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February 8, 2022

Black Voices in Theatre Before and After A Raisin in the Sun


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Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun was a turning point in the history of the American theatre. Years before the play premiered, W.E.B. DuBois noted in “Four Principles of Negro Theater” that theatre lacked plays “about, by, for and near” Black Americans. A Raisin in the Sun marked one of the first times that Black life was essentialized onstage – making the dictum that theatre “holds a mirror up to nature” true for all citizens of the United States. The play’s Broadway premiere, featuring the late, great Sidney Poitier, opened the door to the voices of several Black theatre writers.

But Black writers had been creating groundbreaking work for decades before A Raisin in the Sun gained widespread acclaim. Here’s a look at the landscape of theatre “about, by, for and near” Black artists before and after Raisin’s 1959 premiere. Playwrights are listed by the dates in which their work was most actively performed and published.

 


Black Writers Working Before 1959

Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

The famed novelist and author of The Three Musketeers (US/UK) built a career as a dramatist before going on to work in exclusively written forms. His play about Henry III was one of the first Romantic historical dramas to grace the Parisian stage, preceding even works by Victor Hugo. Notwithstanding his personal success, Dumas dealt with discrimination regarding his mixed-race ancestry.

Concord Theatricals represents many adaptations of Dumas’ literary work: Camille, charting the doomed love between a Parisian courtesan and a Marquis’ son – both Pam Gems’ dramatic translation  of the work (US), and Charles Ludlam’s comedic rendering (US/UK); Tower [La Tour De Nesle], or Marguerite De Bourgogne (UK), a tale of murder, sexual depravity and treachery among the French aristocracy; and Don Nigro’s telling of The Count of Monte Cristo (US), a metatheatrical take on Dumas’ tale of Edmond Dantes’ imprisonment in the dungeon of the Château d’If. A musical adaptation of the novel, in which a ragtag group of actors try to stage the novel, is also available as Not The Count of Monte Cristo?! (US).

Eulalie Spence (1894-1981)

Often considered one of the most experienced female playwrights prior to the 1950s, Eulalie Spence was an active member of the Harlem Renaissance, and a mentor to theatrical producer Joseph Papp, founder of The Public Theater. W.E.B. DuBois’ notion of a Black theatre led to the founding of the Krigwa Players around 1926. Spence’s play Fool’s Errand was produced by the Krigwa Players as part of the Fifth Annual Little Theatre Tournament in 1927, and the Players won a $200 prize at the festival, leading to the play’s publication.

Fool’s Errand follows the plight of a young woman, Maza, who is accused of being pregnant out of wedlock. Just before Maza is forced into marrying the wrong man, Maza’s mother is discovered to be the expectant new mother, proving the community’s persecution of Maza to be completely baseless.

It’s challenging to find a script for Spence’s plays – archival materials might be available through your local university library. Ask an archivist!

Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880-1966)

Johnson, another vital voice in the Harlem Renaissance and a prolific playwright and poet, had her 1928 play Plumes published. The one-act concerns a mother who faces the heartbreaking decision of having to choose between an expensive cure for her sick daughter, or throwing a lavish funeral for her, a rite denied her other children, complete with “everythin’ gran—plumes!” As with Spence, most of Johnson’s plays are only available via institutional archives.

Langston Hughes (1901-1967)

A veritable leader of Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes was an avid poet, activist, playwright and columnist originally born in Missouri. His poem “Harlem” appear as the preface to many printed editions of A Raisin in the Sun, and a line from the poem is where the play gets its name:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?

In the mid-1930s, Hughes began working with Karamu Theatre of Cleveland’s Gildpin Players, who performed many of Hughes’ comedies, including Little Ham, When the Jack Hollers and Joy to My Soul. Little Ham, written around 1935, is a Harlem-set madcap comedy, following the comic anti-hero Ham in a classic boy-meets-girl story. Concord Theatricals proudly licenses a musical adaptation of Langston Hughes’s Little Ham (US) telling the story of fast-footed Ham in the context of an ebullient jazz score.

