MIDDLEBURY, Vt.?Award-winning rapper, actor, playwright and educator Will Power will visit Middlebury College on his current United States tour for a guest lecture and one-evening performance Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 26-27.

A leading force in today’s emerging culture of hip-hop theater, Power will spend time exploring the genre’s social roots, political and spiritual influences, and its growing culture. His free lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 26, in Wright Theater.
The following evening at 7:30 p.m., he will perform his acclaimed solo show “Flow,” also in Wright Theater. In “Flow,” Power raps the stories of seven neighborhood characters using original music, rhymes and dynamic choreography. Live sound by DJ Reborn accompanies the narrative monologue. “Flow” has won several awards including the 2004 Jury Award for best theater performance at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. “Flow” is produced by the New York Theater Workshop and the NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival.

Power is a native of San Francisco and his hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, has hailed his work, describing his pioneering style as “inventive, indefinable and a lot of fun.” The paper said hip-hop theater “takes an ancient genre by the horns.”

Award-winning rapper, actor, playwright and educator Will Power

The genre is simple storytelling packaged with an urban, modern face and voice, and presented in a venue often unaccustomed to modern surprises. “Power, who draws on influences as disparate as Aeschylus and Public Enemy, is the perfect ambassador of hip-hop theater ? a new genre that brings the urgency of street life and urban tales to a traditionally stuffy and elitist stage,” a Chronicle critic wrote.

The New York Times agreed, saying that Power’s originality “is treading new territory here, experimenting with tools that are new to the theater.” The result, the Times wrote, is “a rap that implicitly tells the story of rap.” Newsday simply called it “electrifying.”

In addition to awards for his solo shows, Power has been recognized by the National Black Theater Network with its Trailblazer Award for his contributions to theater. His composition of “The Seven,” a hip-hop theater adaptation of the Greek tragedy “Seven Against Thebes” was a hit at the NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival and won three Bay Area Critics Circle Awards.

In addition to solo performances, Power composes music and lyrics and has been featured on several albums. He has also performed as a lead vocalist with the Omar Sosa Sextet.

Power’s performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series and the Middlebury College Theater Department.

Wright Theater is located on Château Road off College Street (Route 125). Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors. For tickets or information, call the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433. Online tickets and information are available at www.middlebury.edu/arts