MANHATTAN — One of New York’s Very Own has been working on his passion project play for 15 years; Wednesday night, Keenan Scott II’s “Thoughts of a Colored Man” made history in several different ways.
It’s the first new Broadway show to open since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the Great White Way. But it also leads a class of seven new plays this year written by Black playwrights.
The show’s lead producer Brian Moreland joined the PIX11 News at 4 p.m. to discuss the groundbreaking opening.
“I’m saddened that we are the first but I am also elated because it just means there is more to come,” Moreland said.
In a previous interview with PIX11, playwright Ruben Santiago-Hudson said the pressure is on for each of these seven shows, even if that’s just a byproduct of relaunching the industry after the pandemic.
To be able to regain the beauty and life of live theater, to bring that back to society, I am extremely proud of that,” Santiago-Hudson, who wrote “Lackawanna Blues,” said. “But I am also very cautious. All of the sudden, seven Black plays to start out a season…People don’t even know if they want to come back to the theater. So what do we throw out there? We throw out seven Black plays? I think, if we want to be strategic about it, we would pace us out.”
While each of the seven new plays has a different message and story, Santiago-Hudson said “What I’m hoping is that people come out to support us all.”
“Thoughts of a Colored Man,” written by Scott, shares the “vibrant and vulnerable experiences” of seven Black men “far beyond the barbershops and basketball courts of their community,” according to the show’s website synopsis.
Scott is a native New Yorker with a background in slam poetry — something you’ll certainly notice sitting in the theater.
“We like to talk about it as a slam narrative,” Moreland said, calling it a “new genre” being created.
“Thoughts of a Colored Man” is playing at the John Golden Theatre on W. 45th Street.
PIX11’s Paris Carter, Brynne Gadinis, Rebecca Millman, and Marcia Paris contributed.