Richard Wright (1908-1960)

Richard Wright was a ferocious novelist who worked tirelessly from the 1920s through the day of his death, of a heart attack, at age 52. His novel Native Son depicted the world through the eyes and ears of a 20-year-old, unemployed Black man named Bigger Thomas. Wright belonged to a generation of writers who came of age in the turbulent interwar period of the 1920s, and actively wrote beginning in around the 1930s. In 1932, Wright began writing with the Federal Writer’s Project, part of the WPA program that emerged out of FDR’s New Deal.

In 1940, he adapted Native Son (US/UK) into a stage work with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green. One of the most thematically crucial and complex novels of the first half of the 20th century, the stage adaptation remains an enduring, wrenching story about an impoverished and oppressed man trapped in the very depths of human existence and in a destiny defined and compelled by others.

Louis Peterson (1922-1998)

Peterson’s first full-length play, Take a Giant Step (US), opened on Broadway in 1953, and was one of the first plays by a Black American playwright to do so. The play follows a Black boy’s journey into a bewildering adulthood, where he slowly finds himself estranged from his white playmates before being expelled from school. Lonely and confused, he finds himself beaten down by the world around him until he finally unburdens his heart to the family maid, who provides new experiences that allow his coming of age.

Prior to Take a Giant Step’s premiere, Peterson studied acting with the lauded teacher Sanford Meisner. He also studied at the Actors’ Studio, where James Baldwin found a theatrical home. Following the success of his first play, Peterson went on to write a number of screenplays, one of which, for the 1956 film Joey, earned him an Emmy nomination.

James Baldwin (1924-1987)

Known primarily for his fiction and non-fiction essays, James Baldwin dealt with deep, personal questions amid complex social and psychological pressures. His 1954 play The Amen Corner (US/UK) grapples with issues of racism, poverty and the role of the church in Black American lives, and centers the female pastor of a Harlem church. In 1964, he published Blues for Mister Charlie (US), based “very distantly indeed on the case of Emmett Till,” and is set in “Plaguetown, U.S.A., now. The plague is race… and this raging plague has the power to destroy every human relationship.”

Baldwin had a contrarian relationship to the American Theatre. Given theatre’s position as a reflection of American society, Baldwin often questioned how a society whose mythology ignored the nation’s history of violence and injustice could possibly have a rich theatrical world. As he vehemently pursued his mission of deconstructing what he perceived as a “false consciousness” pervading American minds, he wrote fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry – never confining himself to a singular vision or form.

Despite his doubts about the American Theatre, his plays received premieres on Broadway and off. A stage version of his novel Giovanni’s Room (1958) found success at the Actors’ Studio. The Amen Corner was workshopped for over ten years before it gained a foothold off-Broadway, and Baldwin struggled to have Blues for Mister Charlie staged, given the piece’s controversial content (which remains contentious today).

Alice Childress (1916-1994)

Alice Childress describes her work as an attempt to write about the have-nots in society: “My writing attempts to interpret the ‘ordinary’ because they are not ordinary. Each human is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice. We are uncommonly and marvelously intricate in thought and action, our problems are most complex and, too often, silently borne.”

Childress wrote continuously for four decades. Her 1950 play, Just a Little Simple, based on the Langston Hughes novel Simple Speaks His Mind, was produced in Harlem in the same year. Following the success of this and another of her plays in Harlem, Childress was able to create an off-Broadway union for actors that raised the standard for theatre workers in the mid-20th century.

Her first full-length play, Trouble in Mind, which follows a group of Black actors rehearsing an anti-lynching play under the direction of a white director and stage manager, was presented off-Broadway in 1955, and its popularity led it to be optioned for Broadway the following year. However, Broadway producers asked Childress to change the play’s ending, to make it more reconciliatory, and her refusal meant the play would not have its premiere that year. The play recently ran at Roundabout Theatre Company, marking the play’s long-awaited Broadway debut in an acclaimed run starring Tony winner LaChanze as the central character.

Her next full-length dramatic work, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White (US), about the romance between Julia, a Black seamstress, and Herman, her white lover, searingly addressed prejudice and ignorance in early 20th-century America. Written in 1962, the play didn’t premiere until 1966, and only showed in New York a decade after it was written.

