In Celebration and Recognition of Black History Month

In celebration and support of Black History Month, Theatre Tampa Bay would like to take the time to recognize productions that are centered on African American stories, heritage, social justice, and celebration. 

We are encouraged to see the Tampa Bay theatre arts community continue to make strides in diversifying their seasons, progress is slowly occurring, but we recognize that progress is happening.  It is important that we as a theatre community continue to advocate and support underrepresented narratives on stage. 

These upcoming and recent presentations are from our incredible member companies of TTB!

Stageworks Theatre: The Color Purple, Sept 2022 (sold out run)

The Color Purple exposes African American female narratives and identities through Celie Harris’s life of abuse in a sexist and racist society and how her empowering relationships with sister Nettie, friend Shug, and relative Sofia drive her towards self-acceptance and independence.

Stageworks Theatre: When The Righteous Triumph, Upcoming Production Mar 17-Apr 2nd 2023

Step back in time with this world premiere play written by Tampa’s own Mark E. Leib. Tampa’s historical civil rights leaders take center stage in this drama about the lunch counter protests here in the 1960s. About the desegregation of lunch counters through sit ins done here in Tampa 1960s.

Straz Center, Crowns, Upcoming Production May 24- Jun 11, 2023

Following last season’s nearly sold-out successful run, this musical celebration of African American heritage and the glory of looking your Sunday best returns. A moving and celebratory musical play about the strength and trials of Black women in which hats and gospel music become a springboard for an exploration of Black history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young Black woman who has come down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. Hats are everywhere, in exquisite variety, and the characters use the hats to tell tales concerning everything from the etiquette of hats to their historical and contemporary social functioning.  Witness the power of the crown as a group of strong, small-town “Hat Queens” teach a wayward young sister from the city to survive and thrive through tragedy, love and healing – all with plenty of “hat-titude

Jobsite Theatre: Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, Upcoming Production Aug 18-28 2023

When this drama premiered shortly after the uprisings and riots erupting from the verdict in Rodney King’s case, the Los Angeles Times called it “the most comprehensive literary response” that channeled “the cacophony of voices at the city’s heart.” Some 28 years after those events Anna Deavere Smith’s one-person masterpiece continues to reverberate powerfully within the context of our current times.

A “living newspaper,” Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 doesn’t take sides or offer solutions to the complicated, fraught issues but instead presents the consequences from that moment, leaving it in the hands of the audience to consider.

Powerstories Theatre: Alabama Story, Upcoming Production Dates TBD

As the Civil Rights movement is brewing, a controversial children’s book about a black rabbit marrying a white rabbit stirs the passions of a segregationist State Senator and a no-nonsense State Librarian in 1959 Montgomery, Alabama. A contrasting story of childhood friends—an African American man and a woman of white privilege, reunited in adulthood—provides private counterpoint to the public events swirling in the state capital. Political foes, star-crossed lovers, and one feisty children’s author inhabit the same page in a Deep South of the imagination that brims with humor, heartbreak, and hope. Inspired by true events!

TTB would also like to applaud the works of non-member companies that are helping to trailblaze diversity on stage. 

Have we missed a recent or upcoming production that needs to be highlighted? Please let us know in the comments!

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