Musical Theater

Musical Theater was the first form of expression that allowed individuals to combine art, music, and dance to tell a story.  Before the early 1900s African Americans were mocked and embarrassed through music theater in performances known as Blackface, where whites would dress as clowns and paint themselves black to imitate how they viewed African Americans. Now African Americans have  plays created for themselves by themselves that express individuality and artistic freedom. 


Before 1900's...
Black Face

For Us By Us

The Wiz was first performed in 1974 and is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz. The Wiz is a story about Dorothy who tries to save her dog and ends up in a land called Oz. She learns about the Wiz, who she believes can help her return to Manhattan. Along her way, she encounters a Tin Man, a Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion.
A jukebox musical that premiered on Broadway in April 2013. The musical is based on Berry Gordy's autobiography To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown (1994), and on the history of his founding and running of the Motown record label, and his personal and professional relationships with Motown artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson.
Dreamgirls opened in 1981 and had a run of 1521 performances. The play was written by Tom Eyen. In the musical, the Dreamettes get an opportunity to be backup singers for a famous star. The musical follows the characters battle for the ultimate spotlight and the path to fame.
The Color Purple follows the life of Celie Johnson (played by Whoppi Goldberg) as she struggles through life in the early 1900s.
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