1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance

    450 Pages
    by Routledge

    450 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance is an outstanding collection of specially written essays that charts the emergence, development, and diversity of African American Theatre and Performance—from the nineteenth-century African Grove Theatre to Afrofuturism. Alongside chapters from scholars are contributions from theatre makers, including producers, theatre managers, choreographers, directors, designers, and critics. This ambitious Companion includes:

    • A "Timeline of African American theatre and performance."

    • Part I "Seeing ourselves onstage" explores the important experience of Black theatrical self-representation. Analyses of diverse topics including historical dramas, Broadway musicals, and experimental theatre allow readers to discover expansive articulations of Blackness.

    • Part II "Institution building" highlights institutions that have nurtured Black people both on stage and behind the scenes. Topics include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), festivals, and black actor training.

    • Part III "Theatre and social change" surveys key moments when Black people harnessed the power of theatre to affirm community realities and posit new representations for themselves and the nation as a whole. Topics include Du Bois and African Muslims, women of the Black Arts Movement, Afro-Latinx theatre, youth theatre, and operatic sustenance for an Afro future.

    • Part IV "Expanding the traditional stage" examines Black performance traditions that privilege Black worldviews, sense-making, rituals, and innovation in everyday life. This section explores performances that prefer the space of the kitchen, classroom, club, or field.

    This book engages a wide audience of scholars, students, and theatre practitioners with its unprecedented breadth. More than anything, these invaluable insights not only offer a window onto the processes of producing work, but also the labour and economic issues that have shaped and enabled African American theatre.

    List of Figures

    Editor/Contributor Biographies

    Black Art Now by Nambi E. Kelley

    Introduction: Renee Alexander Craft, Thomas F. DeFrantz. Kathy A. Perkins, and Sandra L. Richards.


    Part I: Highlights of African American Theatre and Performance


    Part II: Seeing Ourselves Onstage

    Edited and Introduced by Thomas F. DeFrantz


    Chapter 1

    Dudley, The Smart Set, and the Beginning of the Black Entertainment Industry

    Nadine George-Graves


    Chapter 2

    Black Theatre History Plays: Remembering, Recovering, Re-envisioning

    Sandra Mayo


    Chapter 3

    "Hung Be the Heavens with Black" Bodies: An Analysis of the August 1822 Riot at William Brown's Greenwich Village Theater

    Marvin McAllister


    Chapter 4

    Mulattoes, Mistresses, and Mammies: The Phantom Family in Langston Hughes's Mulatto

    Alison Walls


    Chapter 5

    Interview with Woodie King, Jr. - Producer and Director

    JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell


    Chapter 6

    Freedom Forward: Alice Childress and Lorraine Hansberry Circling Broadway in the 1950s

    Barbara Lewis


    Chapter 7

    Navigating Respectability in Turn of the Century New York City: Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage

    Marta Effinger-Crichlow


    Chapter 8

    Earle Hyman: Scandinavian Successes

    Baron Kelly


    Chapter 9

    Pittsburgh Piety: A Century of Symbolism

    Pedro E. Alvarado


    Chapter 10

    Interview with Ron Simons - Broadway Producer

    Lisa B. Thompson


    Chapter 11

    Interview with Paul Tazewell - Costume Designer

    Niiamar Felder


    Chapter 12

    Race on the Opera Stage

    Twila L. Perry 


    Chapter 13

    The Wiz and the African Diaspora Musical: Rethinking the Research Questions in Black Musical Historiography

    Sam O’Connell


    Chapter 14

    Bob Cole's "Colored Man's Declaration of Independence": The Case of Shoo Fly Regiment and George C. Wolfe's Shuffle Along  

    Paula Marie Seniors


    Chapter 15

    Shuffle Along and Ethnic Humor: A Family Story

    Sandra Seaton


    Chapter 16

    Interview with Eva Yaa Asantewaa - Dance Critic

    Thomas F. DeFrantz


    Chapter 17

    Black Female Sexuality in the Drama of Pearl Cleage

    Beth Turner


    Chapter 18

    Coming-of-Age and Rituals of Gender Nonconformity in Leslie Lee's The First Breeze of Summer

    Rhone Fraser


    Chapter 19

    Pomo Afro Homos: A Revolutionary Act

    Tabitha Jamie Mary Chester



    PART III: Institution Building: Making a Space of OUR Own

    Edited and Introduced by Kathy A. Perkins


    Chapter 20

    Being Black on Stage and Screen: Black Actor Training Before Black Power and the Rise of Stanislavski’s System

    Monica White Ndounou


    Chapter 21

    Three Visionary African American Women Theatre Artists: Anita Bush, Barbara Ann Teer and Ellen Stewart

    Sandra Adell


    Chapter 22

    The Birth of Queen Anne: Re-Discovering Anne Cooke at Spelman College

    Leslye Joy Allen


    Chapter 23

    The Howard University Players: From Respectability Politics to Black Representation

    Denise J. Hart and Kathy A. Perkins


    Chapter 24

    An African American Theatre Program for the 21st Century

    Nefertiti Burton


    Chapter 25

    Interview with Karen Allen Baxter – Managing Director of Rites and Reason Theatre

    Jasmine Johnson


    Chapter 26

    The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.: One Moment in Time?

