By Kyle Fraser
Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930: its cover features a color print of a poster promoting Haiti, the Federal Theater Project’s (FTP)’celebration of the anticolonial revolution’. The old adage warns against judging books by their covers.
Fine. But in this post-palpable atmosphere of digitized letters, in which read-only text files are unzipped and consumed with increasing regularity, a book cover, when available, shouldn’t go overlooked either. Produced by the FTP’s Harlem Unit in 1938, Haiti, a story of black empowerment revived by William (no Burghardt) Du Bois enjoyed a 103-show run at the storied Lafayette Theater, (just two years after a 20-year old Orson Welles-directed version of ‘Macbeth’—set in Haiti and with an all-black cast—opened to such fervor that 7thavenue had to be shut down for ten blocks in each direction of the theater) selling ‘some 74,000 tickets’ and prompting a theater reviewer to declare that Harlem had ‘stole [n] some of Broadway’s thunder’ in Time’s March issue that year. “Theatre: New Plays in Manhattan.” Time Magazine 14March 1938. Print. Continue reading
Posted in Books, Harlem, Harlem Style, HW History, HW Picks, Review
Tagged african american, Blackface, David Nasaw, Frederick Douglass, Haiti, Hubert Julian, New York, Orson Welles, W. Fitzhugh Brundage
Divas Eartha Kitt and Lena Horne signed this 1st edition book Black Musical Theatre From Coontown to Dreamgirls by Allen Woll.
Posted in Books, Collectible, Harlem
Tagged Allen Woll, arts, Curtis King, Dreamgirls, Eartha Kitt, Eva Jessye, Julie Newmar, Lena Horne, LP record, Marc B. Shapiro, Martin Luther King, Orson Welles, The New York Times Best Seller list
Pulse Ensemble Theatre’s Harlem Summer Shakespeare production of “Macbeth,” which was to be presented in Riverbank State Park’s park’s indoor theater facility August 12-28, has been shifted at the last moment to the park’s Amphitheater on the same dates, making it possible to present the production under the stars.
The Pulse Ensemble Theater follows a long tradition of “Macbeth” being performed in Harlem, with the first being Orson Welles production in 1936 at the New Lafayette Theater (see video below).
FTP all-black production of MacBeth in 1936
We thought this was an interesting article, in passing they mention Orsen Welles 1936 production of MacBeth in Harlem. It’s starts with a little history:
“…The Roosevelt administration…designed government programs that selected African Americans and other people of color for training and jobs…. Continue reading