 


1959: A Raisin in the Sun Premieres on Broadway

 

On March 11, 1959, A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway. Sidney Poitier, who had accrued numerous accolades and was becoming well known as an actor at the time, helped facilitate the play’s premiere. In 1968 essay on Poitier, James Baldwin wrote, “I will always remember seeing Sidney in A Raisin in the Sun. It says a great deal about Sidney, and it also says, negatively, a great deal about the regime under which American artists work, that that play would almost certainly never have been done if Sidney had not agreed to appear in it. Sidney has a fantastic presence on the stage, a dangerous electricity that is rare indeed and lights up everything for miles around.”

The play had a monumental impact. The communion between actors and the audience is one in which the actors and audience recreate each other; and despite the above successes, no play had the incredible turnout that Raisin did at the time of its premiere. In anticipation of the play’s Broadway debut, Lorraine Hansberry wrote to her mother, “It is a play that tells the truth about people, Negroes and life and I think it will help a lot of people to understand how we are just as complicated as they are—and just as mixed up—but above all, that we have among our miserable and downtrodden ranks—people who are the very essence of human dignity. That is what, after all the laughter and tears, the play is supposed to say. I hope it will make you proud.”

And proud it makes the theatre community, as is evident in the piece’s reproduction year after year. In the decades following, an explosion of work from a variety of Black authors filled stages—and began to explore broader themes, breaking out of traditional realist forms.

 


Black Writers Working After 1959

 

Ossie Davis (1917-2005)

A prolific artist on the stage and screen, Ossie Davis starred in over 100 feature films and television shows – notable appearances include his portrayal of Ramon Borelle in Hawaii Five-O, and as the second juror in the TV movie of 12 Angry Men. He made his film debut in No Way Out, a film that starred Sidney Poitier. In addition to his life on the screen, Ossie also penned the play Purlie Victorious (US), a play which was hailed by the New York Herald Tribune as “a bucketful of bristling laughs.” The story follows the titular character’s attempt to save a local church in order to ring its freedom bell. The play was adapted into a musical by Davis in collaboration with Phillip Rose, Peter Udell and Gary Geld. Purlie (US) features catchy songs and beautifully layered choral harmonies.

Davis was highly active during the Civil Rights Movement and maintained close relationship with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. He was deeply involved in organizing 1963’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and was one of the lead speakers at the event. He also notably gave a eulogy at Malcolm X’s funeral, part of which was included at the end of Spike Lee’s film, Malcolm X.

Ed Bullins (1935-2021)

Ed Bullins, who sometimes published under the pseudonym Kingsley B. Bass Jr., was an Obie Award-winning playwright, and was deeply associated with the Black Arts Movement of the 60s and 70s. Just before his passing in November 2021, he was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Dramatists Guild. He was a non-stop scrawler, penning over 27 plays between 1965 and the early 2000s.

His play Goin’ a Buffalo (US) premiered in 1966, and deals with a group of people trying to escape the relentless cycle of crime and poverty that dominates their lives. They choose to start over in Buffalo, New York. A collection of his short plays titled The Theme is Blackness (US) also premiered in 1966 in San Francisco. Together, the plays form a conceptual performance piece which takes inspiration from West African philosophy, which emphasized a non-objective and participatory approach to the arts. The pieces ask the audience to contemplate Blackness as removed from the physical body.

Bullins’ first major work, In the Wine Time (US), which was produced at the New Lafayette Theatre in New York City in 1968, examines the scarcity of options available to poor, Black Americans. The play focuses on a group of friends who live on a small street. They go out to their front porch to drink and observe the world around them as it is consumed by violence, sex and addiction.

Lonne Elder III (1927-1996)

Elder was a leading writer who worked to raise the social and political consciousness of the New York theatre world. In addition to being a playwright, Elder was also an actor and screenwriter. He played Bobo in the original Broadway cast of Raisin.

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men (US), written by Elder in 1965, was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969. Of the play, Baldwin wrote, “Ceremonies is the most truthful play I have seen in a long time. Everyone connected with it deserves a prize.” Compared to Raisin by many critics, the drama depicts a family who aspires to improve their life, but who’s attempts to better themselves result in tragedy. Together, the characters of the play, set in a Harlem neighborhood, capture an urban community at a pivotal time for the politics of race, business and real estate.

