember this passionate woman and her contribution to American life.”

Tickets for the show are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, $18 for CSB/SJU faculty and staff, $15 for youth and students and $10 for CSB and SJU students.

For tickets, call the Benedicta Arts Center Box Office at 320-363-5777 or order online.

The event is sponsored by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, CentraCare Health and Dr. Jerry and Patty Wetterling-St. Joseph Family Chiropractic.

The activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.