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Actress to Portray Welty at 100th Birthday Event

By April 7, 2009General

Eudora Welty Jo Ann Robinson


Delta State University will celebrate the 100th birthday of beloved Mississippi author Eudora Welty on Monday, April 13, with an evening of drama, photography, regional culture, and cuisine. 

Featured will be a solo dramatic portrayal of Welty’s short story “Why I Live at the P.O.” by Equity actor Jo Ann Robinson of Jackson. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Jobe Auditorium.  Robinson will also entertain questions from the audience at the end of the show, sharing the wealth of information from her research for the role.
A “birthday party” reception following the performance will include a sampling of reception foods described in Welty’s popular book “Delta Wedding.  Alongwith birthday cake and white wedding cake, the nostalgic treats to be served will include punch, cheese straws, mints, tiny sandwiches, beaten biscuits, and pickled peaches.
On display throughout the evening will be an exhibit, from the university’s permanent collection, of black-and-white photographs taken by Eudora Welty in the 1930s.  The highly-acclaimed, captivating images record life in Depression-era Mississippi.
Robinson has been acting professionally for thirty years in television, film, regional theater, voice-over work, and corporate training films. She was based in Los Angeles from 1978 to 1989, and her credits include co-starring roles in “The New Love American Style” and the nationally syndicated “Comedy of Comedies.” She has also appeared as a stand-up comedienne at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory and The Ice House, famous for headlining Jay Leno and Joan Rivers.  Robinson was a founding member and writer for the L.A.-based comedy group “Half-a-Deck,” named by the L.A. Times a “Best Bet.” She has been a regular at New Stage Theater in Jackson for the past fifteen years, and she travels around the U.S. performing in regional theater.
Miss Welty, born 100 years ago on April 13, 1909, received international acclaim as a quintessential 20th-century American and Southern writer, authoring novels such as “Delta Wedding,”“The Ponder Heart,” and “The Robber Bridegroom.”  She also gained recognition for the strength and variety of her short stories.  Miss Welty lived a sedate life in Jackson, writing about Mississippi and the South.  She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for “The Optimist’s Daughter.”
This celebration is a special event on the calendar of Delta State’s fourth annual Arts in April festival, initiated and organized by the Special Programs Committee.  The event, which also celebrates the university’s year-long theme of “partnerships,” is sponsored by the Special Programs Committee in collaboration with the Division of Languages and Literature, the University Archives, the Center for Delta Heritage, and the Department of Art.
The public is encouraged to attend this unique celebration.  There is no charge for admission. For more information, call Dr. Mark Butler at (662) 846-4619.