This week’s THROWBACK THURSDAY takes a look at Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin in the Sun. Many of you may know that the play is currently being revived at the Barrymore Theatre with a star-studded cast including Denzel Washington, Sophie Okonedo, and Anika Noni Rose. Well today we are taking a look back at the 1959 play that continues to make an impact to this day.
Lorraine Hansberry has left an inimitable legacy that has changed the world, and shaped the perspective of the greatest artists of every generation that has followed. Remarkably known for A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry was the first black playwright, and the youngest American, to win a New York Critics’ Award. This play, about a struggling black family in Chicago, was the first play on Broadway produced by an African-American woman opening at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 11, 1959.
Hey Everyone! I stumbled on this great quick read via For Harriet and had to share it with you all. Keep in mind the title is an abbreviated history, so you won’t be getting all of the faces/names you know and love, but its a great sample!
For Harriet is, “a blog community for women of African ancestry that aspires to educate, inspire and entertain.” The team was gracious enough to let us post a sneak peek of the full article, but make sure to read the rest of it via the link at the end of this post!
An Abbreviated History of Black Women on Broadway
Posted by Alexis Jackson
Playwright Katori Hall
Being featured on New York’s famous Broadway Theaters is a great and difficult accomplishment for any actor, musician, playwright or director. Over the years many black women have worked hard to achieve the highest success in commercial theater by being featured on Broadway, yet their success is little know and little celebrated. Black women have faced and are still facing challenges when it comes to landing on Broadway, but many women have overcome these obstacles to see their names in light on Broadway.
The legacy of success of black women in Broadway started with Ethel Waters in 1927. She became the first black woman to appear on Broadway in the production of Africana. In 1949 she became the second African American woman, after Hattie McDaniel to be nominated for an Academy Award for the film Pinky. Outside of acting, Waters is known for her blues, jazz and gospel singing. Waters broke the color barrier time and time again becoming the first black woman to perform on television, and to be heard on the radio.