Although often times underrepresented on Broadyway Broadway, make no mistake there is no shortage of amazing Black theatermakers in the business right now. Pushing the envelope and telling our stories, check out our list of 6 of the best black playwrights you need to know about.
Morisseau is most famous for both being a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” recipient and writing the Tony-nominated musical “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations”. She’s also penned other plays that have played around the country. Her works include “The Detroit Project”, “Skeleton Crew”, “Paradise Blue” and “Detroit ’67”.
George C. Wolfe
Wolfe is a veteran and critically acclaimed playwright and director with two-time Tony Awards to his name. And with over 20 Broadway credits, Wolfe is highly respected. His two most popular works are “The Wild Party” and “Shuffle Along.” both of which he wrote and directed.
Jackie Sibblies Drury
Drury is the scribe behind “Fairview”, the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama. The play was created expressly to discomfort, and turn the tables on, its audience. It ingeniously begins as a basic black domestic sitcom before rewriting itself and turning on the audience. It asks deep and troubling questions about how the African-American experience is framed, contained and shrunken by the white gaze.
Ijames is the creator behind “Kill Move Paradise” a sorrowful and thought-provoking piece inspired by the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. It imagines an afterlife in which the spirits of young black men try to come to an understanding of how and why they died. The answers do not come easily, if at all. A haunting play in which current events become an endless, cyclical nightmare for black youth.
Jordan E. Cooper
Cooper is the award-winning playwright (and star) of the Off-Broadway play “Ain’t No Mo”. The story is centered around a mass exodus of Black Americans escaping the racism of the United States on the aptly named African American Airlines Flight 1619. Part dream, part nightmare, Cooper’s work is a true thought provoker.
Tarrell Alvin McCraney
McCraney may be best known as the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of “Moonlight” but it’s important to know the film is based on his play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”. He is also the creator of other plays including the Tony-nominated play “Choir Boy” and “The Brother / Sister Plays” trilogy, which includes “The Brothers Size”, “In The Red And Brown Water”, and “Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet”. McCraney is a talented writer of the black experience who is deeply rooted in theater.
We hope you enjoyed our list of black playwrights. Make sure to check out some of our other content!
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Written by @TalenedMrFord