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Artpark to host staged reading of musical on elephant poaching

As Artpark Executive Director Sonia Kozlova-Clark works to revive the institution's national reputation as an incubator for cutting-edge art, some unexpected events are popping up at the Lewiston venue.

Case in point: A staged reading of a new musical about elephant poaching written by the Tony-nominated actor Sahr Ngaujah and puppet artist Jean Marie Keevins. Nguajah is perhaps best known for his performance in the title role of the musical "Fela!", for which he received a Tony nomination in 2010.

Keevins has decades of experience as a puppet artist, having worked on projects ranging from "Avenue Q" to her recent Jim Henson Foundation-funded project "Zwerge," slated for a full production soon.

Read-through of the show, called "Elephant in the Room," will be directed by Roger Danforth, formerly the longtime artistic director of the the Drama League's career development project.

According to a release, it focuses on a Congolese refugee, through whose eyes audiences see a story about the "ecological and societal crisis endangering Africa’s elephant population and how it reflects back to those here in the United States."

"Elephant in the Room," a staged reading: 3 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Artpark Gallery, 450 South 4th St., Lewiston. Admission is free. Call 754-4375 or visit


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