Broadway stars Lillias White, B.J. Crosby, and Stephanie Pope are among the performers who will star in Black Beauties: 100 Years of African-American Women on Broadway, an all-star benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), on Monday, March 17.
Written by Shauneille Perry and directed and produced by Woodie King, Jr., Black Beauties will celebrate both Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March) through song and spoken word, paying tribute to the lives and work of some of Broadway's greatest black female stars.
Among the artists who will be honored are: Ethel Waters (As Thousands Cheer, Cabin in the Sky, The Member of the Wedding), Florence Mills (Irene, Plantation Revue, Dixie to Broadway), Sissieretta Jones (one of the most successful black sopranos of the late 1800s/early 1900s), Lorraine Hansberry (author of A Raisin in the Sun), Rose McClendon (Porgy, Never No More, In Abraham's Bosom, Langston Hughes's Mulatto), Vinette Carroll (the first African-American woman to direct a play on Broadway: Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope in 1973), Ntozake Shange (for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Where Mississippi Meets the Amazon), Rosetta LeNoire (founder of AMAS Musical Theatre Company and an actress who appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire, Destry Rides Again, and The Sunshine Boys), Juanita Hall (South Pacific, Flower Drum Song), Diana Sands (A Raisin in the Sun, The Owl and the Pussycat), and Gertrude Jeannette (James Baldwin's The Amen Corner and the 1975 revival of The Skin of Our Teeth).
In addition to White, Crosby, and Pope, the Black Beauties performers will include Debbie Allen, Trazana Beverley, Vinie Burrows, Ruby Dee, Queen Esther, Micki Grant, Heather Headley, Gertrude Jeannette, Barbara Montgomery, Novella Nelson, Vivian Reed, Clarise Taylor, and Barbara Ann Teer. The show will take place at 7pm on March 17 at the Lamb's Theatre (130 West 44th Street). Tickets are available at $55 and $35; for information, phone BC/EFA at 212-840-0770.