Quill Theatre Gift Certificate - $65, two tickets to any show in our 2015-2016 season!
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Quill Theatre and our Community Partners, The University of Richmond Downtown and The Robinson Theatre Community Arts Center, are proud to present The Top of Bravery: An Evening with Bert Williams. The last in our Historical Reading Series, the performance will be followed by a lively and illuminating talkback with director Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, actor and playwright Jeremy Morris, and an esteemed panel of scholars.
Written by and starring Jeremy Morris, The Top of Bravery: An Evening with Bert Williams looks back on the remarkable life and times of Bert Williams. Termed by W.C. Fields as “the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest,” Williams was one of the most beloved entertainers of the Vaudeville Era and an international celebrity. Born in the Bahamas, later forced by economic hardship to abandon his civil engineering studies at Stanford, Williams began a show business career that launched him from carnival barker to Broadway star.
Performing in blackface, as did many of his white and black contemporaries, and despite his fame as a leading performer and master of subtle physical comedy, Williams' endured indignities onstage as well as off, due to his race. In Richmond, for example, his star turn in the 1916 Ziegfeld Follies caused the scheduled Academy Theatre performance to be cancelled because “it was not thought wise” for a black actor to appear in a show with white performers.
Our talkback discussion will focus on African-American performers in America at the turn of the century with a special focus on Richmond’s social, cultural and theatrical history including minstrel shows, black vaudevillians, and “Chitlin Circuit” performances at the Hippodrome.Purchase