Tag: Classical Theatre of Harlem


    While there’s been much effort to clean up Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park in recent years, it may feel like old times again when the pimps, prostitutes, and junkies of the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s acclaimed production of Melvin Van Peebles’s Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death put on this special outdoor performance. Nominated for […]

  • Trojan Harlem

    When Euripides debuted his Trojan Women at the Dionysian festival of 415 B.C., the play opened with an aloof conversation between Athena and Poseidon regarding how the Greeks ought to be punished for the rape of Cassandra. But in Alfred Preisser’s adaptation, no gods appear. A rather bloodthirsty 10-year-old Trojan begins the play instead. She […]

  • As You Lake It

    The best summary of Waiting for Godot may be Act II’s first stage direction: ” Next day. Same time. Same place.” Samuel Beckett intended that “same place” to be a country road, but in the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s boisterous new production, the locale has been radically shifted to a rooftop above a flooded landscape, […]

  • The Next Batch of Serious Theater Critics Takes on an Impressive New Caligula

    Behold the manBy Chris Mills Has André De Shields made a deal with the devil? As Caligula, in the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s current production, he claims he is God. He sleeps with his sister. Most potently, he has a WWF-style smack-down with Jesus Christ himself—an act he mourns only because, given how handsome Jesus […]

  • Grinding Axes

    “Should Black Actors Play Chekhov?” More than 30 years have passed since The New York Times posed this question as the headline to an Arts and Leisure feature. The occasion was a production of The Cherry Orchard at the Public Theater with an all-black cast, featuring Gloria Foster as Lyubov Renevskaya, the lovelorn, debt-ridden aristocrat […]

  • The interpretation of ‘Dream’: Walcott comes to Harlem

    The Classical Theater of Harlem clearly doesn’t balk at theatrical challenges. Last season’s program included Genet’s The Blacks and Witkiewicz’s The Crazy Locomotive, two innovative landmarks that defy the cookie-cutter model of playwriting favored by today’s tremulous artistic directors. The company’s fall season features Derek Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain, a sprawling poetic epic that […]

  • The Avant-Garde Gets Polished

    The plays of Stanislaw Witkiewicz provide a vertiginous time capsule of 20th-century European reality. Writing in Poland between the First and Second World Wars, Witkiewicz occupied a front-row seat to history, a position that enabled him to anticipate (and travesty) philosophical and aesthetic trends with uncanny prescience. Yet his fruitful proximity offered him no protection […]

  • Theater

    Genet’s Court Gestures Anyone needing further proof that the current Off-Broadway theater scene is a timid place should go see The Blacks: A Clown Show at the Classical Theatre of Harlem and marvel that this starkly expressionistic, mind-fogging, and occasionally downright frightening play by Jean Genet ran for more than 1400 performances following its 1961 […]