Currently directed on Broadway by choreographic superstar Camille A. Brown, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf was written by Ntozake Shange as a choreopoem—a fusion of dance, poetry, music, and text—to celebrate the many aspects of what it means to be a Black woman. This Broadway revival, the first since its premiere in 1976, is ruled by a cast of seven Black women who each embody a specific color of the rainbow and aim to take audiences on a transcendent journey of healing.
1. for colored girls breaks numerous barriers
This production marks the first time in over 55 years that a Black woman (Camille A. Brown) has directed and choreographed a production on Broadway. When the play premiered in 1976, it revealed a new form of theatre―based upon African griot traditions fused with Black American sensibilities―and also gave Broadway its first in-depth look into the souls of Black women. And with this year's Tony Award nominations, Camille A. Brown has also become the first person in history to receive nominations for both best director and best choreographer of a play!
2. This production highlights joy over tragedy.
Though she could have turned this revival into a somber affair, Brown has focused her production on joy and overcoming tragedy. Given our current political circumstances and the constant negative portrayal of Black lives in the media, it is wonderful to walk into a show that has the goal of allowing audiences to laugh, cry, and work out some of their unprocessed trauma and then leave with a bounce in their step.
3. The dancing evokes several varieties of movement.
Camille A. Brown fills for colored girls… with authentic movement that is both familiar (line dances and salsa) and tied to sophisticated Pan-African dancing, while making it all appear as if anyone could do it. She also collaborated with Jaylen Petinaud's drum composition on Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby's original music.
4. Fans and stars are fighting to extend the show for colored girls.
After the show announced that it was closing on May 22nd, Broadway producer and former critic Ayanna Prescod started a movement of buying tickets for people who could not afford to see the show. Inspired by her gesture, Broadway stars including Bebe Neuwrirth, Chita Rivera, Stephanie J. Block, and John Michael Hill joined by donating to a newly created fund and spreading word among their followers. The effort was a success and the show will now close June 5.
5. The cast is a mix of seasoned veterans and debuts.
for colored girls features several Broadway veterans: 2022 Tony nominee Kenita R. Miller, American Utopia lead dancer Tendayi Kuumba, and Alexandria Wailes, who has made extensive contributions to Broadway as an associate choreographer and director of artistic sign language. The cast is rounded out by a set of Broadway babies including the noted RnB singer D. Woods; Bessie Award–winning dancer and Drama League and Lucille Lortel Award–nominated actor Okwui Okpokwasili; Drama Desk, Drama League, and Lucille Lortel award–nominated actor Stacey Sargeant; and up-and-coming actor Amara Granderson.
6. The show is unapologetically Black.
In writing for colored girls, Ntozake Shange refused to water down her critique of how Black women experience life. Rather than cater to respectability politics or the universal gaze, she elevated the feelings of Black women so that they could finally see themselves celebrated onstage and so that others could finally recognize themselves through the Black feminine gaze.