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

By Allen Woll | Go to book overview

DUNHAM, KATHERINE ( 1910- ). Known primarily as a choreographer, Dunham also appeared in several Broadway shows. She first attracted attention as "Georgia Brown" in Cabin in the Sky* ( 1940). She returned to Broadway for Carib Song* ( 1945), which she co-directed. The following season she produced, directed, and starred in Bal Negre ( 1946). She continued her career as the director of "Katherine Dunham and Her Company," which made occasional Broadway appearances.

Reference: Dunham Katherine, A Touch of Innocence, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1959.


E

EDWARDS, GUS ( 1939- ). Young Gus Edwards met Sidney Poitier* in his native Antigua, and Poitier convinced him to come to the United States and become an actor. He obtained some minor film roles in The Pawnbroker ( 1965) and Stilleto ( 1969), but he soon turned to writing. The success of his 1973 production, Harry, by the New York Theatre Ensemble confirmed his choice of career. The Negro Ensemble Company* ( NEC) produced two of his plays in one season (a first): The Offering* ( 1977) and Black Body Blues* ( 1978). He received a Rockefeller Foundation Grant in 1979, allowing him to complete his play Old Phantoms,* which was produced by the NEC. Mel Gussow of The New York Times observed that this play "offers additional proof of Mr. Edwards' dramatic talent." His most recent work, Weep Not For Me* ( 1981), was also produced by the NEC.

Reference: "Gus Edwards" File, NYPL/TC.

ELDER, LONNE, III ( 1932- ). The acclaimed author of Ceremonies in Dark Old Men* ( 1969), Lonne Elder III, was born in Americus, Georgia, and moved to Harlem at the age of nineteen. While in Harlem he served as an "assistant numbers runner" for his uncle, who later became the model for the character of Russell B. Parker in Ceremonies.

Encouraged by Douglas Turner Ward* and the Negro Ensemble Company* ( NEC), Elder prepared for his playwrighting career. During the early years of the NEC, he served as the director of its Playwrights Unit.

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men received rave notices and won an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award, and a Stella Holt Memorial Playwrights Award.

Elder has written for television ( NYPD and McCloud) as well as for films. His screenplay for Sounder ( 1972) won an Oscar nomination for best screenplay, the first for a black writer.

Reference: The New York Times, February 8, 16, 1969.

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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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