New York Theater Quiz September 2016

How well were you paying attention to the New York theater news and reviews in September? Answer these 11 questions to find out.

The Trial of An American President – Review and Pics

President George W. Bush was convicted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, on the night I attended The Trial of an American President, an earnest, informative and flawed mock trial. The jury voted 5-4, which is not bad, considering the circumstances.

After all, the jurors were selected at random from an audience at Theatre Row on the liberal West Side of Manhattan. And if first-time playwright Dick Tarlow and co-author Bill Smith do attempt to provide the 43rd president with a defense, it’s not an especially vigorous one

Full review at D.C. Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged

Judith Light in Neil LaBute Play, All The Ways To Say I Love You: Review, Pics

Those of us who have followed her splendid career since Judith Light returned to the New York stage in 2010 welcomed the news that she would be appearing in a new solo play written by Neil LaBute. As expected, Light is the best thing about it. What’s less expected is how slight the play is.

“All The Ways To Say I Love You” is a monologue less than an hour long by a high school English teacher named Mrs. Johnson, standing in her drab office telling the audience about her experiences with one of her former students. Having been manipulative and deceitful with both the boy and her husband, Mrs. Johnson is in large measure trying to justify her actions to us, and to herself, in the name of love.

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

5 Guys Chillin’ Review: Cautionary Tales at Drug-Fueled Gay Sex Party


Elliot Hadley and Cesare Scarpone

There are two ways to take “5 Guys Chillin’,” Peter Darney’s play in the Fringe Encore series that takes place among five half-naked gay characters at a drug-fueled sex party. One is as a seductive entertainment in which fit young performers are dancing and smiling and snuggling and generally seem to be having fun, at least initially. The Soho Playhouse even permits the audience to bring in drinks from the downstairs Huron Club.

The other is as something of a public service announcement by writer and director Peter Darney, who, like the Larry Kramer of his generation, is warning members of the gay community about self-destructive excess. Each member of the audience is handed a package of condoms as they enter the theater.

Darney’s evident intent is to have you react to “5 Guys Chillin’” as both an entertainment and as a powerful – and graphic — cautionary tale. The combination can feel awkward at times, and unrealistic. At first blush, it might seem odd that the characters spend much more of their time talking about past practices and experiences rather than, um, making new ones. There is a scene near the end of the play that could come off as downright ludicrous. One of the characters has just gone into a drug-induced fit and become unconscious; the others sit nearby ignoring him and launching into a series of monologues about dangerous or disappointing encounters they have had in the past.

It is important to know, however, that, according to the playwright, every word the characters utter is true, taken from interviews he conducted with people he met on Grindr and other social media apps who are involved in the chemsex subculture. (which is one of the terms helpfully defined in a glossary included in the program.) The (true) stories they tell bluntly impart a lot of information  – about the type of drugs and sexual practices involved, the rules of etiquette of the parties, the racial attitudes of the participants, the varied ways and reasons they got drawn in.

The knowledge that everything the characters say is verbatim (albeit edited) from actual people  adds an extra layer of alarm and revulsion at some of the comments: “I like having sex with guys that have Gonorrhea, ‘cause it’s the best lube in the world.”

That line is given to the character R, who is portrayed by Elliot Hadley, one of the five brave and persuasive performers – and one of the two cast members who are holdovers from the production at the Edinburgh Festival in August. The other holdover is Adi Chugh, who portrays PJ, the one newcomer to the party (which is one of the ways the playwright tries to justify all the talk of past sex party experience; the other characters are explaining themselves to the newcomer.) PJ is probably the most memorable character. He is of Pakistani descent, in an arranged marriage to a woman from a small Pakistani village, the father of one son and another on the way. “I’m a Pakistani male from a very traditional family, it’s never gonna be accepted, you know? There’s a part of me that…I will never like myself.” When he first started going to sex parties, “I remember I would always feel a little bit embarrassed, and disgusted at myself. But that was also the bit that I liked. I wanted it to match how I felt inside. A little bit disgusted at myself. A little bit ashamed.”

It is PJ that overdoses in “5 Guys Chillin’” It soon becomes clear that the other characters are ignoring his unconscious body not from some flaw in the writing, but as the playwright’s deliberate comment on one of the insidious products of the chemsex scene — indifference.


