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

By Allen Woll | Go to book overview

played as the D'Oyly Carte troupe might have done it. The New York Times felt the show came alive as the Mikado ( Edward Fraction) "burst out into a cakewalk" and the Three Little Maids from school "strutted what they had learned there."

SWINGIN' THE DREAM (Center, November 29, 1939, 13 p.). Producer and director: Erik Charell. Book: Gilbert Seldes and Erik Charell (based on Shakespeare "A Midsummer Night's Dream"). Composer: Jimmy Van Heusen. Lyricist: Eddie De Lange.

Cast: Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong (Bottom, Pyramus), Maxine Sullivan (Titania), Jackie Mabley (Quince), Oscar Polk (Flute), Troy Brown (Snout), Nicodemus (Starveling), Gerald de la Fontaine (Snug), Bill Bailey (Cupid), Juan Hernandez* (Oberon), Herman Green (Majordomo), Joseph Holland (Theodore, Governor of Louisiana), Ruth Ford (Polly), Catheryn Laughlin (Crimson), George LeSoir (Egbert), Eleanor Lynn (Gloria), Thomas Coley (Cornelius), Boyd Crawford (Alexander), Dorothy McGuire (Helena), Alberta Perkins (Peaceful Pearl), Butterfly McQueen (Puck), Vivian, Dorothy, and Etta Dandridge (Pixies), Sunny Payne (Drummer Boy).

Songs: Peace, Brother; There's Gotta Be a Wedding; Swingin' a Dream; Moonland; Love's a Riddle; Darn That Dream; Doing the Saboo; Jumpin' at the Woodside; Pick-a-Rib.

During the previous season, New Yorkers viewed The Swing Mikado*; now Shakespeare would join the swing parade with a musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The play was moved to New Orleans in 1890, with Billy Bottom ( Louis Armstrong) and his cast of "simple artisans" leading the revelry.

Despite the presence of an excellent cast, most critics dismissed the new Dream. John Chapman of The News objected strongly to the show: "For foolish casting, take Louis Armstrong, dressed as a fireman and always carrying his trumpet, as Bottom. Or Maxine Sullivan, with a World's Fair Guide chair as her throne, as Titania. Butterfly McQueen as Puck-- carrying a flit gun with which to charm her sleeping victims. . . . Juan Hernandez as Oberon, who slides down a hollow tree on a fireman's pole . . ." Swingin' the Dream closed swiftly and helped to cure the swing fever that was sweeping Broadway.


T

TABOO ( Sam H. Harris, April 4, 1922, 3 p.). Producer and director: Augustin Duncan. Author: Mary Hoyt Wiborg. Cast: Marie Stuart (Aunt Angy), Fannie Belle de Knight (Mammy

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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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