By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
After a somewhat experimental reopening in June with “Springsteen on Broadway,” the Great White Way will step further into the mix with the August 4 debut of “Pass Over” at the August Wilson Theatre.
Barring any restrictions, the late summer and fall plays and musicals will feature no less than a dozen African American-themed productions – ten of which are new.
“There is some great Black entertainment on Broadway,” said Irene Gandy, the legendary and influential Broadway press agent who counts among the few African American producers.
Among those Gandy and others who have expressed excitement over are “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” “For Colored Girls,” and “Skeleton Crew,” starring Phylicia Rashad and written by “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” writer Dominique Morisseau.
“Tina,” the stirring musical on the life of pop superstar Tina Turner also makes it debut this fall.
Among the off-Broadway offerings is “Sistas: The Musical.”
Broadway officials have said the shows will go on, but only at 100 percent capacity. So, if New York reinstates restrictions on indoor crowds, Broadway could shutter once again.
“Sistas” counts as an uplifting musical journey featuring a playlist of songs by Billie Holliday, Lena Horne, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Beyoncé, and other female African American greats.
According to a fact sheet, “Tina” reviews the life of superstar Tina Turner from humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock’ n’ Roll.
“Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules; she rewrote them,” producers of the show noted.
“This new hit stage musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender, and race.”
Pass Over tells the story of two Black men, Moses and Kitch – friends hanging out on a city street corner, sharing dreams of an escape from their circumstances. When a stranger wanders onto their corner with his own agenda, he derails their plans of finding their promised land.
According to Playbill, the story is written by award-winning playwright Antoinette Nwandu.
Broadway writers called Pass Over “a provocative riff of Waiting for Godot and the biblical Exodus story – a timely take told by a bold American voice.”
“There are Black people on Broadway,” declared Gandy, who also worked in the music industry with legends like BB King, Patti LaBelle and The Jackson 5.
Gandy also served as a producer on “Lady Day,” and “Porgy & Bess,” which earned the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
“Broadway is green. Now we have 10 Black shows coming, ‘Pass Over,’ ‘Lackawanna Blues,’ ‘Chicken’ N Biscuits,’ and we have ‘MJ the Musical.’ Come out and see them.’”