5 Guys Chillin’ runs through October 9, 2016 as part of the Fringe Encore Series at Soho Playhouse.

Written and directed by Peter Darney

Lighting design by Sherry Coenen, movement director Chris Cuming, sound design by Jo Walker

Cast: Rick Yale as J, Cesare Scarpone as M, Elliot Hadley as R, Richard De Lisle as B, Adi Chugh as PJ

Running time: 70 minutes with no intermission


Tickets: $45

Fences Movie Trailer, Play Review: Denzel Adapts August Wilson

Denzel Washington’s movie adaptation of “Fences,” August Wilson’s 1987 play, will be in movie theaters nationwide on December 25, 2016. Below is a first movie trailer from Paramount Picures — and below that my 2010 review of the Broadway production, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis (the same stars as in the movie.)

Fences Review: Denzel Washington Bats It In

Troy Maxson, the character played by Denzel Washington in the must-see revival of August Wilson’s “Fences,” is greeted by foot-stamping cheers from the audience in the Cort Theater, surely the most ecstatic whoops of delight ever for a Pittsburgh garbage collector.

There was a time, though, when Troy was himself a star. “Ain’t but two men who ever played baseball as good as you,” his best friend Bono tells him. “That’s Babe Ruth and Josh Gibson.” Bono might just be telling Troy what he wants to hear, but, however good he actually was, he lived at a time when people of Troy’s race were barred from major league baseball – and from much else in American life. But Troy did play in the Negro Leagues, and hit seven home runs off the great Satchel Paige. “You can’t get no better than that,” he tells the youngest of his two sons. He says this proudly, defiantly, but also angrily, and in resignation.

It is a phrase that, perhaps unconsciously, he means literally. It is 1957, he is 53 years old, and however hopeful others might be about the change that will be coming for African-Americans, Troy is convinced that things will in fact never get any better.

Denzel Washington is not as physically large as the actor who, to great acclaim, originated the role of Troy on Broadway in 1987, James Earl Jones. But through the magic of his performance, Washington sometimes seems as big as a bear, whether giving a tremendous hug to his wife (the incomparable Viola Davis) or growling warning at his son. Other times, he seems both small and small-minded. Troy is a compulsive storyteller (“you got more stories than the devil got sinners”), an expansive charmer, and also an embittered, limited and illiterate black man; orderly, hard-working, dutiful; stubborn, unreasonable, irresponsible — a complex and believable human being, and Washington embraces this character in all his mercurial contradictions.

It is a different interpretation than the original one of a giant fenced-in by circumstances, but it is one of the many things that work in a production that does justice to August Wilson’s deeply moving play.

“Fences” is part of what is sometimes called the Pittsburgh Cycle, 10 plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, that was August Wilson’s singular achievement, written over more than two decades and completed the year of his death in 2005. They all offer specific details of time and place and character and yet, individually and taken together, provide nothing less than a portrait of the African-American experience. “Fences” was only the second he wrote in the cycle, and is not the best of them – although good enough to have won every big theater award, from the Tony Award for Best Play to the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and for Frank Rich to have written: “’Fences’ leaves no doubt that Mr. Wilson is a major writer, combining a poet’s ear for vernacular with a robust sense of humor (political and sexual), a sure instinct for crackling dramatic incident and a passionate commitment to a great subject. “

Wilson’s later work more smoothly integrates the turns in the plot so that they seem to spring from the characters rather than feeling imposed by the author. In “Fences,” Troy makes a sensational revelation to his wife in the second act that seems to come out of nowhere. (A careful reading of the script shows that Wilson had actually planted clues in the first act, but it still feels abrupt). In a lesser production, the play might from then on have felt derailed, veering into domestic melodrama.

Viola Davis, best-known on stage for her Tony-winning performance in Wilson’s “King Hedley II” and on screen for her Oscar-nominated performance as the mother of the (possibly) abused student in “Doubt,” seemed to me almost single-handedly responsible for keeping the play on track, her feelings shaded, moving, and not melodramatic. She and Washington are well-matched. I am not sure I have ever witnessed two actors angrily yelling at each other with such clarity and control.

The real plot in “Fences” is in the artful revelation of character, not just Troy’s but the people who surround him — his wife Rose, his long-time friend Jim Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson, a veteran and exquisite interpreter of Wilson’s work); his brain-damaged brother Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson), the older son Lyons whom he all but abandoned (Russell Hornsby), the teenage son Cory (Chris Chalk) — ensemble acting at its finest. Their characters come through in the niggling little arguments (humorous to outsiders) that families repeat endlessly, and in the many stories told to one another of past events and future dreams. Much of what’s happening, as told through incidents on stage but also through recollection, is a tale of fathers and sons, battling one another, escaping one another and becoming one another. Cory wants to play football and has been recruited by a college football team; Troy wants him to work at the local supermarket:

“The white man ain’t gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway. You go on and get your book-learning so you can work yourself up in that A&P or learn how to fix cars or build houses or something, get you a trade. That way you have something can’t nobody take away from you.”

