UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Theatre Professor Steve H. Broadnax III is the director of “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” which premiered on Broadway in October 2021 after runs in Syracuse and Baltimore.
Written by Keenan Scott II, the play blends spoken word, slam poetry, rhythm and humor into a piece about thriving as a Black man in the 21st century. It is the first Broadway show to star and be written, directed and lead-produced by Black artists.
In a recent New York Times article, Broadnax — a Penn State master of fine arts in acting alumnus — discussed how the play has evolved since its world premiere at Syracuse Stage in 2019, when it included two female dancers and an on-stage D.J., none of whom appear in the Broadway iteration.
“We discovered that this was a story, and a space, for these Black men. The women are still very much a part of their worlds. They are there in media; they are there in spirit; they are there in language. But we thought this was a space for the men,” said Broadnax in the interview, which also included Scott, cast member Forrest McClendon, and lead producer Brian Moreland.
The show opened two weeks before the original planned premiere date of Oct. 31, after successful preview performances.
Broadnax also recently directed the premiere of Katori Hall’s 2021 Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Hot Wing King” at New York City’s Signature Theatre and the premiere of Lee Edward Colston’s “The First Deep Breath” at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre, which won a 2020 Libby Adler Mages Award as part of the Jeff Awards for excellence in Chicago theater. He also directed Dominique Morisseau’s “Blood at the Root” — which was commissioned by and premiered at Penn State in 2014 — at the National Black Theatre. The play won the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Theater Award.