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Thoughts of a Colored Man Playwright Keenan Scott II Steps Onstage to Prevent Cancellation

Scott's last-minute decision led to a history-making night on Broadway.

Luke James and understudy Bjorn DuPaty embrace Thoughts of a Colored Man playwright Keenan Scott II (center) after the December 21 performance.
(© Tricia Baron)

Broadway productions have been canceling performances left and right, many forgoing all Christmas-week shows because of Covid-19 cases within companies.

Thoughts of a Colored Man was on a similar trajectory, with three absent cast members (one who tested positive for Covid and two non-Covid-related illnesses) and only two trained understudies available to go on at last night's performance. In an effort to prevent another cancellation, however, the show's playwright Keenan Scott II opted to perform the role of Wisdom himself, script in hand. Scott is now expected to continue playing the role at least through the holiday weekend.

"It was a thrilling night for a Broadway audience to experience our play," said Thoughts of a Colored Man producer Brian Moreland. "Keenan Scott II is a bold new voice for now, and last night he exhibited the power and resilience of everyone who makes up the Broadway community."

The Thoughts of a Colored Man ensemble cast currently features Emmy winner Dyllón Burnside, Bryan Terrell Clark, Da'Vinchi, Grammy nominee Luke James, Tony nominee Forrest McClendon, Grammy nominee Tristan Mack Wilds, and Esau Pritchett.

Directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, Thoughts of a Colored Man is described as follows: "As the sun rises on a single day in the pulsing heart of Brooklyn, seven Black men are about to discover the extraordinary – together. By Keenan Scott II, one of today's boldest new voices, Thoughts of a Colored Man blends spoken word, slam poetry, rhythm, and humor into a daringly universal new play. Welcome to the vibrant inner life of being Black, proud, and thriving in the 21st century."