Broadway Is Brimming With Black Playwrights. But for How Long?

“Chicken & Biscuits” is just one of the many plays by Black playwrights being presented this season, which also includes “The Trouble in Mind,” an underappreciated classic, “The Lackawant to Blues,” an autobiographical look back, “The Clyde’s,” and “The Skeleton Crew,” as well as “Pass Over” and “Thoughts of a Colored Man.”

Nottage’s “Clyde’s,” a play about a truck stop sandwich shop owner managing a crew of formerly jailed persons, begins previews Nov. 3 at the Hayes Theater. “They are seven separate plays that tackle fundamentally diverse facets of the Black experience,” she added.

Nottage is the most well-known playwright of this season, having won two Pulitzer Prizes for “Ruined” and “Sweat,” both of which were staged on Broadway in 2017 despite many Off Broadway runs.

Until the epidemic, Broadway’s audience was largely white for most shows. That’s why movie theatres have long used it to defend their programming decisions.

Asked why Broadway matters, Nottage stated, “I continue to struggle with why Broadway counts and why we are so involved in presenting our work in these commercial arenas that typically have rejected our stories.” “However, it’s a huge platform. On Broadway, you’re addressing a global audience.”

Most of the playwrights, like Lyons, have never had a Broadway play performed.

‘Thoughts of a Colored Man,’ by Keenan Scott II, tells the story of a day in the life of seven black men in Brooklyn, and it begins previews at the Golden Theater on October 1. For years, Scott created his own work using money borrowed from family and friends at venues such as the Frigid Festival and Frostburg State University, his alma school. Scott began his career in theatre after years as a slam poet.

“When I started reading plays in college, I didn’t recognise myself,” he stated. As a young Black man, “I wasn’t seeing my spirit captured onstage.”