Join us for Two Events
on May 5th
@The Benedum Center

@7:30pm - A World Premiere Performance
Celebrating Dr. Vernell A. Lillie

Theatre, Legends, Song, Legacy, History, Achievement, Sharing, and Fun Supporting Youth Education and The Josh Gibson Foundation and GNPC’s Youth and Community Educational Initiatives

Includes Both Events for Only $100

(Includes Opera Ticket and Reception Following Opera)


For Questions contact the Good Neighbor Project Committee at 412-281-4967


This event is presented in part with the generous support of
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Event Details

Location: The Benedum Center
Performance Time: 7:30 PM
After Opera Celebration: Following Opera
Benedum Address: 237 7th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

10% of Opera Ticket Costs Will Be Contributed to The Josh Gibson Foundation Through the Pittsburgh Opera.

Funds help to support the GNPC’s efforts to get the word out about the May 5th Summer King Opera Performance, the Josh Gibson Foundation (including Josh Gibson Memorial Park), Youth Workshops and Youth Event Attendance.


About The Summer King

A World Premiere Performance of the Opera about One of the Greatest Baseball Players in the History of Baseball – Josh Gibson who played for the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords

  • Story About the Amazing African American Trailblazer Performed by Internationally Renowned Performers
  • Produced by The Pittsburgh Opera
  • 7:30 PM, May 5th, 2017 at The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts

About the After Opera Celebration

  • Celebrating Dr. Vernell A. Lillie
  • Relax and Have Fun After the Opera
  • At Your Leisure Enjoy Historic vidoes and pictures of Dr. Lillie, Kuntu Theatre, Great Food, Cash Bar, More Song, Surprise Celebrities and more.

About Our Trailblazing Legends

Honorable Edward Gainey

Honorable Edward Gainey

GNPC is Proud to have the Honorable Ed Gainey, 24th District Pennsylvania Legislator, as the GNPC Honorary Chair for the Josh Gibson Opera Initiative, in which we are encouraging community-wide attendance. We are hoping to fill the Benedum Theatre on May 5th, 2017 in support of the Josh Gibson Foundation, and to attend the After Opera Celebration in support of GNPC educational projects and continuing legacy initiatives.



Dr. Vernell A. Lillie

Dr. Vernell A. Lillie

Dr. Vernell A. Lillie, Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh and Founder of the KUNTU Repertory Theatre (one of the longest running Black Theater companies in the United States) is a member of the prestigious HISTORYMAKERS.  She has received numerous awards for her creative acumen, commitment to students, the community and work in higher education, theatre arts and psychodrama nationally and internationally.  Dr. Lillie holds the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Black Theatre Festival, the Career Excellence Award from the National Black Theatre Network, and the 2003 Career Achievement Award from the Association for Theatre In Higher Education. Dr. Lillie is considered an "Arts and Education Treasure".  She holds a doctorate and Masters of Arts Degree in English from Carnegie Mellon University, a B.A. Degree in Speech and Drama from Dillard University, completed graduate studies in Education and English at Texas Southern University and has an honorary doctorate from Seton Hill University. Dr. Lillie is a major trailblazer in establishing African American theatre in the nation and to whom many owe thanks, including August Wilson, whose first professional stage production was put on by Dr. Lillie.


Josh Gibson

Josh Gibson

Baseball Great Josh Gibson, (born Dec. 21, 1911, Buena Vista, Ga,. U.S.—died Jan. 20, 1947, Pittsburgh, Pa.) He was an American professional baseball catcher and one of the most prodigious home run hitters in the game's history.  Known as "the Black Babe Ruth," Gibson is considered to be the greatest player who never played in the major leagues—owing to the unwritten rule (enforced until the year of his death) against hiring black ballplayers. Josh went from the sandlots of Pittsburgh's North Side to the pinnacle of greatness in the Negro Leagues, before ultimately being enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. We appreciate and support the important work of the Josh Gibson Foundation and are excited about the Pittsburgh Opera Premiere and the Josh Gibson Park being built in Station Square which will be a Remembrance of Josh Gibson and the Negro Leagues and a major educational tool and inspiration to many millions of people once it is completed!

Visit the Josh Gibson Foundation ->

Betty J. Tilman  ( center)

Betty J. Tilman (center)

About The Good Neighbor Project

The Good Neighbor Project Committee (GNPC), coordinated by community activist, Ms. Betty J. Tilman in partnership with the POISE Foundation, works to bring awareness to the importance of nurturing children/young adults so that they become critical thinkers and know the history of those who have created Pathways of Hope in Western Pennsylvania and the World.

GNPC helps educate the community and encourages youth and community participation in projects that help children/young adults learn to embrace their culture, use their creativity and technology, develop their intellectual acumen, understand the legislative process, as well as the importance and power of the vote in a democratic society; and become good citizens of the World. GNPC Also Honors the Legacy of those who act as Go-Givers with Integrity.

Good Neighbor Project Committee Members (Partial Listing):  

  • Betty J. Tilman, Coordinator
  • Bernice Adams
  • Bader Al Nifay
  • Prof. Ameer Asaad
  • Donna Baxter Porcher
  • Lorenzo Boone
  • Norma Caquatto, Esq.
  • Antoinette Carter
  • The Honorable Kim Clark
  • Martha Conley, Esq.
  • Lori Criswell
  • Terri Davis
  • Dr. June Pickett Dowdy
  • Kim El
  • Dr. Khadeeja Ghozee
  • Sean Gibson
  • James German
  • Walter Hales, Operations Chair
  • Marietta Harper
  • Charles Greene, Jr.
  • Terry Greenberg
  • Billy Jackson
  • Mark Lewis
  • Dr. Stephen Malinger
  • Ann Mason
  • Dr. Major Mason
  • Rev. Melony McGant
  • Dr. Jerome McKinney
  • Dr. Mary McKinney
  • Katie McKinney
  • Joyce Nelson
  • Dr. Curtiss Porter
  • Shirley Scott
  • Dr. Ahmed Sheriff
  • Ruth Still
  • David Tessitor
  • Rev. Mark Okere
  • Vickie Travis Okere
  • Charles E. Timbers, Jr.
  • Anna Walker
  • Jerry Lopes, Special Consultant to GNPC

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Plan to attend a World Premiere of the Opera
and the AFTER OPERA CELEBRATION in the name of
Dr. Vernell A. Lillie, a Major Force in Establishing African American Theatre in America.

Both the Opera and the Celebration are at The Benedum Center for Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, PA.

*To Pay by Check Download Form Here

For Questions contact the Good Neighbor Project Committee at 412-281-4967


"Be a Good Neighbor"