The photo was taken by Martha Swope and the article was written on January 4, 1982 in New York, NY.
Dreamgirls was a Broadway show that premiered on December 20, 1981. In 1982, the show would go on to earn 13 nominations, winning six of them. The original cast starred Loretta Devine, Jennifer Holliday, Sheryll Lee Ralph and Cleavant Derricks. (Dekic and Cox 2013). The musical, which takes many elements of the stardom of the Supremes, is much more than just catchy tunes.
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote many successful Broadway plays in the 1940s and 1950s, including The King and I, South Pacific, Oklahoma!, and Carousel. Their first musical, Oklahoma!, debuted in 1943 and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances – 5 years and 9 months. This was a record that it held for 15 years (Stavropoulos 2019). These four plays share some common societal elements such as marginalization and interracial relationships, but their first musical, Oklahoma!, introduces other disturbing themes. What might seem on the surface to be a lighthearted musical about simple people negotiating their relationship dilemmas, all the while engaging in snazzy dance routines and singing now timeless classic songs, it is in reality a much more complex look at the early American west (Indian Territory) during the Depression.
August Wilson was a wildly lauded playwright in the 1970s and 80s, and used his abilities to share the stories of the struggles African Americans faced and the responsibility to make sure those voices were heard and that they had a place in the theater. Stories of Black Americans were told by Caucasians, which is problematic in of itself, as indicated in Wolfe (1998) “No people can gain authenticity by either accepting others’ judgment of them or looking to others for approval” (4). Wilson exhibited the Vincentian value of respect by giving a platform and awareness to struggles that were so often hidden and ignored (St. John’s University 2017). He also made sure to give opportunities to African Americans within the theater community with the creation of Pittsburgh’s Black Horizons Theater.
“Life changes fast. Life changes in the
instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of
self-pity” (Didion 2007a, 3). In December of 2003, Quintana Roo Dunne, daughter
of writers Joan Didion and John Dunne, fell into septic shock after contracting
pneumonia. On December 31, 2003, after visiting their daughter in New York’s
Beth Israel North Hospital, Didion and Dunne sat down to dinner (Didion 2007a, 6-7).
Shortly after they began eating, Dunne suffered from a major heart attack and
died. Dunne’s death marked the beginning of a year that would change Joan
Didion’s life. After a number of traumatic hospitalizations in 2004, Quintana
developed acute pancreatitis and died August 26, 2005 (Meter 2005).
Tartuffe by Molière was originally written in French and
first performed on May 12, 1664. It was performed at Palace of Versailles in
France. Being that it was Molière’s most famous theatrical comedy, it was
adapted and performed all over the world throughout the last four centuries.
The King and I is a musical theatre play, with music by
Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II that originally premiered on
Broadway at St. James Theatre. Mongkut, King of Siam (now Thailand), hired a
British tutor, Mrs. Anna Leonowens to teach his children English. A widow, Anna
tutors while simultaneously attempting to humanize their cultural difference
and broaden their world-view beyond Siam. Anna endeavors to remove Siam’s
perceived barbaric image by assimilating the family into Western culture and
customs. Anna and Mongkut engage in a short lived romance, and after subsequent
family turmoil with one of the King’s many wives, Anna wants to leave Siam. On
his deathbed, Mongkut asks Anna to watch over his son, Chulalongkorn, as he
begins his rule.
This newspaper clipping of two men, one of which was holding a guitar quickly catches the eye due to the overtones of potential Blackface. However, after reading William Harris’ review, I discovered the work of Trinidadian playwright Mustapha Matura who used his experiences to craft powerful political commentaries. Matura first began writing and directing plays in London often tackling the ways Black people have been mistreated and abused throughout the Caribbean and the UK.
“the most widely published American journalistic humorist of the second half of
the 20th century,” Art Buchwald was a writer unlike any other
(Biography Reference Bank 2007). Buchwald spent the majority of his career
writing a satirical column that, at one time, was syndicated in 550 newspapers
(Nilsen 1996, 80). His contributions to journalism earned him a Pulitzer Prize
in 1982 (Folkenflik 2007).
Now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force, the image above is of a handwritten note welcoming Bill Bordeau into the National Gay Task Force, and a business card sized membership card.
Authored by Kathleen Daly
At a time when there was a great deal of political and cultural turmoil there was one local New York City man who was a vocal activist for gay rights. Affiliation of any kind with a group like the National Gay Task Force was polarizing for some, especially when this was a time when the American Psychiatric Association, or APA, still had homosexuality classified as a mental illness. In the publication of the original Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, in 1952, as well as in the second version, “individuals were labeled sick because they did not fit in, not necessarily because they felt afflicted, in pain, or under any kind of mental stress” (Dunn 2017, 183). The stigma that homosexuals had to live under was codified under the guidelines of mental health diagnoses and it took a great deal of fighting back from many groups inside the APA, and a few outside as well, to get those definitions removed finally in late 1973. Other legal definitions and laws changing, such as the case of 1964’s Civil Rights Act and the fallout within the homosexual community (Bruce 2016, 46-47) gave rise to many people within it wishing to take further action. Continue reading →
Like most of the world, Italy suffered greatly in the first half of the 20th century, as a result of the two World Wars and the Great Depression devastating most developed nations. World War I caused distrust amongst many first world nations, and brought about a massive decrease in trade across the globe. “These policies took several forms such as import tariﬀs, currency control and quota restrictions” (Perri and Quadrini 2000, 4). The collapse of the economy and subsequent worldwide political strife made way for conflicts that would spark the second World War, sowing even greater turmoil and tragedy into an already struggling nation. After World War II came to a close, Italy’s infrastructure suffered massive damage, and its economy was in shambles. Thousands of children were left homeless and orphaned. While Italy would eventually recover, the initial years were difficult. “In the aftermath of World War II, Italy and France like the other European belligerents experienced persistent, rapid, disruptive inflation” (Casella and Eichengreen 1991, 1). With the country as unstable as it was, it was no wonder why the nation had to turn to outside help to care for their orphans.