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The ‘High Priestess Of Soul’ Nina Simone Comes To Life In One-Woman Show

Yolanda Rabun is a talented singer and storyteller.
Courtesy of Curtis Brown Photography

The musical legacy of Nina Simone is celebrated throughout the world, but to North Carolina she is a special treasure. Simone was born in the town of Tryon, where efforts are underway to turn her childhood home into a space that reflects her dynamic, complex legacy. Last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation officially designated it a “National Treasure.”

Many other efforts are underway in the state to creatively document her story and music, including a new one-woman show from playwright Howard L. Craft. Craft was first commissioned to write a short play about Simone in 2012, and the project has since evolved into the full-length production “No Fear and Blues Long Gone: Nina Simone,” starring songstress and storyteller Yolanda Rabun. A limited five-day run of the production with Playmakers Repertory Company begins Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Museum of Art and the North Carolina Arts Council will also host a number of events in celebration of Nina Simone this weekend, including a concert and conversation with her daughter Lisa Simone.

Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.