| At the time of the Harlem Renaissance, plays and shows were a great fad nationwide. Soon, black theatrical groups cropped up to give the world a taste of their art.|
|On this page, the following questions will be answered:|
- What was the first black play?
- Who was the first "serious actor"?
- Who wrote "Shuffle Along"?
- Who was a big promoter of Harlem Renaissance plays?
- What Shakespearean play did Paul Robeson appear in?
|Answers are at bottom of the page.|
| Some say that the musical comedy "Shuffle Along", which was co-written by Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle, Flournoy Miller, and Aubrey Lyles, was the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance because it was one of the first successful works of art by blacks. "Shuffle Along" was the first African-American written play; it hit Broadway in a big way!|
| W.E.B. DuBois was possibly the biggest promoter of negro plays. He said
the following about them:|
| "(The Negro Drama should be) evoked by a Negro audience desiring to see
its own life depicted by its own writers and actors".|
| "(Negro Drama) must be: I. About us. That is, they must have plots which reveal Negro life as it is. II. By us. That is, they must be written by Negro authors who understand from birth and continual association just what it means to be a Negro today. III. For us. That is , the theater must cater primarily to Negro audiences and be supported and sustained by their entertainment and approval. IV. Near us. The theater must be in a Negro neighbor hood near the mass of ordinary Negro people."|
| Even though there were several bright spots in Negro Drama, these plays were usually "underground" and could not thrive much because most black actors wanted to hit the big time in heavily publicized plays. There were also not many playwrights at this time.|
| Here are some famous actors from this time:|
| Charles Gilpin: First serious black actor.|
| Florence Mills: The first black female to win international acclaim.|
| Paul Robeson: Played William Shakespeares Othello and was one of Harlem's most famous actors.|
- What was the first black play? Shuffle Along.
- Who was the first "serious actor"? Charles Gilpin.
- Who wrote "Shuffle Along"? It was co-written by Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle, Flournoy Miller, and Aubrey Lyles.
- Who was a big promoter of Harlem Renaissance plays? W.E.B. DuBois.
- What Shakespearean play did Paul Robeson appear in? Othello.