Musical Theater

Musical Theater began in the African-American community until the late 1890’s. Before this many images of black people in musical theater and plays were stereotyped and discriminatory. Typically portraying African Americans in a negative light with coon songs and black face. The first all black show was brought to the stage in the late 1890’s by Will Marlon Cook and Bob Cole. This musical was written, directed and performed by black people. From this first play in the 1890’s there have been a plethora of plays written, directed and performed by black people. Some notable plays include The Wiz, A Raisin in the Sun, Sparkle, Carmen Jones, Dream Girls and The Color Purple. Some notable actors and actresses that have played in black productions include  Billy Porter, James Earl Jones, Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.