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Book Reviews

Black History Month: Leslie Uggams, Stewart Lane and Black Broadway: African Americans on The Great White Way

Black History Month: Leslie Uggams, Stewart Lane and Black Broadway: African Americans on The Great White Way

On Wednesday, February 25 at 7PM, Barnes & Noble, 150 East 86th Street hosts author and six-time Tony Award-winning producer Stewart Lane (La Cage aux Folles, A Gentleman’s Guide…, War Horse), Tony Award winning actress Leslie Uggams (Hallelujah Baby!, On Golden Pond, Thoroughly Modern Millie, King Hedly II), acclaimed Broadway director Sheldon Epps (Baby It’s You!, Play On!, Blues in the Night), and author Tom Santopietro (The Godfather Effect…, Considering Doris Day, Sinatra in Hollywood) in a discussion about the inspiring account of the tumultuous path that black actors have traveled to reach recognition on the Great White Way. This special Black History Month event celebrates the release of Lane’s new book Black Broadway: African Americans on The Great White Way.

On February 2, 2015, Square One Publishers releases Black Broadway: African Americans on The Great White Way by six-time Tony Award winning producer and author Stewart F. Lane (La Cage aux Folles, A Gentleman’s Guide…, War Horse). Uniquely illustrated with over 300 dynamic photographs (many of which have never been published to date), Black Broadway chronicles the journey of black theatre in America, alongside a running timeline of African-American history. Celebrating the performers, playwrights, songwriters, directors, choreographers and designers who changed theatre throughout America and the world, Lane offers a detailed account from Minstrel Shows to Vaudeville, from the Jazz Age to the Golden Age of the American Musical, through the dramas inspired by the Civil Rights Movement to the present day Broadway.

The book features a foreword from Tony-award winning Broadway director Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, Fences,Stick Fly), who calls Black Broadway “a unique tribute to the many African-American actors, directors, playwrights, and others who have contributed to the fabric of American theater.” Described by Booklist as a “wonderfully illustrated and researched book,” Black Broadway provides an insider’s look at Broadway by focusing the spotlight on landmark shows including A Raisin in the Sun, Porgy and Bess, Dreamgirls, Fences, The Wiz, Purlie Victorious, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Bring in ‘Da Noise Bring in ‘Da Funk,and The Scottsboro Boys; great theatre writers including August Wilson, Lorraine Hansberry, Eubie Blake and Ossie Davis; legendary performers such as Paul Robeson, Ethel Waters, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Bert Williams, Sammy Davis Jr., and Cab Calloway; to Tony-winning stars who continue to light up the boards including Audra McDonald, Denzel Washington, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Savion Glover, Ben Vereen, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Leslie Uggams, Tonya Pinkins, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Holliday, and more.

“For decades, African Americans have struggled to become a part of Broadway, and while the fight continues, many battles have been won and significant changes have been made,” says Stewart Lane. “It is my hope that this book serves as a guide to many people who have blazed a trail to the Great White Way and made it more accessible to everyone – black and white – who seeks to entertain and enlighten through the performing arts.”

Stewart F. Lane is the six-time Tony Award-winning producer of La Cage Aux Folles, The Will Rogers Follies,Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Two and Only, War Horse, and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. He has also produced in London, where his shows have won an Olivier. He has served on the Board of Directors of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center and the Transitional Committee, where he appointed both the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs and the Commissioner of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting. Currently, he serves on the Board of Gov.

Book Reviews

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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