3 Black Female Playwrights Debut New Work on Broadway

Katori Hall, Lydia R. Diamond and Suzan-Lori Parks are all set to kick off a remarkable season on Broadway this year.

By Hatty Lee Sep 21, 2011

There’s big news on Broadway this year. The new season brings with it two new plays written by black women. The first is Katori Hall’s "The Mountaintop," which opens October 13 at the Bernard Jacobs Theater. The story of the play goes back to April 3, 1968, the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and features Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. The second play is "Stick Fly" by Lydia R. Diamond, which opens December 8 at the Cort Theater. "Stick Fly" is about a family coming together at their summer home, where the parents meet the their sons’ partners for the first time. 

And also coming this winter, Suzan-Lori Parks is contributing a revised version of "The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess."

The first Broadway play to be written by a black woman was Lorraine Hansberry’s "Raisin in the Sun." But that was all the way back in 1959.  Since then, plays written by black women have been few and far between. So three productions in one year is somewhat remarkable. As Kenny Leon, the director of both "The Mountaintop" and "Stick Fly" told the New York Times, "I can’t remember the last time there were three women playwrights on Broadway during the same season, let alone three African-American women."

Katori Hall is a playwright from Memphis, Tennessee. Her play "The Mountaintop" opens October 13 on Broadway. It has received critical acclaim and the 2010 Olivier Award when it premiered in London.

Lydia R. Diamond is a playwright from Detroit, Michigan. Her play "Stick Fly" opens December 8 on Broadway. It received the Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Play in 2006.