by Chiquita Mullins Lee

Pierce to the Soul is Chiquita Mullins Lee’s masterful one-person play about the life of an Ohio legend: folk-artist Elijah Pierce.

PIERCE watercolorAnd what a life he lived! In his youth, an avid baseball player and one-time hobo who loved dancing and chasing women, Pierce eventually found a higher calling after a series of miraculous escapes from death.

Born on a Mississippi farm in 1892, Pierce – the youngest son of a former slave – took up wood carving at an early age.

Deciding he didn’t want to farm, he learned barbering, a trade that would allow him to earn a living almost anywhere.

Joining the “Great Migration” to the cities of the north after World War Two, Pierce eventually settled on the east side of Columbus, Ohio. Here, for more than sixty years, he worked as a barber, all the while continuing to carve more and more ambitious projects.

In the 1970’s, 80-year-old Pierce was finally “discovered” and soon became internationally famous as a folk artist.

The Real Elijah Pierce

The Real Elijah Pierce

Pierce’s works may now be seen in many national galleries, private collections and at the Columbus Museum of Art.

The play is the story of one man’s journey through life – his struggles, his triumphs, his tragedies – and his quest to find a meaning to his life.  It’s a story told with warmth and a great deal of humor and one which any person, young or old, can relate to.

Pierce to the Soul by Chiquita Mullins Lee received its World Premiere at CATCO in Columbus, Ohio, in 2010, where it received rave reviews, standing ovations and a nomination for the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Artistic Excellence Award.

(Click on this sentence to read the rave reviews as well as articles about the development of the play.)

Alan Bomar Jones

Alan Bomar Jones

Pierce is a 75-80 minute one-act, which may be performed in almost any space – in a theatre, an auditorium or any large room.  Each performance is followed by an actor/audience discussion.

The play is suitable for audiences ranging from middle school to senior citizens.

Pierce to the Soul stars Equity actor Alan Bomar Jones, who created the role in 2010.

Jones, a Dayton-based actor, has appeared with professional companies across the United States.  In Columbus, he has performed in such plays as The Shorts Festival 2006, The Piano Lesson, The Exonerated and A Soldier’s Play at CATCO.

Geoffrey Nelson, who directed the original production, also directs this new production of the play.


Bookings are available beginning in April 2014.  For further information, please contact APT Artistic Director Geoffrey Nelson using the form below or by leaving a message at 614-404-2578.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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A Pierce Carving

A Pierce Carving

A Pierce Carving

A Pierce Carving