The Return of For Colored Girls!

forcoloredgirlsThere was a time, not so long ago, when everyone knew Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow isn’t Enuf. It’s powerful meditation on violence against women, the intersections of oppressions, reproductive rights, and the resilience of women was often powerfully evoked during Domestic Violence Awareness events on college campuses and in community theaters alike. It premiered outside of Berkeley in 1975. The Tony nominated play (and its Tony winning lead) also ran for 3 months off-Broadway before a two year run on Broadway from 1976-1978. It also had a brief revival in 2000 off-Broadway. Other feminist venues have performed it sporadically across N. America including its most recent production at Out Ch’yonda in Albuquerque NM. It has also enjoyed global success being performed in venues around the world.

The choreopoem not only sheds light on violence but also the powerful resilience and the pain of women’s daily lives in the face of interlocking oppressions and violence. It shows them surviving on their own and coming together to support one another through the issues that continue to plague us despite “four waves” in the movement. As one reviewer put it “wounds and dreams intermingle” in For Colored Girls; for many women who remember it’s annual performance, reading it aloud, or teaching it, it is that intermingling that made it such a powerful feminist work. It’s impact has been wide enough to be appropriated for the titles of conferences, books, and articles.

Though it has been eclipsed by less diversely focused scripts on college campuses, it continues to be a powerfulindiasinging healing tool for women in shelter and recovery arts programs, touching on the realities of poverty, domestic and sexual violence, and trying to survive. For Colored Girls gendered themes also continued to strike powerful chords outside of N. America. It has been performed/imagined as an all black as well as a multicultural cast by Shange herself as well as other directors.

For Colored Girls returns to Broadway proper this summer. Though the cast has yet to be solidified, India Arie has already signed on. 3 time Tony winner Hinton Battle will choreograph the play and Shirley Jo Finney will direct it.

5 thoughts on “The Return of For Colored Girls!

  1. thats exciting.Hopefully if I get this summer teaching job in New York I will be able to see it.Thank you so much for sharing the good news.

  2. Fantastic! I read it on my own in middle school. It’s shameful to admit that I haven’t read it again since, so thanks for the reminder. Wish I was ever in NY…

  3. is no one going to be in NYC in the summer?!Fal – make sure this teaching gig is useful to your overall career goals and not just exploitative labor. Save time for publishing/research or if you aren’t that far a long for working on your diss or thesis.

  4. It must be kismet, because I was reflecting on this production the other day. I remember that PBS showed “For Colored Girls…” many years ago. I no not the stage company which performed it.Thank you, profebw, for the info.

  5. 😀 hey miss profe. If you remember let me know. The only DVD I can find is of the rewritten version in 1981 which does not do it justice.

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