It is with a great sense of purpose and pleasure to develop a second edition of the Historical Dictionary of African American Theater. The book reflects the rich history and representation of the black aesthetic, and the significance of African American theater history, its fleeting present, and its promise to the future.
This second edition like the first was written by Anthony D. Hill, only this time alone, although the book is nearly twice as large. And it is hard to imagine who else could have done this. During his career that spanded decades, aside from covering the whole range of African-American Theatre, he gave special attention to the career and work of August Wilson. He wrote not only the first edition of this volume but also The Harlem Renaissance: A Chronicle of Performance; and was a contributing editor to History of the Theatre (9th ed.).
In addition, he wrote many articles and essays, some of which appeared in Text & Presentation: Journal of the Comparative Drama Conference; Black Studies: Current Issues, Enduring Questions; and African American Review (formerly Black American Literature Forum). Indeed, his contribution to the study and understanding of African-American Theatre was so great it is hard to see who could take his place.
The advancement of African American theater is also linked to the advancement of American theater in general. An extensive, valuable and rare collection of data in the first edition, it is now overflowing in a greatly expanded and enriched second edition. The dictionary section, the core of the book, now has nearly a thousand selected entries on African American theater. It is a vibrant and unique entity enriched by ancient Egyptian rituals, West African folklore, and European theatrical practices.
A continuum of African folk traditions, it combines storytelling, mythology, rituals, music, song, and dance with ancestor worship from prehistoric times to the present. It has afforded black artists a cultural gold mine to celebrate what life is and has been for the African American in the New World. Being aware of this rich black theatrical history is most rewarding, but it is also a daunting task knowing there is still a vast amount of information not previously accessible to the greater theater community.
The second edition expands that information and paints a clearer, more complete picture of African American theater. This edition celebrates nearly 200 years of black theater in the United States–a cross-section of the thousands of black theater artists across the country. It identifies representative African American theater-producing organizations, playwrights, and selected works by these playwrights, actors and directors.
The edition chronicles their contributions to the field, from its birth in 1816 to 2017; and expands and expounds on the role these artists played in advancing black performance in the post August Wilson era. Included are more than 900 entries building on the first edition that ended in 2008. It provides a segue from that period to the post August Wilson era that includes updates, additional entries, theme issues; and the inclusion of design technicians.
. . .a dictionary that spans from A to Z - display(s) a thorough knowledge of who's who in black theatre, going as far back as the African Grove Theatre's founder William Alexander Brown in the 1820's and moving forward to the present."
"His contribution to the study and understanding of African-American Theatre was so great it is hard to see who could take his place."
You can also send information by mail to:
Hill Enterprises, P.O. Box 28993, Seattle, WA 98118-9998