BroadwayHD Honors African Americans in Theater for Black History Month
In time for Black History Month, BroadwayHD, the premiere streaming service for live theater in the US and countries across the globe, has pulled together a special playlist that honors African Americans on the stage.
From Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, to Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, and the galvanizing drama Pipeline, by award-winning playwright Dominique Morriseau, BroadwayHD presents this month hours of exciting theater celebrating the writing, performances, and music of some of the most talented individuals to ever appear on the stage.
Here is a rundown of some of the plays you can check out.
- Memphis: The 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical stars Montego Glover and Chad Kimball. Captured live in performance at Broadway’s historic Shubert Theatre with the Tony nominated cast, this tale of love, ambition, and the cultural revolution that changed music forever jumps off the screen and into your heart! Acts of courage make for some of the most compelling theatre and the musical Memphis is no exception. Centering around Dewey Phillips, a white Memphis disc jockey who was among the first to desegregate the radio waves by playing songs written by black artists, the show ran on Broadway for three years. Featuring book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro (All Shook Up and I Love, You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) and Music bt David Bryan who performed for years with Bon Jovi, the play centers around the love affair between Dewey and Felicia. Given the politics of the times, the interracial relationship has major repercussions.
- Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill: Starring Audra McDonald. It’s March 1959, and at a small Philadelphia club, a star vocalist takes the stage for one of the last shows of her life. The powerhouse performance conjures jazz icon Billie Holiday for an intimate cabaret evening featuring live renditions of her most beloved classics, and a revealing glimpse into the troubled history of the woman behind the legend. Funny and heartbreaking, this play with music is a testament to one woman’s ability to mine humor from hardship — and to the transformative power of song. The play was a smash hit on Broadway and the West End in London.
- Pipeline: Originally on the stage at Lincoln Center Theater in 2017, this is a riveting new play by award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau (Skeleton Crew). In Pipeline, a mother’s hopes for her som clash with an educational system rigged against him. Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desparate to give her only son Omari opportunities they will never have. When a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away? With profound compassion and lyricism, Pipeline brings an urgent conversation powerfully to the fore. Don’t miss this deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future — without turning her back on the community that made him who he is. Directed by Lineana Blain-Cruz (War at LCT3, Red Speedo).
- Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies: Sophisticated Ladies is a musical revue based on the music of the brilliant Duke Ellington, featuring “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “Hit Me with a Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Satin Doll,” and “It Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good,” among many others. The musical ran on Broadway in 1981.
2010 Tony Award® winner for Best Musical, Memphis stars Montego Glover and Chad Kimball. Captured live in performance at Broadway’s historic Shubert Theatre with the Tony® nominated cast, this tale of love.
In addition to the performances highlighted here, BroadwayHD is a theater lover’s dream for $8.99 per month. The SVOD gives viewers access to award-winning theater from across the globe with both classic and modern productions. Gans can expect to see the full works of Shakespeare, awe-inspiring performances from Cirque du Soleil and a selection of the world’s greatest musicals including Phantom of the Opera, Oklahoma, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables, and Sweeney Todd. All performances are adapted specifically for streaming audiences to maximize the entertainment experience.