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Langston Hughes’ Poem The Black Clown Begins New York Premiere

The Black Clown Cast Photo: Maggie Hall
Drew Shade



Adapted from the Langston Hughes poem, The Black Clown by Davóne TinesMichael Schachter begins performances today at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival.

Performed by bass-baritone Tines in the title role plus an ensemble of twelve, The Black Clown evolved from a song cycle that Tines and composer Michael Schachter created based on the poem and Hughes’s corresponding stage direction-like corresponding description of “The Mood.” 

Directed by Zack Winokur, with choreography by Chanel DaSilva and musical direction by Jaret LandonThe Black Clown is a music theater experience that draws on vaudeville, gospel, opera, jazz, New Orleans brass band, and spirituals to bring to the stage Langston Hughes’s poem about a Black man’s resilience against a legacy of oppression. 

“When I first read The Black Clown it was like receiving a revelation that gave name to the experience of my existence as a Black man in America that I had never been able to articulate. I identified with this clown whose forced role represents a wholesale relegation of Black existence to something less than human, a farce of a being, a fool only playing at being real. Hughes names this existence then situates it within the larger context of history to show that the oppression of the present is inextricably linked to the failures of the past. Hughes’s clown is able to transcend his oppression by calling on the strength and spirit of his entire ancestry.  He connects to a greater mandate from all of time and the universe that humanity is inexorably his to claim. This was a story I knew I needed to live and relive and share.” says Tines

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Friday, July 26, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

A production of American Repertory Theater at Harvard University

With the kind cooperation of the Estate of Langston Hughes

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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Limited Engagement

Happening Now! A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare in the Park

Broadway Black



The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park continues with the Bard’s classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now through August 8, the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park will be open to the public to enjoy Shakespeare’s classic tale about four lovers who mistake each other for the wrong person after consuming a magical love potion concocted by a meddling forest sprite. With true love, mischief and a talking donkey head-chaos ensues.

Courtesy of The Public Theater

The Public’s second free production of the summer features Phylicia Rashad (Titania), De’Adre Aziza (Hippolyta), Patrena Murray (Snout), Shalita Grant (Hermia) and Kyle Beltran (Lysander); as well as Annaleigh Ashford (Helena); Vinie Burrows (First Fairy, Peaseblossom); Danny Burstein (Nick Bottom); Justin Cunningham (Philostrate); Marcelle Davies-Lashley (Fairy Singer); Austin Durant (Snug); Keith Hart (Third Fairy); Alex Hernandez (Demetrius); Jeff Hiller (Francis Flute); Robert Joy (Peter Quince); Patricia Lewis (Fourth Fairy); David Manis (Egeus, Cobweb); Pamela McPherson-Cornelius (Second Fairy); Kristine Nielsen (Puck); Bhavesh Patel (Theseus); Richard Poe (Oberon); Joe Tapper (Robin Starveling); Judith Wagner (Mote); Warren Wyss (Mustardseed); Benjamin Ye (Changeling Boy). Direction by the Public’s Resident Director and Founder of the Public Works program, Lear deBessonet with choreography by Chase Brock.

Click here for info on how to get your free tickets visit

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Limited Engagement

3 Shows You’ll Want To See At The New York Musical Festival

Broadway Black



For a one month period every summer, The Theatre District in NYC welcomes aspiring and up-and-coming playwrights, composers, directors and performers to the New York Musical Festival. This year, from July 10 to August 6, theatre artists from around the world will gather to introduce new projects to the community, with the hope of someday producing a full length musical and/or concert, ultimately transferring their show to Broadway.

In years past, shows such as In Transit (NYMF ’04) and Next to Normal (NYMF ’05 as Feeling Electric) made their public debut at NYMF before making their way to Broadway. This year’s festival includes 20 full length productions, 14 concerts and beta musicals, and 10 developmental readings in addition to educational workshops and panels hosted by the Honest Accomplice Theater. This years honorary chair is none other than 6 time Tony Award winner, and Broadway Black legend, Audra McDonald.

Here are Broadway Black’s top 3 must-sees if you plan on attending this year’s festival:


1.Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical (Full Length Production)

Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical: We have Civil Rights era musicals (The Wiz, Raisin, Purlie, to name a few), but do we have an actual Civil Rights musical- or at least one about the Freedom Riders?

Set in the Jim Crow South, Freedom Riders follows the story of the real-life Civil Rights activists Diane Nash, John Seigenthaler, John Lewis, and the Congress of Racial Equality’s original 13 riders who from May 1961 to December 1961, led the nonviolent protest to desegregate public interstate buses. Book, music and lyrics by Richard Allen and Taren Gray.

Performance Dates: August 1st through August 5th, 2017

Location: The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row

Individual tickets for $27.50


2. #BlackGirlJoy: Star Johnson in Concert (Concerts and Beta Musicals)

#BlackGirlJoy: Star Johnson in Concert:

 #BlackGirlMagic just got a little more magical!

DC-based singer, songwriter and composer, Star Johnson’s #BlackGirlJoy is a musical revue featuring songs from her shows How to Quit Your Day Job, Flattops, F Words and others. Go for the mix of “Stephen Sondheim and Lauryn Hill” stay for the #BlackGirlMagic.


Performance dates: July 27-29

Location: The Green Room 42 @ Yotel

Individual tickets: $27.50

3. FORA (Developmental Reading)

FORA: How often do we get to enjoy the West-Indian/Afro-Caribbean diaspora on stage?

This developmental reading of FORA follows the story of Gigi, a 17 year old native of the fictional island of Forafu. While her homeland is experiencing unsettling changes because of a Great Migration, Gigi “discovers the true meaning of love in all its forms.” Book and Lyrics by Jae Antoinette Broderick; Music by & Jae Antoinette Broderick and Matthew A.C. Cohen



Performance dates: July 18 and 22

Location: Playwrights Horizons Rehearsal Studio

Individual tickets: Available with festival pass


For more information on productions, events and festival passes visit

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Twitter: @BroadwayBlack

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