Friday night: Bridgette Perdue brings her talents to the August Wilson Center


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When Bridgette Perdue calls for you to "Wake Up and Dream," it's more than a push from behind. She leads by example.

Ms. Perdue's dream of a show comes true on stage tonight at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Downtown.

"'Wake Up and Dream' is a multidisciplinary performance," said Ms. Perdue, who is an August Wilson fellow. "It features my original music. I play piano and sing. But it has backup dancers, concert lighting and a full band. And it features an actor, who kind of dramatizes audio clips of people's real-life stories.

"The stories are from people sharing their dreams and what they want to accomplish in their lives and the obstacles they've had to overcome in their lives."

Ms. Perdue, 28, is a graduate of North Allegheny High School and attended Point Park University, where she earned degrees in musical theater and arts management.

"My parents are kind of closet musicians," she said. "My dad was in the men's choir at church and my mom played clarinet. I'm one of five kids, and we all sing, dance, act, write, rap, play instruments. Somehow all of us have gotten into it. My sister actually is in the show."

Ms. Perdue describes herself as "a full-time music artist," splitting her time between teaching and performing.

"I'm the music director for Alumni Theater, a kids theater company, and I'm a visiting artist for Propel Charter School," she said. "I also teach private voice and private piano. And then I also am singing and song-writing and performing, whether it's at Penn State or in Ohio. I do a lot of shows regionally.

"I was part of the City of Bridges Tour, where I performed in art galleries, boutiques, the Shadow Lounge. Different places where I premiered my original music," she said. "And I was part of the Sunstar Music Festival, celebrating women in music at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty."

Her talents -- and her determination -- have taken her to Los Angeles, New York and Florida.

"It pays the bills," she laughed. "But, seriously, I love doing a lot of things. It keeps me active. I get bored just doing one thing."

She said the idea for "Wake Up and Dream" came to her about a year ago.

"I've been working intensely on it for the past three months," she said. "It's a music concert that integrates dance, theater and visual art. It's a concert with a theme, created to inspire others to overcome life's obstacles and pursue their dreams."

The show involves about 20 people, including the Kevin Howard Band and dancers from CAPA, where Ms. Perdue is known as Miss Bridgette. In addition to creating the music, Ms. Perdue worked to choreograph the dancing.

"I'm wearing a lot of hats and it's a balancing act," she said. "But I don't have to say much. They're professionals. They've got it.

"I am really blessed in that this team is my dream team. The people that have supported me -- the band, the dancers -- they're awesome, and we're all working toward the same thing. Even though a lot of this project is mine, every team member has treated it as if it were their own baby. I don't have to say much."

The music, she said, "has a little bit of a jazz flair to it. But it's more pop, more singer-songwriter. It's still very lively."

"I'm a local artist reaching to perform at the highest caliber that I can," she said. "I am not Alicia Keys, but let's have fun and explore that."

The show, part of the August Wilson Center's First Voice Festival, starts at 8 p.m. with local jazz vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield.

"I have to say I'm happy and excited," Ms. Perdue said. "This is something that I've put together. It's my baby and tonight's the night."

The August Wilson Center is at 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Admission is $10.

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If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at dmajors@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/


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