Arts and Entertainment

Musicals

What was the first full-length black musical comedy?

A Trip to Coontown (1898) was the first full-length black musical comedy. It was also the first black show to draw a large white audience, and it played for the first time on Broadway in 1898. In a break with the minstrel tradition, it had a cast of characters involved in a story from beginning to end. The show was written and produced by Robert “Bob” Cole (c. 1863–1911), a composer, dancer, singer, musician, and actor. The first black show to be organized, produced, and managed by blacks, it ran for three seasons after its April 1898 debut in New York.



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