Musical Theatre

Musical Theatre is a form of art that allows individuals and groups to tell stories through music and dance. Initially, whites kept black people out of the musical theatre through playing them in blackface. Additionally, black people were mocked and made fun of during the era.

African Americans were finally allowed to take part in the industry in early 1900s when they created plays for themselves by themselves. Now African Americans have musicals that have truly dominated the American markets like, for example, Hamilton.

Notable African American Musicals

Shuffle Along

Shuffle Along

The first major Broadway show featuring an all-black cast. It is a musical about a mayoral race, written by Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles. It had a run of 504 performances.
Watch Video

The Wiz

The Wiz

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.
WATCH VIDEO

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

The Color Purple made its Broadway debut in 2004. The musical and novel follow the life of Celie, a girl from Georgia who is separated from her family and forced to marry a farmer.
WATCH VIDEO

dreamgirls

Dreamgirls

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.
WATCH VIDEO