Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Newman Center brings novel to life

Best-selling novel The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd will buzz the Newman Center stage on April 10.

“I have seen this piece performed and was both amazed by the skills of the actress taking on so many characters, and by the emotional power of the performance,” says Stephen Seifert, director of the Newman Center.

The Secret Life of Bees is set in the south during the Civil Rights era. The story revolves around a young girl’s search for the truth about her mother that leads her to three beekeeping sisters and the discovery of the real meaning of family.

The novel has been adapted for stage by Denise Wilbanks, an actress, writer and musician.

This will be Wilbanks’ fourth year performing The Secret Life of Bees. She has performed in numerous theater, television and film projects as well as concerts and commercial campaigns. Her past work has been selected and honored at the Cannes International Film Festival and the Hampton’s International Film Festival.

The production is a part of American Place Theatre’s performance-based literacy program, which brings books to life by presenting professionally staged verbatim adaptations of significant American literary works. The critically acclaimed theater has received more than 30 Obie and 16 Audelco awards and has served as a birthing place for artistic endeavors at the crossroads of literature and live performance for 47 years.

The Secret Life of Bees will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 10 at the Newman Center. A free, interactive “Behind the Curtain” lecture will be held at 6:30 p.m. During the lecture, audience members will be able to interact with a professional teaching artist and participate in a “talk-back” with Wilbanks. Tickets are $30. Parking is free. Tickets can be purchased through the Newman Center and TicketMaster. For more information, call 303-871-7720 or visit


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