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‘Soulful’ singer to perform in Pittsburgh at New Horizon Theater’s annual fundraising event

Pittsburgh fans will get to experience all facets of “The Velvet Teddy Bear” when “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard graces the Kelly-Strayhorn Stage as the main attraction for New Horizon Theater’s annual fundraising event, this Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.

“I’m definitely looking forward to coming back to Pittsburgh,” Studdard told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “Every time I come, the people are very inviting and I have a good time. Whether I’m performing for 100 people or thousands, I give 100 percent and I want to make sure that people enjoy the performance. I’m going to give my all for the people.”

Pittsburghers may have last seen Studdard as Petey in Sherri Johnson’s “Bold & Sanctified II” last year. But the evening will allow the audience to get up close and personal with the humble, dimple-cheeked singer.

“We thought we could attract a variety of people of different ages by getting Ruben as our featured act this year and that would help us in the long run with our plays,” said New Horizon Theater, Inc. Chairperson Joyce Meggerson-Moore. “We did that a few years ago with Christopher Williams and we’ve never seen Ruben Studdard before except on ‘American Idol.’”

New Horizon Theater, Inc. was founded with the mission to bring the greater Pittsburgh area consistent, high-quality cultural events reflecting the African American points of view, and to provide an engaging venue for ethnic writers and performers to further their professional development. In its 25 years of service to the community, it has provided opportunities for more than 400 persons in all phases of theater production.

In June 2003 after winning “Idol,” Studdard released his first single, a cover of Westlife’s “Flying Without Wings,” which he performed in the show’s finale. The song debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 100 charts and was a lead-in to his debut album, “Soulful.” That album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling more than 400,000 copies its first week, making it the second-highest first-week sales of any “American Idol” winner. The second single from “Soulful,” “Sorry 2004,” received ample airplay. The song reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.

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