The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance


425 p. : ill. (b&w) ; 17.5 x 24.5 cm

"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." -- from Amazon book description

Table of Contents

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

Chapter 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