Blues for Mister Charlie

1792 Words8 Pages
James Baldwin did not want to write this play…at first. He thought American Theatre to be, “…a series, merely, of commercial speculations, stale, repetitious, and timid” (Baldwin 4). In other words, he thought it to be much like today’s Hollywood: the same money making melodramatic plots that are hashed-out over and over again so no one has to gamble on projects that push the envelope. It was not until his friend, Medgar Evers, took him through the back-woods of Mississippi to investigate the 1955 murder of a young Black teen named Emmett Till, and the later death of Evers, that Baldwin decided to write his first play. Baldwin bore witness to Evers’ inspections and hushed inquiries all night as they were followed by state troopers. Years later, these memories would compel Baldwin to finish Blues for Mister Charlie (4-6). The original Broadway production premiered at the ANTA Playhouse owned by The American National Theater and Academy in 1964 (IBDB). The theater still stands to this day, but due to the plethora of times it has changed hands, it is now known as the August Wilson Theatre after its most recently deceased owner. Previews began on Tuesday, April 14th, just before the spring season on Broadway. Previews are a productions way of testing out a show before officially opening. Technical and acting changes may still be made and, in worse case scenarios, a show may be stopped mid-performance to fix something. For this reason, the tickets are usually cheaper. After 8 previews, the show of the show officially opened a week later on the Thursday the 23rd. The production lasted the whole season and closed on Saturday, August 29th of the same year with a total of 148 performances. This is not considered a particularly long run. ... ... middle of paper ... ...rlem Arts Theatre. Advertisement. New Haarlem Arts Theatre. The City College of New York. Web. 04 June 2011. . • Taubman, Howard. "Theater: 'Blues for Mister Charlie'" Rev. of Blues For Mister Charlie: A Drama In Three Acts. New York Times [New York] 24 Apr. 1964. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Web. 30 May 2011. . • Turner, Darwin T. "Visions of Love and Manliness in a Blackening World: Dramas of Black Life from 1953-1970." The Iowa Review Spring 6.2 (1975): 82-99. JSTOR. Web. 30 May 2011. . • Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, The. Dir. Keith Beauchamp. Till Freedom Come Productions, LLC, 2005. The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. TH!NKFiLM COMPANY INC. Web. 3 June 2011. .

More about Blues for Mister Charlie

Open Document