In discussing Ceremonies with the New York Times, Elder said, “I wrote to write, out of my guts and heart. I wanted to cause some wonder in the minds of people. I don’t rant or rave about the terror of our racist society. It is never directly stated, it is just there.”

Joseph A. Walker (1935-2003)

Along with his wife, Dorothy A. Dinroe, Walker wrote, directed and co-choreographed the musical Ododo (US), in which a conjurer calls fourth the spirits of the original Black folk in order to trace their history from his beginnings in Africa to the present. Ododo was performed by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1970.

Walker was one of the first Black Americans to be nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, following in the footsteps of Lorraine Hansberry. His three-act piece The River Niger (US), a surging drama about a Harlem family facing unrest when their son returns from the air force, had such a tremendous impact when it premiered off-Broadway that it was moved to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. In 1974, the work won the Tony Award for Best Play.

Amiri Baraka, previously known as LeRoi Jones (1934-2014)

Baraka’s literary works span nearly 52 years: he was an avid poet, playwright and cultural critic whose work is often considered divisive. His 1964 play Dutchman (US/UK), which follows a lascivious blonde woman’s vulgar attempts to seduce a decent Black youth on a subway car, was first presented at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City, and won an Obie Award. In 1967, the play was adapted into a film. The quipping, one-act play is rich with symbolism; the title references the Dutch ships that carried human beings across the Atlantic Ocean during the triangle trade over the course of the 16th through the 19th century. Since its premiere, Dutchman has seen several revivals both in professional theatres and at schools across the United States.

During the course of his life, Baraka moved through several Black political movements. In the 60s and early 70s, he advocated for Black cultural nationalism—though he later turned towards Marxism. He was arrested in the summer of 1979, and his 90-day sentence prevented him from attending a White House reception held in honor of American poets. Later in his life, Baraka taught at several universities, and he served a brief tenure as the Poet Laureate of New Jersey.

Micki Grant (1929-2021)

Grant was the first woman to write the book, music and lyrics to a Broadway musical. Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope (US), a soulful, spirited exploration of Black life, opened at the Playhouse Theatre in 1972. Co-conceived with and directed by Vinnette Carol, the musical was nominated for a Tony as Best Musical of the season. Its score infuses jazz, calypso and rock into a spectacular performance of song and dance. Find a cast recording of the musical on YouTube.

Grant was smitten by music and theatre at a young age. At around age 8, she began to play the double bass, taking lessons on the instrument in addition to piano lessons. She had a seven-year run on the NBC soap opera Another World, where she played a secretary-turned-lawyer. In reflecting on Don’t Bother Me, Grant said, “There was a lot of angry theater out there at the time, especially in the Black community – Bullins, Jones [LeRoi Jones, who became known as Amiri Baraka]  – I wanted to come at it with a soft fist. I wanted to open eyes but not turn eyes away.” Grant passed away in August 2021 at the age of 92.

In addition to her Broadway hit, Grant also wrote the musical It’s So Nice to Be Civilized (US), a portrait of the Black residents of Sweetbitter Street and the social worker whose job it is to initiate an art project in the ghetto; and The Prodigal Sister (US), co-written with J.E. Franklin, an updated, musical version of “The Prodigal Son.” The Prodigal Sister follows Jackie, whose teenage pregnancy leads her to escape to a new life in Baltimore—when she returns home, she finds forgiveness and well-being with her family again.

Judi Ann Mason (1955-2009)

Mason was a writer who wrote primarily for television, but she got her start as a playwright—a career for which she discovered a passion in high school. When Mason was only 19, she wrote the play Livin’ Fat (US), which follows a southern family who receives a sudden windfall of money in the chaos of a bank robbery. The family has a conniption over whether it’s their right to keep the money or not. Livin’ Fat won the Norman Lear Award for comedy writing from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The following year, Mason won the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award for A Star Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hole in Heaven (US), which is at once a comedy and a serious exploration of human loss. Hole in Heaven centers on a girl’s coming of age in rural Louisiana: if Pokie accepts a scholarship to an Ohio college, her fragile uncle and dying aunt will be left alone on their farm.

