Profiles of African American Stage Performers and Theatre People, 1816-1960

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This directory includes over 500 African American performers and theater people who have made a significant contribution to the American stage from the early 19th century to the beginning of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Entries provide succinct biographical and theatrical information gathered from a variety of sources including library theater and drama collections, dissertations and theses, newspaper and magazine reviews and criticism, theater programs, theatrical memoirs, and earlier performing arts directories. Among the professional artists included in this volume are performers, librettists, lyricists, directors, producers, choreographers, stage managers, and musicians. The individuals profiled represent almost every major category and genre of the professional, semiprofessional, regional, and academic stage including minstrelsy, vaudeville, musical theater, and drama. Persons of historical significance are included as well as those stars and theatrical personalities that were well known during their time but who are relatively forgotten today.

This comprehensive volume will appeal to theater and musical theater, Black studies, and American studies scholars. Cross-referenced throughout, this reference also includes an extensive bibliography and appendices of other theater personalities excluded from the main text. Separate indexes list the personalities, teams and partnerships, and performing groups, organizations, and companies.

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Editorial Reviews

Chronicles the careers of some 760 African Americans in the theater, including playwrights, actors, choreographers, dancers, composers, agents, comedians, and minstrel and vaudeville players. Detailed coverage is given to 340 of them, with information on the rest included in two appendices. Famous performers such as Bert Williams, Florence Mills, Ossie Davis, Paul Robeson, and Josephine Baker are profiled, as well as many of the nineteenth century who are nearly forgotten today. The author, now deceased, was an actor, director, and professor of English and Drama of Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313295348
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2000
  • Pages: 442
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

BERNARD L. PETERSON, JR. is Professor Emeritus of English and Drama at Elizabeth City State University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Preface xv
Acknowledgments xix
Abbreviations xxiii
Symbols xxix
Profiles of African American Stage Performers and Theatre People, 1816-1960 1
Appendix A. Black Theatrical Personalities Mentioned in Various Entries of the Main Directory Who Do Not Have Entries of Their Own 279
Appendix B. Other Black Theatrical Personalities Not Included in the Main Directory 285
Appendix C. Classified List of Performers and Theatre People According to Selected Theatrical Professions 313
Information Sources 345
Index 359
Contributors and Research Consultants 407
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