The Minstrel Show Revisited

The Minstrel Show Revisited*

February 20-22, 2014 at 8:00pm
Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center
201 Mercer Street Seattle, WA 98109

The Minstrel Show, originally performed in 1991, is Donald Byrd’s satirical look at the often derogatory song-and-dance tradition of minstrelsy. Byrd, in a January 1992 Los Angeles Times interview, said that his “motivation is not to authentically or historically recreate minstrel shows, but to make something that has a feeling of minstrel shows and is structured somewhat like them with more contemporary sensibility.” In the revised version, he writes, “While the racially-motivated slaying of Yusef Hawkins was the original impetus for the creation of the piece, in light of the Trayvon Martin slaying and the George Zimmerman acquittal it seems necessary and timely to revisit it.” The original production won Byrd a 1992 Bessie Award. With traditional music and popular music from the period by Scott Joplin and Stephen Foster, The Minstrel Show Revisited will also include original music from Mio Morales.
*Presented in collaboration with Seattle Repertory Theatre

Thanks to our sponsors: The Boeing Corporation and KUOW



Seattle Times: “Spectrum’s vivid, volatile ‘Minstrel Show’ hits its mark”

City Arts Magazine: “Equal Opportunity Racism in ‘The Minstrel Show Revisited”

SeattleDances: “Spectrum Unpacks Racism”

Crosscut (Preview): “How Trayvon Martin brought a dance work back to new life in Seattle”

KUOW (Preview): “Choreographer Uses Blackface To Confront Racial Attitudes Past And Present”

SeattleDances (Preview): “Minstrel Show Update Revisits Race Conversation”

Seattle Times (Preview): “Donald Byrd’s ‘Minstrel Show’ tackles touchy racial history”

Seattle Weekly (Preview): “Spring Arts: The Button-Pusher, Donald Byrd”


Pre- and Post-Show Discussions

We’d like to further these discussions and invite you to participate in both our pre-show and post-show talkbacks. While the post-show talkbacks will be held in the traditional Spectrum way (in the venue immediately after the show), the pre-show discussions will better help set the stage for what you’re about to see. Join us beginning at 7:15 at The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center in the Founders Room. The pre-show and post-show discussions are included in your ticket price.

Thursday, February 20th:
Pre-show talk: Eva Stone (Choreographer, faculty member of Spectrum Dance Theater)
Post-show talk with: moderator Sandra Jackson-Dumont (Deputy Director of Education & Public Programs, Seattle Art Museum); Lane Czaplinski (Artistic Director, On The Boards); Robert Nellams(Director, Seattle Center), Vivian Phillips (Director of Marketing & Communications, Seattle Theatre Group)

Friday, February 21st:
Pre-show talk: Donald Byrd (Artistic Director, Spectrum Dance Theater)
Post-show talk: Thomas Defrantz, Ph.D (Professor of African American Studies, Duke University)

Saturday, February 22nd:
Pre-show talk: Tonya Lockyer (Executive Director, Velocity Dance Center)
Post-show talk moderator: Florangela Davila (Journalist)


Access to The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center

For details of how to find the venue, and where to park, please visit the Cornish Playhouse website.

Please be aware that there is currently pedestrian improvement work happening along Mercer St, and as a result we’d encourage you to leave plenty of time for your journey. Read the current info and view a map of the construction work area here.