    Susan Watson Turner


    Chapter 27

    Interview with Shirley Prendergast - Lighting Designer

    Kathy A. Perkins


    Chapter 28

    Interview with Femi Sarah Heggie – Stage Manager

    Kathy A. Perkins


    Chapter 29

    Weathering the Winds of Change: The Sustainability of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company

    Gregory S. Carr


    Chapter 30

    The National Black Theatre Festival and the "Marvtastic" Legacy of Larry Leon Hamlin

    J. K. Curry


    Chapter 31

    The Black Feminist Theatre of Glenda Dickerson

    Khalid Yaya Long


    Chapter 32

    Ernie McClintock’s Jazz Acting: A Theatre of Common Sense

    Elizabeth M. Cizmar


    Chapter 33

    Black Acting Methods®: Mapping the Movement

    Sharrell D. Luckett


    Chapter 34

    Financial Fitness of Black Theatres: Roundtable of Artistic Directors

    K. Zaheerah Sultan


    Chapter 35

    A Reflection on The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff’s The Hip Hop Project: Insight into the Hip Hop Generation

    Johnny Jones


    Chapter 36

    Interview with Ekundayo Bandele – Founder and CEO of Hattiloo Theatre

    Shondrika Moss-Bouldin




    Edited and Introduced by Sandra L. Richards


    Chapter 37

    W.E.B. DuBois, Dramatist



    Chaper 38

    The Third Gift of the Negro: Muslim Identity and DuBois’ Star of Ethiopia



    Chapter 39

    Oh, Ma Dear! What's Going On?: Staging Angelina W. Grimke's Rachel in the Wake of Black Lives Matter



    Chapter 40

    Leaning Left: Why Theater Artists in the 1930s Were Attracted to the Red Movement



    Chapter 41

    Fighting Fire with Fire: Violence and the Black Liberation Movement



    Chapter 42

    "When We Gonna Rise": Free Southern Theater Performances of Slave Ship and Black Power in Mississippi

    Susan Stone-Lawrence


    Chapter 43

    From "Poemplays" to Ritualistic Revivals: The Experimental Works of Women Dramatists of the Black Arts Movement



    Chapter 44

    Interview with Micki Grant



    Chapter 45

    Keeping His Gloves Up: August Wilson and His Critics

    Sandra G. Shannon


    Chapter 46

    Interview with Edward Everett Haynes, Jr.



    Chapter 47

    Afro-Latinx Themes in Theatre Today

    Daphnie Sicre


    Chapter 48

    To be Young, Performing, and Black: Situating Youth in African American Theatre and Performance History

    Asantewa Fulani Sunni-Ali


    Chapter 49

    Interview with Mama Kariamu Welsh

    Amoaba Gooden


    Chapter 50

    Robert O'Hara's Defamiliarizing Dramaturgy

    Isaiah MATTHEW Wooden


    Chapter 51

    Black Plight in Flight

    Tezeru Teshome


    Chapter 52

    Creatively Censoring African American Drama While Teaching in the Arab Gulf Region

    PhyLlisa smith Deroze


    Chapter 53

    Mike Wiley: A Multi-Faceted Artist on a Mission for Social Change

    Sonny Kelly


    Chapter 54

    "Locked Away But Not Defeated": African American Women Performing Resilience

    Lori D. Barcliff Baptista


    Chapter 55

    A Hundredfold: An Experiential Archive of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, the Opera.

    Alexis Pauline Gumbs



    PART V: Expanding the Traditional Stage

    Edited and Introduced by Renée Alexander Craft


    Chapter 56

    Many Stories/One Body: Black Solo Performance from Vaudeville to Spoken Word

    E. Patrick Johnson


    Chapter 57

    Standing Up: Black Feminist Comedy in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

    Katelyn Hale Wood


    Chapter 58

    My Name Mudbone: What I learned about playwriting from Richard Pryor

    Howard L. Craft


    Chapter 59

    Ntozake Shange and the Choreopoem

    Nicole M. Morris Johnson


    Chapter 60

    Interview with Donna Walker-Kuhne – Audience Development

    Kathy A. Perkins


    Chapter 61

    Performed Ethnography

    D. Soyini Madison


    Chapter 62

    The United States of Lucia: Three Generations of Haitian-Americans Reconfigure Ancestry, Home and Host Lands through Storytelling

    Mario LaMothe


    Chapter 63

    We Were What No One Else Had

    Rikki Byrd


    Chapter 64

    Interview with Pam Green – Artist Management and Consulting

    Melanie Greene


    Chapter 65

    Sidelong Glances: Black Divas in Transit, 1945-1955

    Katherine Zien


    Chapter 66

    Black Indians of New Orleans: Performing Resistance and Remembrance

    Sascha Just


    Chapter 67

    Interview with Darryl Montana- Black Indian Chief and Master Artisan

    Loyce L. Arthur


    Chapter 68

    African Performance in the Feast of St. Francis Xavier in 17th century Luanda, Angola

    Margit Edwards


    Chapter 69

    Afro-Futurism and the 2018 Wakanda Diaspora Carnival  

    Renée Alexander Craft


    Chapter 70

    A Beginner’s Guide to Implementing Hip Hop Theatre in the Classroom

    Kashi Johnson


    Chapter 71

    Interview with Shirley Basfield Dunlap – Educator and Director

    Eric Ruffin




    Kathy A. Perkins is Professor Emerita of the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a professional lighting designer who has designed throughout the U.S. and internationally, and as an author has edited six anthologies focusing on African/African Diaspora women.

    Sandra L. Richards is Professor Emerita in African American Studies and Theatre at Northwestern University. Specializing in African American, African, and African Diaspora drama, she has published articles on a range of playwrights and on tourism to slave sites in the Black Atlantic.

    Renée Alexander Craft is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a joint appointment in the Department of Communication and Curriculum in Global Studies. She is a performance studies trained Black feminist writer, scholar, and educator.

    Thomas F. DeFrantz is Professor of African and African American Studies and Theater Studies at Duke University. He directs SLIPPAGE:Performance | Culture | Technology, a research group that explores live processing in theatrical contexts.