AN EVENING WITH YOLANDA RABUN Set to Open August 3
VIRGINIA THEATRE FESTIVAL TO PRESENT AN EVENING WITH YOLANDA RABUN
STAR OF LAST SUMMER’S HIT SHOW NO FEAR AND BLUES LONG GONE: NINA SIMONE
RETURNS WITH HER BAND TO TAKE AUDIENCES ON A GENRE-HOPPING
MUSICAL JOURNEY FROM JAZZ TO BLUES, MUSICAL THEATRE, FOLK, COUNTRY, AND BEYOND
August 3-6 at Culbreth Theatre
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – DATE, 2023 – The Virginia Theatre Festival, the professional summer theatre at the University of Virginia, will close out its 2023 season with An Evening with Yolanda Rabun. The show, which features the star of last year’s highly acclaimed one-woman show No Fear and Blues Long Gone: Nina Simone, will see the powerhouse performer taking VTF audiences on a genre-hopping musical journey in which Rabun and her talented band will offer a setlist spanning genres from jazz to blues to musical theatre, folk, country, and beyond.
An Evening with Yolanda Rabun will run from August 3-6 at the Culbreth Theatre.
Yolanda Rabun is a fierce songstress and natural storyteller who regularly wows audiences with her endless energy, commanding vocal power and inventiveness. The North Carolina-based performer and recording artist moves effortlessly between musical styles and is a natural-born storyteller who loves nothing more than connecting with her audiences. “I like to create programs that will speak to everyone and that can meet them where they are in life. My shows are about helping people learn to enjoy life, to enjoy love, and to help them find their purpose here. What I always tell people is that with my show, they are going to get a little bit of everything. All I ask is that they come in with an open mind and a desire to be entertained.”
Yolanda Rabun’s versatility is key to her appeal and to her success. “I am what many people call a multi-hyphenate,” she said, “meaning that I speak in all different forms of music because I come with varied experiences.” Those experiences, she said, include her professional life as a musician and an award-winning corporate attorney, as a wife, and as a mother.
While last summer’s audiences leapt to their feet for her embodiment of the “High Priestess of Soul,” this year Rabun will show off her own boundless talent and wide-ranging musical influences. “When I do Nina I become Nina,” she said. “With this show, you really get Yolanda, and you get to see how she is influenced by Gladys Knight, by Nancy Wilson, by Roberta Flack, by Barbra Streisand, by Shirley Bassett, and so many others.” While her base language is jazz, Rabun delights in being musically multilingual, and that is a key to her ability to connect with audiences at every show.
The show she has planned for VTF audiences, Rabun said, is based on the concept of dreaming. “This particular collection of songs and stories is about holding on to hope and being optimistic about the possibility that anything can happen in your life.” It is a concept that she finds resonates strongly in a post-pandemic world. “I am finding that when we came back after the pandemic, people were applauding more, laughing more and engaging more in our show,” she said. “What we have found is that people are so appreciative of entertainment now, and more receptive to finding and sharing joy.” Her goal is for Charlottesville audiences to feel renewed. “My hope is that they will be able to apply anything I have shared in the concert to their own lives and perhaps to walk away with a different way of looking at things. I always believe that if people change the way they look at things, the things they look at change, so a part of what drives me is the desire to open people’s minds to new ways of looking at love, at life, and at how we can best take care of ourselves and each other.”
The Virginia Theatre Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and is supported by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, UVA Department of Drama, and UVA Arts. The 2023 Virginia Theatre Festival is also supported by a generous grant from The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.
The Virginia Theatre Festival’s 2023 Membership Program offers patrons a chance to support VTF, while also enjoying exclusive benefits. For more information on ways to support VTF, visit virginiatheatrefestival.org/support.
To learn more about the Virginia Theatre Festival and its 2023 season, visit virginiatheatrefestival.org.