White Grease Paint on Black Performers: A Study of the Federal Theatre, 1935-1939

White Grease Paint on Black Performers: A Study of the Federal Theatre, 1935-1939

by Glenda E. Gill
     
 

This theatre history work is an appraisal of the artistic and political impact of the Federal Theatre of The Great Depression on the careers of representative black actors. These include Canada Lee, Rex Ingram and Dooley Wilson. As an icebreaker, the Federal Theatre made it possible for black actors and audiences to enjoy benefits unknown previously: union

Overview

This theatre history work is an appraisal of the artistic and political impact of the Federal Theatre of The Great Depression on the careers of representative black actors. These include Canada Lee, Rex Ingram and Dooley Wilson. As an icebreaker, the Federal Theatre made it possible for black actors and audiences to enjoy benefits unknown previously: union protection, a theatre for the masses, a reduction of the stereotype, visibility that led to Broadway and to Hollywood, and an ensemble spirit. In spite of the tragedies of the WPA Project, there were significant triumphs.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«...a remarkable account of the struggles of Black theater talents in the Federal Theater Project of the 1930s. Gill has retrieved the lives of giants whose talents had once flashed like comets across the American stage, but whose brilliance has been obscured by racial politics. This is a vital book for understanding Black Theater history.» (James V. Hatch, Archives of Black American Cultural History)
«Glenda Gill tells the vivid, moving, sometimes tragic story of black actors in the Depression-era Federal Theatre Project. Through interviews and extensive research in documents still in private hands, she has uncovered valuable information otherwise inaccessible. This book fills in a missing chapter from the history of theatre in America. It makes an important contribution to black history, but like all great drama, it also brings out the broad significance from the detailed narrative of individual lives.» (Donald G. Marshall, The University of Iowa)
«I have read this book with great pleasure...it covers some important figures at a very important time in the American theatre. Needless to say, it means a lot to me personally since, as the first co-director with Rose McClendon of the Negro theatre Unit of the Federal Theatre, I was directly involved in all but one of these lives...during those wonderfully exciting and formative days.» (John Houseman)
«Professor Gill's study is a vital stimulus toward our understanding of American theatre history.» (James V.Hatch, Theatre Research International)
«...the book deserves to be carefully studied by all theatre historians. It should become a useful supplement to those who teach black theatre either as a separate subject or as a part of American theatre history.» (Winona Lee Fletcher, Indiana University, The American Journal of Theatre History)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820406824
Publisher:
Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/1988
Series:
American University Studies Series: Series 9: History , #40
Pages:
220

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