“Broadway, Here I Come!”

Marva Griffin Carter

in Swing Along

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195108910
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865796 | DOI:
                   “Broadway, Here I Come!”

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This chapter begins by discussing how the Worth’s Museum in Manhattan initiated Will Cook into musical theater. It talks about how important Bob Cole was to Will Cook in learning the tricks of the theatrical trade. It also talks about Will Cook and Paul Laurence Dunbar’s collaboration in creatively composing songs. It also tells of Cook’s disappointment and depression after being told by his prospective producer that he must be crazy to believe that any Broadway audience would listen to Negroes singing Negro opera. It narrates how Cook gathered another group of talented blacks, succeeded in organizing Broadway’s first black musical-comedy sketch, and gained praise from their audience. It then talks about Abbie Mitchell’s life as Will’s wife. It explains that Will Cook formed and applied his own philosophy—African-Americans should no longer imitate, but rather adhere to their own cultural mores—into his own musical compositions.

Keywords: Worth’s Museum; Bob Cole; Paul Laurence Dunbar; Abbie Mitchell; Negro opera; Clorindy

Chapter.  8368 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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