Quote of the Day: “You make me smile with my heart…” – “My Funny Valentine”
August Wilson’s Come and Gone: The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright died over the weekend. We knew it was coming—it had been reported that he’d been diagnosed with liver disease—but it was still almost a shock to hear. His epic cycle of plays spanning the African American experience from the turn of one century to the beginning of the next redefined theatrical ambition. The Jujamcyn theater organization, which has produced many Broadway productions of Wilson’s plays, has announced that the old Virginia Theater will be renamed the August Wilson Theater. “I don’t write about the blues,” Wilson told Playbill in 1996. “I’m not influenced by the blues. I am the blues.” And he played them for us, lovely, with his pen.
Give Us a Rhyme, Nipsey: Another legend of black entertainment passed Sunday. Comedian and actor Nipsey Russell, he of the quick quip and open smile and loose style, an all-around entertainer who acted, sang, and danced all over the stage, the TV and the silver screen. I mostly remember Nipsey from his smarter-than-most moments on daytime game shows like Pyramid and Rhyme or Reason when I was home sick from elementary school in the 70s, but my favorite Nipsey memory, of course, is his turn as the Tin Man in the movie of The Wiz, clowning his way through “Slide Some Oil to Me”, emoting his way through “What Would I Do If I Could Feel” and keeping up with Diana and Michael in those “Ease on Down the Road” numbers on the yellow linoleum brick road. He’ll be missed.