Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way by Stewart F. Lane

Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way by Stewart F. Lane

Sale price$39.95
Written by one of America's leading Broadway producers, Black Broadway represents both in words and images an essential piece of American theatrical history that has remained missing-until now. The African-American actors and actresses whose names light up Broadway marquees have earned their place in history not only through hard work and talent, but also because of the legacy left by those who came before them. Like the doors of many professions, those of the theater world were shut to minorities for decades, and talented black performers-as well as African-American playwrights and musicians-often had little opportunity to demonstrate their skills. It took men and women of character and determination to change the social landscape and open the theater doors not only to black artists, but to black audiences, as well. In Black Broadway, which has already been given a "starred review" by Library Journal and acclaimed by Booklist as a "wonderfully illustrated and researched book" while being celebrated by PW as an "insightful history of black theater," theater producer and historian Stewart F. Lane uses words and colorful illustrations to capture the difficult path that African Americans have travelled to the Great White Way. The book also has a Foreword from Kenny Leon, the Tony-award winning Broadway director who declares Lane's new book as "a unique tribute to the many African-American actors, directors, playwrights, and others who have contributed to the fabric of American theater." The book explores its subject from the earliest stories to the present day. In the mid-1800s, the popularity of minstrel shows grew by leaps and bounds. While the depiction of blacks was demeaning, it allowed African-American performers to ply their trade, and soon, a number of them were playing to full houses. In the 1880s, vaudeville-a craze throughout the nation-emerged, and until the early 1930s, it was a national showcase for artists such as Bert Williams and George Walker, Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Waters, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Duke Ellington. By the 1920s, the Jazz Age was in full swing, allowing black songwriters and entertainers to reach ever-widening audiences. During the 1950s and '60s, many more people of color-including Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Sidney Poitier-found their voice on stage in truly worthy productions, some of which were created by daring black playwrights. Each decade, more progress was made, as African-American artists not only wrote and performed, but also shaped the Broadway experience through directing and producing, creating shows as varied as the Pulitzer-Prize winning drama Fences and the powerfully moving musical Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. Black Broadway provides an insider's look at the Broadway of which few are aware. By focusing the spotlight on both great performers and landmark shows, this book offers a story well worth telling. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STEWART F. LANE is the six-time Tony Award-winning producer of La Cage Aux Folles, The Will Rogers Follies, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Two and Only, War Horse, and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. He has also produced in London, where his shows have won an Olivier. He has served on the Board of Directors of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center and the Transitional Committee, where he appointed both the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs and the Commissioner of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting. Currently, he serves on the Board of Governors for the Actors Fund of America. A highly sought-after speaker, Mr. Lane is also the author of the critically acclaimed books Let's Put on a Show! and Jews on Broadway.

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