Times have changed, more than one family member tells Troy, his son is just trying to be like him. Times haven’t changed, Troy says; the last person I want him to be like is me.

In addition to Santo Loquasto’s solidly realistic set, Brian MacDevitt’s lighting, and spot-on costumes by Constanza Romero (the playwright’s widow), Branford Marsalis has composed bluesy music for the beginning of each act. It’s nice, but it’s not necessary. This production of “Fences” fills the Cort Theater with music.

Fences by August Wilson at the Cort Theater (138 West 48th Street) Directed by Kenny Leon Original music by Branford Marsalis Set design by Santo Loquasto, costume design by Constanza Romero, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt, sound design by Acme Sound Partners Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Chris Chalk, Eden Duncan-Smith, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, SaCha Stewart-Coleman, Mykelti Williamson Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission Ticket prices: $61.50 to $131.50. Premium seats as high as $326.50. There are apparently no rush or student tickets available. Recommended for age 13 and older. Under 4 not permitted. Through July 11th, 2010.

2016 NYIT Award Winners: Off-Off Broadway’s Finest

“The Golfer” and “Broken Bone Bathtub” (pictured) were among the big winners of the 2016 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, which honor excellence Off-Off Broadway.
Complete list of winners:
The Golfer

The Golfer

** The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks

Fred Backus, Broderick Ballantyne, Rebecca Gray Davis, Lex Friedman, Ian W. Hill, Bob Laine, Matthew Napoli, Timothy McCown Reynolds, Alyssa Simon, Anna Stefanic
Connected, Project Y Theatre Company
Gus Birney, Joachim Boyle, Robby Clater, Ella Dershowitz, Midori Francis, Dana Jacks, Thomas Muccioli, Aria Shahghasemi
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Andrew Dawson, Phil Gillen, Aidan Sank
Street Theater, TOSOS
Tim Abrams, Chris Andersson, Christopher Borg, Éilis Cahill, Jonathan Cedano, Desmond Dutcher, Russell Jordan, Josh Kenney, Jeremy Lawrence, Michael Lynch, Joe MacDougall, Rebecca Nyahay, Patrick Porter, & Ben Strothmann
The Further Adventures Of…, TOSOS
Tim Burke, Mark Finley, & Jamie Heinlein
Unity (1918), Project: Theater
Wendy Bagger, Alicia Dawn Bullen, Jessi Blue Gormezano, Doug Harris, Beth Ann Hopkins, Joshua Everett Johnson, Joe Jung, Alexandra Perlwitz, Melanie Rey
**Siobhan O’Loughlin
Broken Bone Bathtub, Elephant Run District
David Carl
David Carl’s Celebrity One Man Hamlet,
Project Y Theatre, PM2 Entertainment and Richard Jordan Productions in associate with Underbelly
Laura Hooper
Crumble, MORA Theater
Peter Michael Marino
Late With Lance!, PM2 Entertainment
Colin Summers
Steve: A Docu-Musical, New York Neo-Futurists
Yolanda K. Wilkinson
Bible Study for Heathens, New York Neo-Futurists
**Timothy McCown Reynolds
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Deven Anderson
The Pillowman, Variations Theatre Group
Joseph D. Giardina
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Alex Grubbs
Utility, The Amoralists
Ryan Johnston
Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio
Mike Phillips Gomez
Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio
**Midori Francis
Connected, Project Y Theatre Company
Kelly Barbarito
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
Adrian Grace Bumpas
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
Anwen Darcy
Romeo And Juliet, The Drilling Company
Noelle McGrath
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Lauren Nordvig
Rush, Team Awesome Robot
**Fred Backus
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Adam Belvo
Butcher Holler Here We Come, Aztec Economy
Dave Klasko
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective
Lee Slobotkin
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Charles Socarides
How to Live on Earth, Colt Coeur
Jonny Stein
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
Maeve nyit.jpg

