Katherine Michelle Tanner is an actor and singer-songwriter. Talitha Anyabwele is a writer, actor and teacher. Both women have shows this weekend in Tampa.
Echoes of Love
Tanner, who has given fine performances in plays at American Stage, Gorilla Theatre and Stageworks, has a concert program called "Echoes of Love", in which she will be supported by piano and guitar. "The theme is a journey of love yearned for, love lost and love realized,'' says Tanner, who will feature works by contemporary songwriters such as Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles.
She will also perform some of her own songs, such as The Mississippi, "which is about two young lovers meeting on the banks of the Mississippi, which is where I'm from,'' says Tanner, who grew up in the Mississippi River town of Hastings, Minn., and now lives in Sarasota. She stars as women's rights activist Margaret Fuller in Charm by Kathleen Cahill from March 23 to April 17 at Orlando Shakespeare Theater.
"Echoes of Love" has performances at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday at the Mainstage Theatre of the Performing Arts Building of the Ybor City campus of Hillsborough Community College, E Palm Avenue and N 14th Street, Tampa. $5, $10. (813) 253-7695.
Black Girl Speaks
Anyabwele has a show called "Black Girl Speaks" that she normally performs solo, but this time she will be joined by two other actors, Tia Jemison and Eileen Lymus-Sanders. "It's a series of monologues I have written since sixth grade about my experiences as a black female,'' says Anyabwele, who grew up in Atlanta and Tampa, graduating from Leto High School in 1998. "My mantra is that when black girls express themselves about their lives, even uncomfortable issues, the healing begins.''
"Black Girl Speaks" is "always evolving, and I never perform the same show twice,'' says Anyabwele, adding that she and her husband are expecting their first child, a girl, on May 20. "I've never experienced motherhood before, so this will be a completely new and different performance.''
Anyabwele, Jemison and Lymus-Sanders perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at Theatre 1 on the University of South Florida Tampa campus. $35. Proceeds benefit Black Girl Speaks, Anyabwele's mentoring program for about 150 female high school students in Hillsborough County. Information: blackgirlspeaks.com.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic