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

By Allen Woll | Go to book overview

JORDAN, JOE ( 1882- ). Jordan studied music in St. Louis where he played ragtime piano in cafes. He became director of music at Chicago's Pekin Theatre in 1906 and later moved to New York City. He provided both songs and complete scores for a variety of shows, including Bandana Land* ( 1908), Bottomland* ( 1927), Deep Harlem* ( 1929), Brown Buddies* ( 1930), and Fast and Furious* ( 1931).

Reference: Blesh Rudi, and Harriet Janis, They All Played Ragtime, New York: Oak Publications, 1971.


K

KENNEDY, ADRIENNE ( 1931- ). Kennedy was born Adrienne Lita Hawkins on September 13, 1931. When she was four, the Hawkins family moved from Georgia to Cleveland, Ohio. Adrienne's mother, who was a teacher, encouraged her daughter to compete in the predominantly white neighborhood where they lived. Adrienne later attended Ohio State University, where social life was dominated by sororities and football, and she recalls black students were subjected to blatant racial prejudice, ridicule, and humiliation.

Two weeks after graduation with a degree in education, Adrienne married Joseph C. Kennedy on May 15, 1953. When the army sent her husband to Korea six months after their marriage, Adrienne returned home to live with her parents. There she wrote her first play based on Elmer Rice Street Scene to distract her from being alone at night. After Joseph returned to the United States to continue his graduate studies at Columbia, the Kennedys moved to New York City. Adrienne studied creative writing at Columbia from 1954 to 1956. In 1957, 1958, and 1962, she studied playwrighting at the New School, the American Theatre Wing, and Circle in the Square. Two years after her first attempt at playwrighting, she wrote a play patterned after Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie titled Pale Blue Flowers, which has not been published or produced.

Adrienne Kennedy began writing Funnyhouse of a Negro,* her most celebrated work, in 1961 in Africa. When she completed it, she submitted it to Edward Albee's workshop at Circle in the Square, where it was produced with Diana Sands* in the central role. The play portrays the personality fragmentation of Sarah the Negro, an English major, into four identities: QueenVictoria, the Duchess of Hapsburg, Jesus, and Patrice Lumumba. Sarah experiences the conflict within her own soul between the cool whiteness and submissive femininity of her mother and the rebellious blackness and aggressive masculinity of her father. Kennedy received an Obie Award for the production of Funnyhouse of a Negro.

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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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