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In this hard-hitting anthology, Ishmael Reed and Carla Blank have invited a diverse group of informed and accomplished writers, both women and men, who are rarely heard to comment on the long-standing bigotry on Broadway towards many different ethnic minorities.
How do intellectuals and scholars feel about how members of their ethnic groups are portrayed on Broadway? How would we know? Very few of them have the power to rate which plays and musicals are worthy and which are flops, and above all, be heard or read. The American critical fraternity is an exclusive club.
In this hard-hitting anthology, Ishmael Reed and Carla Blank have invited a diverse group of informed and accomplishes writers, both women and men, who are rarely heard to comment on the long-standing bigotry on Broadway towards many different ethnic minorities.
Contributors include Lonely Christopher, Tommy Curry, Jack Foley, Emil Guillermo, Claire J. Harris, Yuri Kageyama, Soraya McDonald, Nancy Mercado, Aimee Phan, Betsy Theobald Richards, Shawn Wong, David Yearsley, and the editors.
Under review are Madame Butterfly, the Irving Berlin songbook, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Miss Saigon, Flower Drum Song, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Color Purple, The Book of Mormon, West Side Story and Hamilton.
Ishmael Reed is an award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, songwriter, lecturer and publisher. His play on the Broadway musical Hamilton, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, garnered three 2019 AUDELCO awards. His most recent novel is The Terrible Fours (Baraka Books, 2021). He lives in Oakland.
Carla Blank is a writer, director, dramaturge and editor. Author and editor of the 20th century historical reference Rediscovering America: The Making of Multicultural America, 1900-2000, she also co-authored Storming the Old Boys’ Citadel: Two Pioneer Women Architects of Nineteenth Century North America. She lives in Oakland.
Watch the international online launch of Bigotry on Broadway, with Ishmael Reed, Carla Blank and many of the contributors.
In the media
“Insightful essays and interviews examine how white power structures on Broadway have shaped musical theater’s representations of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, or led to their absence (…)
VERDICT Blank and Reed offer an incisive, critical take on Broadway’s past and present; discuss an alternative vision that incorporates the perspectives missing from Broadway; and look toward a more inclusive future. A book for all readers interested in the history of Broadway musicals, theater criticism, and the role of whiteness in Broadway’s misrepresentations.” Amy Lewontin, Library Journal
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