“The Naked House Painting Society”
“Easily the festival’s best. Riveting drama with genuine humor and intense relationships. Mystical in nature, the play turns on incisive philosophical dialogue.” — Winifred Walsh, The Baltimore Sun
“Slavery,” a play in one act
Ownership is the issue as two associates draft a patent at a huge law firm in Robert Bowie, Jr’s one‑act play “Slavery.”
“Crash & Burn PA”
“It’s pretty damned refreshing. Tightly woven, with comic prowess and a nicely fast pace. If you want a carefree night of fun and laughs, this is your ticket.” — Pandora Locks
“Witchcraft,” a play in one act
“‘Witchcraft’ offers the suspenseful flavor of Alfred Hitchcock show. The drama unfolds with many unanticipated twists and turns…” — Janet Stidman Evleth
Plays by Robert Bowie, Jr…
Sold-Out Shows, Rave Reviews!
Our FringeNYC premiere could not have gone better…
ONAJE sold out all five shows, the performances were riveting, and both audiences and critics were exceedingly positive. Check out these great reviews from onstageblog.com and Theatre is Easy (theasy.com) .
Thanks again to our incredible cast, crew, and creative team — and to everyone whose generous support helped bring ONAJE to life!
Let’s first be grateful, and then let’s take this apart piece by piece.
Last Sunday The New York Times theatre section reported that seven plays by Black authors would open on Broadway this fall: “Chicken & Biscuits,” “Trouble in Mind,” “Lackawanna Blues,” “Clyde’s”, “Skeleton Crew,” “Pass Over,” and “Thoughts of a Colored Man.”
Broadway’s pre-pandemic theater season featured two plays by Black authors. The previous season, there had been just one play and in the season before there had been none.
All seven plays in varying degrees have been time tested off-Broadway, whether it be recently or in the past. They are all interesting and worthy based on their past history and past reviews. With the exception of Lynn Nottage, who is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, they all offer new voices about the human condition.
The article wondered whether this trend to welcome Black authors would continue. The fear is that Broadway’s traditional white audiences would not attend these plays and thus they might fail financially.
Historically, something like only one out of five Broadway plays ever recoups its expenses.
To produce a play on Broadway is extremely expensive. The New York Times article reported: “According to filings with the securities and exchange commission, ‘Thoughts of a Colored Man’ is costing up to $5 million to mount; ‘Chicken & Biscuits,’ up to $3.5 million; and ‘Pass Over’ up to $2.8 million.”
Also, it would be easy for those who want an excuse to blame the lack of attendance of Black audiences. The Times reported: “In 2018-19, 74 percent of theatergoers were white, and 4 percent were black, according to a demographic report by the Broadway League, a trade association representing producers in theater owners.”
Theaters rely heavily on tourists for ticket sales and all these plays come to Broadway under the threat of the pandemic.
But this may not be an appropriate way to measure success or failure for these plays or their authors.
If these seven plays and their authors do not succeed according to Broadway standards, they will nonetheless have received the blessing of the Broadway brand and will have the afterlife and influence of future performances in one of more of the 74 regional theaters in 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Regional theaters rely more on seasonal subscribers who love theater and remain more open to new works, particularly if they have been blessed with a Broadway production.
For these playwrights, this new visibility will offer a brighter future for their future works.
Of course, the greatest benefit is for us, the theater-going public, because these new playwrights will finally be able to introduce new stories from a different perspective about our human condition.
Theatre is different than almost any other art form in the way it communicates and has impact. It is a staged conversation which is also a conversation between the stage and the audience. It is powerful because it is intimate and live.
Perhaps these are the conversations that we have been unable to have in a polarized country.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." — H. L. Mencken September 12 is H.L. Mencken’s birthday. He was a wonderful...
Baltimore is a great theater town but sometimes you have to leave home to appreciate it. It offers way more access and opportunities than the theater world recognizes. Last week, I traveled to New York and stayed at a hotel in the East Village across the street from...
Today, August 24, is my father’s birthday. He was born in 1909 and died in 2013. Somehow my love and respect for him continues to grow. It happened over time but it is much like what Mark Twain said: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly...
About Robert Bowie, Jr.
“Without the arts, we are a rudderless boat.”
— Robert Bowie, Jr.