Wednesday, May 12, 2021


Vinie Burrows. 
WALK TOGETHER CHILDREN [Solo/Literary Anthology] AD: Vinie Burrows; C: Arthur McGee; M: Brother Ahh (Robert Northern); P: Ananse Productions; T: Mercer-Brecht Theatre (OB); 3/16/72-7/2/72 (89)

The remarkable Vinie Burrows, born in 1924 but still active onstage in her when the pandemic struck last year, adapted and starred in this one-woman, two-act anthology of Black American poetry and prose. It originally had been show at the Greenwich Mews Theatre, in 1969. The present version was not listed as a revival, so it is assumed the earlier one was given under Off-Off Broadway circumstances and wasn't technically considered an official premiere. The many authors included Sojourner Truth, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Imamu Amiri Baraka, and Nikki Giovanni

Wearing a red-orange gown, the attractive actress wove the materials together with her own narrative, providing an uplifting and moving event. Mel Gussow noted that the second half, however, conveyed great “bitterness” as modern Black history was rolled out.

In his 1968 review, Clive Barnes had written: "Looking handsome, like an African princess, . . . she lives a hundred lives, tells us of a thousand voices. . . . As an actress, Miss Burrows has the priceless gift of honesty. With nothing but a few lights and a bare stage, she sings and acts without any shadows of deceptions or veils of deceit. Even as everyone she is herself."

On June 2, the show reached its 68th performance and became the longest-running Off-Broadway solo show to date, bypassing Siobhan McKenna’s Here Are Ladies. Eventually, it totaled 89 performances.

Do you enjoy Theatre’s Leiter Side? As you may know, since New York’s theatres were forced into hibernation by Covid-19, this blog has provided daily posts on the hundreds of shows that opened in the city, Off and on Broadway, between 1970 and 1975. These have been drawn from an unpublished manuscript that would have been part of my multivolume Encyclopedia of the New York Stage series, which covers every show, of every type, from 1920 through 1950. Unfortunately, the publisher, Greenwood Press, decided it was too expensive to continue the project beyond 1950.

Before I began offering these 1970-1975 entries, however, Theatre’s Leiter Side posted over 1,600 of my actual reviews for shows from 2012 through 2020. The first two years of that experience were published in separate volumes for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 (the latter split into two volumes). The 2012-2013 edition also includes a memoir in which I describe how, when I was 72, I used the opportunity of suddenly being granted free access to every New York show to begin writing reviews of everything I saw. Interested readers can find these collections on by clicking here.

 Next up: The Waltz of the Toreadors