Maeve Yore

**Maeve Yore

Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio
Becca Andrews
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Holly Heiser
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Christina Elise Perry
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Geena Quintos
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
Vanessa Vaché
Utility, The Amoralists
**Becky Baumwoll
Above Below, Broken Box Mime Theater
Corrie Blissit
In the Soundless Awe, New Light Theater Project
Nikita Chaudhry& Ian Fields Stewart
Untameable, The Unsoft War and Highly Impractical Theatre
Patrice Miller
City of Glass, Untitled Theater Co. #61
Katie Proulx
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Geena Quintos
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
**Fritz Brekeller
Composure, WorkShop Theater Company
Michael Bello
In the Heights, The Gallery Players
Kirk Gostkowski& John Arthur Long
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Ian Harkins
She Stoops To Conquer, Hudson Warehouse
Travis Russ
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Terry Schreiber
Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio
**Aaron Gonzalez
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Chelsie McPhilimy
Rush, Team Awesome Robot
John Narun
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Kia Rogers
Rizing, Flux Theatre Ensemble
Govin Ruben
Exposure, Next In Line Productions LLC
Serena Wong
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective
**Kaitlyn Elizabeth Day
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Mary Cann
Hot L Baltimore, T. Schreiber Studio
Viviane Galloway
A Little Night Music, Theater 2020
Jennifer A. Jacob
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Emily Rose Parman
She Stoops To Conquer, Hudson Warehouse
Ashley Soliman
Fatty Fatty No Friends, Mind The Art Entertainment
**George Allison
Hot L Baltimore, T. Schreiber Studio
Aaron Gonzalez
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Jennifer Neads
Rush, Team Awesome Robot
Kate Noll
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective
Travis Russ & Carl Vorwerk
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Sandy Yaklin
Office Politics, One Wild Jew Productions
**Joe Jung& KJ Sanchez
Unity (1918), Project: Theater
Andy Evan Cohen
In the Soundless Awe, New Light Theater Project
M.L. Dogg
How to Live on Earth, Colt Coeur
Ian W. Hill
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Matt Sherwin
Gluten!, Adjusted Realists
Mark Van Hare
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective
**Berit Johnson
(Props Design)
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Andy Evan Cohen
(Video Design)
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Aaron Gonzalez & David Rey
(Projection Design)
The Pillowman, Variations Theatre Group
John Narun
(Projection Design)
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Gil Sperling
(Video Design)
City of Glass, Untitled Theater Co. #61
Lynda White
(Mask Design)
The Bacchae, The Faux-Real Theatre Company in association with LaMaMa ETC
**Matt Sherwin
Gluten!, Adjusted Realists
Christian De Gré
Fatty Fatty No Friends, Mind The Art Entertainment
Jonathan Elliott,Mark Greenfield,Tony Naumovski& Emily Serotta
The Bacchae, The Faux-Real Theatre Company in association with LaMaMa ETC
James Brandon Lewis
Dvorak In America, GOH Productions
Ryan McCurdy
Rush, Team Awesome Robot
Anna Stefanic
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
**Kim Katzberg
Strays, Kim Katzberg in collaboration with Nora Woolley and Raquel Cion
Keelay Gipson
Time in the Penn, The Fire This Time Festival
Ayun Halliday
Fawnbook, Gemini CollisionWorks
Jiréh Breon Holder
God Will Know The Difference, The Fire This Time Festival
Roger Q. Mason
Hard Palate, The Fire This Time Festival
Siobhan O’Loughlin
Broken Bone Bathtub, Elephant Run District
Christopher Torres
We Come Here as part of Astoria Stories, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Kathleen Warnock
The Further Adventures Of…, TOSOS
**Scott C. Sickles
Composure, WorkShop Theater Company
Jamal Abdunnasir, Tim Craig, Peregrine Heard, Lauren LaRocca, Emily Stout,Beatrice Vena, & Ayana Wilson
Black Protagonist, The Associates Theater Ensemble
Niki Hatzidis& Anastasia Rutkowski
Steel Birds, manhattan theatre source’s Estrogenius Festival
Lia Romeo
Connected, Project Y Theatre Company
Emily Schwend
Utility, The Amoralists
Seanie Sugrue
One Way To Pluto!, Locked In The Attic Productions
Colin Summers
Steve: A Docu-Musical, New York Neo-Futurists
**Above Below
Broken Box Mime Theater
Broken Bone Bathtub
Elephant Run District
City of Glass
Untitled Theater Co. #61
Electronic City
The New Stage Theatre Company
Nord Hausen Fly Robot: (Invisible Republic #3)
Gemini CollisionWorks
War of the Worlds
**Steve: A Docu-Musical
New York Neo-Futurists
A Chorus Line
The Secret Theatre
A Little Night Music
Theater 2020
Fatty Fatty No Friends
Mind The Art Entertainment
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Astoria Performing Arts Center
The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit
WorkShop Theater Company
The Amoralists
WorkShop Theater Company
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey
Life Jacket Theatre Company
Natural Life
T. Schreiber Studio
One Way To Pluto!
Locked In The Attic Productions
Steel Birds
manhattan theatre source’s Estrogenius Festival
**Street Theater
Project Y Theatre Company
Harper Regan
T. Schreiber Studio
Hot L Baltimore
T. Schreiber Studio
Unity (1918)
Project: Theater
Wait Until Dark
Variations Theatre Group