Living in New York City after college, Mason was a member of the Negro Ensemble Company. She wrote professionally for the sitcoms Good Times and Sanford and Son, and the teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210. She also worked on the feature film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Her writing style blends farce and physical comedy with drama that gives way to serious questions human beings face over the course of their lifetime.

Leslie Lee (1930-2014)

A director, playwright and professor of playwriting and screenwriting at the College of Old Westbury, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The New School, Leslie was an essential voice in the American Theatre whose work began to emerge in the 1970s. His first experiences in theatre were at the La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in New York City’s East Village. He went on to work with the Negro Ensemble Company and the Signature Theatre Company.

His play Colored People’s Time (US), which premiered in 1975 in a production starring Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson, won an Obie for Best Play in 1975, and a Tony nomination in 1976. The play is hailed as “nothing less than a history of Black America from the eve of the Civil War to the Montgomery bus boycott a century play.” Following the success of Colored People’s Time, Lee wrote The First Breeze of Summer (US/UK), a striking and complex drama about a middle class Black family in a small Northeastern city. First Breeze deals with two layers of narration: the goings-on in the family house one summer weekend, and flashbacks to the memories of the visiting grandmother as a young woman, who recalls three men who are the fathers of her three children. First Breeze also premiered in 1975, and was directed by Douglas Turner Ward, who worked with Hansberry on A Raisin in the Sun.

Charles Fuller

Best known for A Soldier’s Play (US), which won a Tony Award in 2022 for Best Revival of a Play and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1982, the year of its premiere, Fuller is a playwright from Philadelphia. Between his years at university, he served in the U.S. Army, serving in Japan and South Korea. A Soldier’s Play, set in a segregated Louisiana army camp in 1944, traces the story of a Black captain assigned to investigate the murder of a sergeant of the Black regiment. The captain discovers deep-seated hatred and corruption among the men in the company. The play premiered off-Broadway in a presentation by the Negro Ensemble Company, under the artistic direction of Douglas Turner Ward.

Prior to A Soldier’s Play, Fuller penned Zooman and the Sign (US), a piece about a Black teen in Philadelphia who terrorizes his community without regard to race. Zooman won an Obie Award in 1980.

Samm-Art Williams

Williams came to theatre as in actor, performing with the Negro Ensemble Company in the 1970s. He was an understudy in Leslie Lee’s The First Breeze of Summer at the Palace Theatre. Williams’ first major work, Home (US), was produced by the NEC at St. Mark’s Playhouse from 1979-80 before being transferred to Broadway, where it played for nearly 8 months. Home, which deals joyfully with the coming of age of a young man from South Carolina, earned a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination for its Broadway run.

Eyes of the American (US), which first premiered in 1985, provides rich roles for three actors, and reflects on power, dictatorship and colonialism. In Eyes, a CIA agent posing as a tourist in the Caribbean meets a taxi driver leading a revolution. Woman from the Town (US), a play by Williams which opened in 1990, follows Lila Wilson’s return to her roots on the North Carolina farm where she grew up. Pregnant out of wedlock, she was run out of town, and became a successful real estate developer in New York City—her return is an effort of revenge against the inhabitants of the rural community who have defaulted on their loans. Lila realizes too late that the people she wants to avenge are long in their graves.

Charles Richard Johnson

Johnson’s works blend historically accurate takes on Black experience with elements of fantasy and parable. His work first rose into the limelight in the 1960s—Johnson was a cartoonist and illustrator. His first cartoons were published in the magazine of a magic company in Chicago, before he went on to work for the Chicago Tribune. He went on to study journalism and philosophy at Southern Illinois University before earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stony Brook.

He is the author of the delightful romantic comedy, All This and Moonlight (US), which was published in 1990 by Samuel French. The play follows protagonist Ned through several blooming romances that he can’t avoid comparing to his relationship with his long-lost love, Ellie. Ellie proceeds to accompany Ned on his dates, commenting on the unique women he ends up dating. Another of his plays, Olly Olly Oxen Free (US), published in 1988, is a three-act farce about a successful children’s writer who acts out his books with his collection of stuffed animals. The writer’s wife, Kitty, is forced to get his attention in dastardly ways, leading to the appearance of a dubious being claiming to be George’s guardian angel.

