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Issue 17 Out Now

Broadway's Historic Breakthrough: 'Thoughts of a Colored Man'

On October 13th, playwright Keenan Scott premiered his all-black play “Thoughts of a Colored Man” on Broadway. But this isn’t just any old play. For the first time in history, Broadway fans will witness a story written, directed, produced and performed by all black creatives.


Photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash

The story takes us on a journey of seven black men as they navigate their lives through Brooklyn, New York. The seven characters do not have names. Instead, they are all based on seven traits and emotions: Love, Lust, Anger, Passion, Depression, Wisdom and Happiness. These traits are portrayed by Dyllon Burnside, Bryan Terrell Clark, Luke James, Da’Vinchi, Esau Pritchett, Forrest McClendon and Tristen Mack Wilds.


While on the “Tamron Hall Show,” actor DaVinchi explains his character Lust and why he was hesitant with the role at first. “The character that I play, I live for the flesh, you know. My animality is very strong. I act off my impulses. I see a girl, I go for it and whatever comes in my mind, it’s like I say it. I’m not aware of other people’s feelings.” He adds, “I kind of want to grow out of like the young characters you know. But I was like, you know what, this character is so important to the story and serving the story. So you know, as actors, we’re all taught not to judge the characters we play. So I’m like, you know what let me get out of my own head and really serve this character, so I can serve this story because the story is powerful.”


One of the many black producers, Samira Wiley, shares her ultimate goal and message while producing the show. “When I got my hands on this play from Keenan Scott ||, it’s hard for me sometimes to read some things, but this, when I read this play, I immediately thought of my father, my brother, my nephews, so many black men in my life. I said this is their story. This piece right here, this is my father’s story. This piece right here, I recognize. That’s my uncle. And I said you know people need to see this. People need to know who we are, and people need to know all of who we are. There are so many times that we hear stories about black men, but we see one thing. Or people who have never seen a black man or know a black man. They think of them in a certain way. But this play shows, I feel like, so many different aspects of who a black man is, who a black man can be, and Mr. Da’Vinchi right here is amazing on stage.”


Though “Thoughts of a Colored Man” is breaking down walls in the broadway industry, another layer of history is being made on broadway street. This fall, there are seven Broadway plays written by black playwrights playing on Broadway. The list includes “Pass Over,” “Lackawanna Blues,” “Chicken and Biscuits,” “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” “Trouble in Mind,” “Clyde’s, and “Skeleton Crew.”

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