Dictionary of the Black Theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Selected Harlem Theatre

By Allen Woll | Go to book overview

Contribution Box; Blazasus Chorus; Mermaid's Chorus; Swanee River; Hail to the King; No, You Didn't, Yes I Did; When Buffalo Bill and His Wild West Show Came to Baltimore.

Ernest Hogan ( "The Unbleached American") turned from minstrelsy to the musical comedy stage shortly after the turn of the century. With a talented ensemble, which included Carita Day and John Rucker, Hogan toured the United States with shows he produced and directed. The Oyster Man was a fanciful affair according to the Toledo Blade: "The first act shows scenes on the Atlantic Coast at Baltimore. Later the whole company is transferred to the mystic and marvelous island of Blazasus, where chickens grow on trees, and gin rickeys sprout from the rocks. Scenes of barbaric splendor, painful escapes in which Sunny Sam and the Oyster Man fall into the clutches of bloodthirsty savages, and other developments are sufficient for the company to exhibit their talents to the best advantage."


P

PANSY ( Belmont, May 14, 1929, 3 p.). Producer, composer, and lyricist: Maceo Pinkard. Book: Alex Belledna. Director: Frank Rye.

Cast: Ralph Harris ( Dean Liggett), Al Frisco (James), Tom and Austin Cole (Campus "Cut Ups"), Ida Anderson (Miss Wright), Alfred Chester (Bill), Elizabeth Taylor (Miss Merritt), Pearl McCormack (Pansy), Speedy Wilson (Ulysses Grant Green), Amon Davis (Mrs. Green), Billy Andrews (Bob), Jackie Young (Sadie), W. Crumbley, L. Randall, H. Mattingly, and D. Davis (Penn Comedy Four), and Bessie Smith as herself.

Songs: It's Commencement Day; Break'n the Rhythm; Pansy; Campus Walk; I'd Be Happy; Gettin' Together; Shake a Leg; If the Blues Don't Get You; A Stranger Interlude; A Bouquet of Fond Memories.

The major highlight of Pansy was the appearance of Bessie Smith, who, unfortunately, did not perform until the middle of the second act. At that point, Pansy, a college musical modeled after Good News, virtually disappeared. The restless audience gave Smith a standing ovation and greeted "If the Blues Don't Get You" to "wild applause." After several encores, she retired and returned only briefly in "A Stranger Interlude," a parody of the Eugene O'Neill play. Otherwise, Pansy was quite forgettable.

PAUL ROBESON (Lunt-Fontanne, January 19, 1978, 77 p.). Producer: Don Gregory. Author: Phillip Hayes Dean.* Director: Lloyd Richards.*

Cast: James Earl Jones* (Paul Robeson*), Burt Wallace (Lawrence Brown).

-122-

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Dictionary of the Black Theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Selected Harlem Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • INTRODUCTION: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BLACK THEATRE xiii
  • Part 1: THE SHOWS 1
  • A 3
  • B 11
  • B 49
  • E 57
  • F 72
  • G 90
  • H 94
  • H 96
  • H 122
  • H 142
  • H 163
  • H 173
  • H 179
  • H 181
  • Part II: PERSONALITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS 183
  • A 185
  • B 186
  • C 193
  • D 199
  • D 202
  • D 203
  • G 209
  • H 212
  • I 220
  • J 221
  • K 227
  • K 229
  • K 230
  • N 238
  • O 240
  • P 240
  • P 242
  • P 246
  • P 250
  • P 252
  • W 253
  • Appendix I: A CHRONOLOGY OF THE BLACK THEATRE 267
  • Appendix II: A DISCOGRAPHY OF THE BLACK THEATRE 279
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 281
  • NAME INDEX 289
  • PLAY AND FILM INDEX 326
  • SONG INDEX 338
  • NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS 357
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