Ntozake Shange (1948-2018)

Shange was an artist who cracked open the theatrical form with her blend of choreography and poetry, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf (US/UK). The play, which premiered in 1977 and is receiving a 2022 Broadway revival, was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. The piece was also up for Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album. The piece is a spellbinding collection of vivid prose and free verse narratives about and performed by Black women. As a Black feminist, Shange’s writing deals with race, gender, and Black power. As a child, Shange was bused to a white school in St. Louis following the Brown v. Board of Education court decision. Her family was deeply invested in the arts and encouraged her budding poetic sensibility. Her writing engages in a rebellion against western cultural aesthetics, both in spelling, structure and style.

Shange’s other works include Spell #7 (US), a humanely upbeat choreopoem set in a St. Louis bar frequented by artists and musicians. The artists bare their souls in soliloquies and mood dances; A Photograph: Lovers in Motion (US), which is a more traditional play that follows a young Black man who is trying to make it as a professional photographer, surrounded by caricatures of Black people “gone wrong”; and From Okra to Greens (US), a stunning, poetic work that portrays the archetypal Black couple Okra and Greens, whose story is elevated by a chorus of dancers who weave in and out of their lives to the beat of contemporary music.

James de Jongh

Currently an Emeritus Professor for the English Ph.D. program at the City College of New York, James de Jongh is the author of several nonfiction volumes in addition to his work as a playwright. He began his work in the theatre as an actor in Death of a Prophet, by Woodie King Jr. His play Do Lord Remember Me (US), published in 1983, is a collage of song, dance and dialogue based on the firsthand memories of former slaves, recorded in the late 1930s under the Federal Writer’s Project. With Charles Cleveland and Jimi Foster, de Jongh wrote Play to Win (US), a musical for young audiences dramatizing Jackie Robinson’s determination to be the best baseball player in America despite the insurmountable barriers of racism that he faced as he came of age.

Ramona King

Closely affiliated with the New Federal Theatre, Ramona King addresses unspoken agreements and empowered living for youth and adults living in New Mexico, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida. As a performer, King toured with Young Audiences of Houston and Express Children’s Theater of Houston, TX. She used to be a producer for the NPR-affiliated radio show “The Spoken Word Hour.” Her full-length play Wildlife! (US/UK) tells the unmatched story of seven women accused of murder, who fought to give their lives to save a little girl’s future. Over the course of the play, the women find solace in one another and reveal their personal histories to each other, finding trust and a common cause, protecting themselves against an otherwise cruel outside world.

August Wilson (1945-2005)

“If you do not know, I will tell you: Black theatre in America is alive, it is vibrant, it is vital… it just isn’t funded.” In a speech he delivered at the 1996 Theatre Communications Group national conference, August Wilson gave a speech that he later published under the title “The Ground on Which I Stand.” The speech pre-empts the present moment’s ubiquitous concern for representation across the board in various cultural sectors, and made a case that Black theatremakers have a right to be self-defining, rather than folks who rely on being accepted and brought into regional theatres as “guests.” Through the speech and his works, Wilson fought to carve out a permanent home for Black artists.

August Wilson is most famous for his “Century Cycle” of plays—ten plays which chronicle the experiences and heritage of the Black community, with one play for each decade of the 20th century. Two of these plays received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama—Fences (US/UK) and The Piano Lesson (US/UK)—with Fences winning the Tony Award for Best Play in 1984. Wilson was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2006.

For a detailed discussion of each of the ten plays in the Century Cycle, check out this article in Breaking Character.


For more inspirational plays and musicals by Black authors, including shows by contemporary authors such as Dominique Morisseau, Aleshea Harris and Lydia R. Diamond, visit Concord Theatricals in the US or UK.

Header Images: 2013 National Theatre Production of The Amen Corner (Tristram Kenton); 2019 Williamstown Theatre Festival Production of A Raisin in the Sun (Jeremy Daniel); 2019 Public Theater Production of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf (Joan Marcus).