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Dinwiddie on African American Theater

"The ramifications are more important than just having a hit show." — Michael Dinwiddie

Feb 1, 2020

Screengrab image from the video of Michael Dinwiddie speaking

Playwright and Gallatin faculty member Michael Dinwiddie (BA ’80, TSOA MFA ’83) was featured in the February 1, 2020, On Stage segment that aired on NY1 at the start of Black History Month and spotlit African American trailblazers in American theater.

“Part of what African Americans have done, and have had to do continuously since the beginning, was claim a sense of ownership of their identity, ownership of how they should be depicted, and to create a roundness in our culture,” said Dinwiddie.

Highlighting some of the first productions about African American culture that hit Broadway, the episode tracks the history of the pioneering artists who earned numerous Tony awards and other recognition as their stars rose. Along with Dinwiddie, the segment features playwright and author Dominique Morisseau, who spoke at Gallatin last February, and legendary Broadway press agent Irene Gandy, both of whom echoed the call for better representation as African American women in the arts. 

Watch the video below to learn more about the artists and performances that continue to define the growth of African American Theater. Dinwiddie’s current course offerings are “Poets in Protest: Footsteps to Hip-Hop,” and “Sissle, Blake and the Minstrel Tradition.”

— Mary Gonzalez (BA ’20)