GAINES, J. E. ("Sonny Jim" Gaines) ( 1928- ), Playwright, actor, and director. Former member of the New Lafayette Theatre (NLT) in New York City, where he used the stage name of "Sonny Jim" for his work as an actor. Described by ED BULLINS as "the best playwright I know."-- The Theme Is Blackness: The Corner and Other Plays ( 1973). He performed in Bullins In the Wine Time ( 1968); The Fabulous Miss Marie ( 1971), for which he won an Obie Award for acting; and The Corner ( 1972), which he also directed at the Public Theatre. Other acting credits include What the Winesellers Buy (Off- Bway, 1972); the film The Long Night ( 1976); and TV appearances on "Good Times" ( 1976) and "Sanford and Son" ( 1977). Won a Drama Desk Award as most promising playwright, and was a Variety Poll nominee, for his play Don't Let It Go to Your Head ( 1970). Won both the Obie Award and an AUDELCO Award for his play What If It Had Turned Up Heads ( 1972). Address: 2349 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10030.
Don't Let It Go to Your Head (drama, 3 acts, 1970). An American prisoner of war returns home to find that his wife has been unfaithful. Prod. by the New Federal Theatre (NFT), at the Henry St. Theatre, New York, opening Jan. 17, 1972; dir. by GILBERT MOSES. Won for the author a Drama Desk Award for 1971-72, as most promising playwright. Unpub. script in the Hatch-Billops Collection and the Schomburg Collection.
What If It Had Turned Up Heads (drama, 2 acts, 1972). (Title has also been cited as What If It Turns Up Heads.) Music and lyrics coauthored with * James Macbeth. Dramatizes the seamier side of black life among a group of so-called drunks (including one woman) who frequent a basement flat where wine is sold. First prod. as a workshop production at the American Place Theatre, New York, March 1972; dir. by ROBERT MACBETH. Cast included Whitman Mayo, Betty Howard, George Miles, and the author ("Sonny Jim"). Prod. by NLT, Oct. 13, 1972; dir. by William E. Lathan, featuring Carole Cole and the author. Won an Obie Award for the play, and AUDELCO awards