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You Can Thank the Keyboardist From Bon Jovi If Samuel L. Jackson Plays MLK on Broadway

The Times today identifies a new Broadway trend: plays marketed toward black audiences. Crazy! Apparently, with overall Broadway ticket sales down 3 percent from last season, producers of shows that feature black characters are actually actively attempting to address the underserved market. Says the Times:


Either way, more Broadway productions with black characters are coming soon — Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical, The Scottsboro Boys, and The Mountaintop, that last one potentially starring Samuel L. Jackson as Martin Luther King Jr. and Halle Berry as a not-quite-human chambermaid — with the insinuation being that their existence is largely owed to the success of the aforementioned shows. So, to recap: If Jackson does play MLK on Broadway, you can partially thank Memphis' composer, and Bon Jovi keyboardist, David Bryan.

The way this is phrased makes it seem like Broadway is just now realizing that shows with black main characters are commercially and critically worthy endeavors. That can't possibly be true, right? Well, as the paper dutifully points out, Oprah Winfrey did try it with The Color Purple all the way back in 2005.

Either way, more Broadway productions with black characters are coming soon — Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical, The Scottsboro Boys, and The Mountaintop, that last one potentially starring Samuel L. Jackson as Martin Luther King Jr. and Halle Berry as a not-quite-human chambermaid — with the insinuation being that their existence is largely owed to the success of the aforementioned shows. So, to recap: If Jackson does play MLK on Broadway, you can partially thank Memphis' composer, and Bon Jovi keyboardist, David Bryan.

Broadway Sees Benefits of Building Black Audience [NYT]

Photo: AFP (King) Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images (Jackson)