Musical Theater

The first shows were Black people were represented through black face in the 1890s. This was a widely used technique for people to get exposure, which is displayed in Bert Williams and George Walker’s careers. They were both African Americans that performed as racist caricatures and called themselves the Two Real Coons and they often performed the Cake walk.  The Cake walk became very popular in 1898, where black people would imitates their masters and the best performance would “Take the Cake.” This was a form of entertainment to their masters and became so popular that there were championships that were held in New York’s Madison Square Garden.  It was a early influence to ragtime music.

African Americans were finally being portrayed as something other than caricatures in the middle of the 20th century. Some very popular musicals are the Dreamgirls and Raisin


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