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Title: By and About: An Antiracist History of the Musicals and the Antimusicals of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston
Authors: Glover, Eric
Advisors: Wolf, Stacy
Contributors: English Department
Subjects: Theater
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation on black musical theater as a mode of inquiry intervenes in the fields of English and foreign languages by undertaking the study of Langston Hughes's and Zora Neale Hurston's artworks and of their lives and times as artists. Between Hughes (born 1 February 1902, Joplin-died 22 May 1967, New York), a book writer, a lyricist, a playwright, and a poet, and Hurston (born 7 January 1891, Notasulga-died 28 January 1960, Fort Pierce), an actress, a book writer, a choreographer, and a folklorist, the black musical was not an offense toward certain unalienable Rights but a defense against Jim Crow as a form of racialized social control that curated the image of Americans of African and especially of black African descent in the golden age on the Great White Way. However, Hughes and Hurston are not and have never been included in the history of the musical because of white supremacy in the archive and the repertoire that shows scholars of black American literature and culture and those of drama and performance that musical theater by and about blacks is inherently inferior to musical theater by and about whites. To support its claim about black musicals and their discontents, chapter 1 reads closely politics and religion in The Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts (Lincoln Center Theater, Ethel Barrymore Theater, New York, 1991), by Hughes and Hurston, directed by Michael Schultz and choreographed by Dianne McIntyre. Chapter 2 reads closely economics and romance in Polk County: A Comedy of Negro Life on a Sawmill Camp with Authentic Negro Music in Three Acts (Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, Fichandler Stage, Washington, DC, 2002), by Hurston and Dorothy Waring, directed by Kyle Donnelly and choreographed by McIntyre and Earl White, to support its claim about the creation of safe spaces for black women in the musical. To support its claim about the language of the unheard, chapter 3 reads closely violence in The Barrier: An Opera (Broadhurst Theater, New York, 1950), by Hughes and Jan Meyerowitz, directed by Doris Humphrey and choreographed by her and Charles Weidman. These chapters on black musical theater, taken together with a great stress/emphasis on performance and text, reject traditional explanatory notes to the narrative genre about cross-references, definitions, entries, origin and etymology, and usage of the phrase for the #blacklivesmatter age.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:English

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