Many stories/one body: Black solo performance from vaudeville to spoken word

E. Patrick Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There is a long history of solo performance in the Black performance canon, beginning with Bert Williams in the early twentieth century to the contemporary moment with artists like Anna Deavere Smith and Daniel Beaty. Many of these artists draw from a monologist tradition while others draw their source materials from ethnographic interviews. This chapter will account for the ways in which the Black solo performance tradition has changed over the past century, paying close attention to how historical context affected the form and content of the tradition. Artists covered include Bert Williams, George Walker, Moms Mabley, Daniel Beaty, Sarah Jones, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781351751445
ISBN (Print)9781138726710
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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