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Hazel Bryant

HAZEL BRYANT  (1939 - 1983)

Nationality:    African American
email:    n/a     Website:    n/a

Literary Agent:    n/a


Hazel Joan Bryant, actress, opera singer, director, and playwright, became one of the most prominent visionaries and producers off Broadway as executive director of the Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art (RACCA) from 1969 to 1983. Born September 8, 1939, to African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Harrison James Bryant and Edith Holland Bryant, the third of six children in their Zanesville, Ohio, home, her childhood was dominated by the excitement of religious rituals and church functions. Her musical talents, nurtured in the church, were refined at the Peabody Preparatory School of Music, Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, and the Mozarteum School of Music. She studied acting with Stella Adler and Harold Clurman and did graduate study in theater administration at Columbia University. Prior to her years as a Director/playwright/producer, she was a working performer. In 1962, she toured Europe with Robert Shaw; on Broadway, she appeared in Funny Girl as Emma with Barbra Streisand, A Taste of Honey as Helen, Hair as Sheila, and Lost in the Stars as Irina; and on tour in Europe performing such operatic roles as Mimi in La Bohème, Bess in Porgy and Bess,Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte, Tosca in Tosca, and Butterfly in Madama Butterfly. She established the Afro-American Total Theater in 1968, initially to produce musicals and operas, but later to stage one-act plays and eventually full-length plays. In 1974-75 the name was changed to the Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art, commemorating the founder of the Methodist tradition of her childhood. RACCA produced more than 200 performances, highlighting numerous special events and spearheaded by Bryant. In 1971, she developed a special youth project in South America; as a result, RACCA was endorsed by the Bishop's Council as the cultural arm of the AME Church. She was the cofounder of the Lincoln Center Street Theater Festival (1971-81) with Mical Whitaker and Geraldine Fitzgerald; produced the first Black Theatre Festival USA in the summer of 1979, featuring ten black theater companies from around the country to celebrate RACCA's tenth anniversary; and produced the first International Black Theatre Festival in the summer of 1980, featuring companies from Africa, London, the Caribbean, and the United States. In 1982, Bryant launched the Holland Limited Touring Company (named after her mother) and took Langston Hughes's Black Nativity to the Vatican in Rome for Pope John Paul II. She wrote several plays that were produced by RACCA:Circles, Star, and Making It. In 1978, the RACCA production of Long Day's Journey into Night was presented at the Public Theatre, and in 1982, it appeared on television starring Ruby Dee and Earle Hyman, winning ACE awards for best production and best actress (Ruby Dee). RACCA received numerous AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee) Award nominations for its productions. Hazel Bryant received the Mayor's Award of Honor for outstanding contributions to the arts in 1978 and a special citation from the governor of New York for the Black Theatre Festival in 1979. Her spirit was summarized in the words of Mical Whitaker, former artistic director of RACCA, who said, "She was a visionary who was always thinking of new things to do and getting new things done." - http://www.fofweb.com/History/MainPrintPage.asp?iPin=AFEBW0432&DataType=AFHC&WinType=Free

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below is a list of Hazel Bryant's plays - click on a Play Title for more information

Attica Trick Or Truth         Black Circles Round Angela         Black Circles, Black Spirits         Jimmy's Carousels         Jimmy's Place         Keys To The Kingdom         Kingmaker         Mae's Amees         Makin' It         On Being Black In White America         Origins         Sheba         Soul Politiken         Star



Attica Trick Or Truth

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1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, Riverside Church Tower, NY    1971

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1st Published:
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Black Circles Round Angela

Synopsis:
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Notes:
written with Jimmey Justice

1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, NY    1974

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1st Published:
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Genre:
Musical

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Black Circles, Black Spirits

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1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, International House, NY    1970

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Jimmy's Carousels

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1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, NY    1972

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Jimmy's Place

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1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre,Arts Foundation, NY    1970

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1st Published:
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Keys To The Kingdom

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1st Published:
Karumu Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio (production manuscript Library),    -

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Kingmaker

Synopsis:
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Notes:
music by Jimmey Justice

1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, NY    1973

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1st Published:
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Music:
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Mae's Amees

Synopsis:
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Notes:
written with Hope Clarke And Hank Johnson

1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, Riverside Church Tower, NY    1969

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1st Published:
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Music:
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Genre:
Musical

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Makin' It

Synopsis:
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Notes:
written with Gertrude Grenidge And Walter Miles

1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, International House, NY    1972

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1st Published:
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Genre:
Musical

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On Being Black In White America

Synopsis:
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Notes:
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1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, International House, NY    1970

Organisations:
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1st Published:
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Music:
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Origins

Synopsis:
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Notes:
written by Beverly Todd, Hazel Bryant And Hank Johnson

1st Produced:
-    1969

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1st Published:
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Genre:
Musical

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Sheba

Synopsis:
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Notes:
written with Jimmey Justice

1st Produced:
Riverside Church Tower, NY    1972

Organisations:
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1st Published:
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Music:
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To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Musical

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Soul Politiken

Synopsis:
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Notes:
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1st Produced:
afro-American Total Theatre, Street Theatre, Lincoln Centre, NY    1969

Organisations:
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1st Published:
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Star

Synopsis:
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1st Produced:
Martinique Theatre, NY    1973

Organisations:
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1st Published:
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Music:
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Genre:
Christmas Play

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