Special Awards:

2016 Ellen Stewart Award
The Fringe NYC
Carmelita Tropicana

Carmelita Tropicana

2016 Artistic Achievement Award
Carmelita Tropicana
2016 Caffe Cino Fellowship Award
New Stage Theatre Company
Outstanding Stage Manager Award
Jodi Witherell

Maeve nyit.jpg

Nat Turner in Jerusalem: Review and Pics

Nat Turner in Jerusalem, a new play by Nathan Alan Davis at New York Theatre Workshop, is yet another retelling of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave insurrection, a story that has been told and retold for nearly two centuries – and will be told again in The Birth of a Nation, a film by Nate Parker opening October 7.

…the experience of actually sitting through the 90 minutes of Nat Turner in Jerusalem is not as rewarding as one would hope…Yet there is no denying the beguiling presence at the center of the play – that of Phillip James Brannon’s performance as a Nat Turner who is both uncommonly intelligent and otherworldly.

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph below to see it enlarged.

Debate! Politics and Theater. The Week in New York Theater

Political theater gets new meanings — and new attention — just six weeks before the Presidential election….and less than three weeks before the cut-off for voter registration.

Avenue Q holds a mock debate today with puppet candidates. But other shows are leaving “mock” behind:


The cast of Hamilton will register people to vote outside the Richard Rodgers September 28 & October, from 5 to 7 pm #Ham4GivingADamn

Even the Broadway Flea on Sunday had its share of politics:


(Notice Christine Pedi at the far right of the photograph. This table sold mostly Newsical memorabilia but, as the man in the Hillary t-shirt put it, “This is the first time the union” — he meant Actors Equity — “has ever endorsed a candidate for President.

The Week in New York Theater News

Ramin Karimloo in Les Miserables

Ramin Karimloo in Les Miserables

Remember Ramin Karimloo’s Broadway debut in Les Miserables (Who can forget?) He joins cast of Anastasia as Gleb. The musical is set to open April 24.

Bette Midler

Bette Midler

Theatergoers bought $9 million worth of tix to Hello, Dolly with Bette Midler, breaking record for first day of Broadway advance sales

Watercolor costume sketch by Lemuel Ayers for the musical St. Louis Woman, starring Pearl Bailey, 1945

Watercolor costume sketch by Lemuel Ayers for the musical St. Louis Woman, starring Pearl Bailey, 1945

The new National Museum of African-American Culture and History in D.C. features hundreds of theater-related items in its permanent collection.



Succeeding Leona Lewis as Grizabella in Cats: Broadway vet Mamie Parris, currently in School of Rock


Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, theater artist and educator Anne Basting are among among 2016 MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellows


Cast of #LastBlackMan by Suzan Lori Parks (Opens Nov 13):





The pod people: Bernardo Cubria interviews playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis



Winner’s corner at the 30th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction?

Broadway Flea Map and Schedule

Below is a map showing the location of some 40 tables at today’s 30th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Click on it (several times) to see it enlarged.

The shows offering memorabilia will include:
Aladdin, An American in Paris, Avenue Q, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, The Book of Mormon, The Color Purple, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Dear Evan Hansen, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Fun Home, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables, The Lion King, The Marvelous Wonderettes, Matilda The Musical, Naked Boys Singing, NEWSical The Musical, On Your Feet!, Paramour, The Phantom of the Opera, School Of Rock – The Musical, Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, Something Rotten!, Waitress and Wicked.

There are also an Autograph Table and Photo Booth, both of which require a donation to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Here is the schedule hour by hour, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., of performers expected for the day, subject to change. Click to see enlarged


How do the autograph table and photo booth work?


For more information about the event, check out Broadway Cares.

Photographs from last year’s event:

Theater at the new National Museum of African-American Culture and History

The National Museum of African-American Culture and History officially opens today in Washington D.C. Among the almost 37,000 objects in its permanent collection are photographs, programs and the like connected to the theater. Below is a sample. (Click on any photograph to see it enlarged and read the captions)


Also, check out the exhibition Taking the Stage


“Taking the Stage provides visitors with the opportunity to reconnect with some of their favorite popular culture memories as well as to contemplate how the roles black artists played on the stage and screen reflected changing aspirations, struggles, and realities for black people in American society.”