Broadway’s neon lights shine with 10 new Black plays, musicals

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Broadway officials have said the shows will go on, but only at 100 percent capacity. So, if New York reinstates restrictions on indoor crowds, Broadway could shutter once again. (Courtesy photo)

Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

After a somewhat experimental reopening in June with “Springsteen on Broadway,” the Great White Way has taken a step further into the mix with the Aug. 4 debut of “Pass Over” at the August Wilson Theatre.

Barring any restrictions, the late summer and fall plays and musicals will feature no less than a dozen African American-themed productions – 10 of which are new.

“There is some great Black entertainment on Broadway,” said Irene Gandy, the legendary and influential Broadway press agent who counts among the few African-American producers.

Among those Gandy and others have expressed excitement over are “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” “For Colored Girls,” and “Skeleton Crew.” The latter stars Phylicia Rashad and was written by “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” writer Dominique Morisseau.

“Tina,” the stirring musical on the life of pop superstar Tina Turner also makes its debut this fall. According to a fact sheet, “Tina” reviews the life of superstar Tina Turner from humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock’ n’ Roll.

“Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules; she rewrote them,” producers of the show noted. “This new hit stage musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender, and race.​”

Among the off-Broadway offerings is “Sistas: The Musical,” an uplifting musical journey featuring a playlist of songs by Billie Holliday, Lena Horne, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Beyoncé, and other female African American greats.

“There are Black people on Broadway,” declared Gandy, who also worked in the music industry with legends like BB King, Patti LaBelle and The Jackson 5.

Gandy also served as a producer on “Lady Day,” and “Porgy & Bess,” which earned the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

“Broadway is green,” Gandy said. “Now we have 10 Black shows coming, ‘Pass Over,’ ‘Lackawanna Blues,’ ‘Chicken’ N Biscuits,’ and we have ‘MJ the Musical.’ Come out and see them.”

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