The Signature Theatre Revives The First Breeze of Summer

Thirty-three years after its premiere, Summer faces a different climate

A gentle heart amid the hubbub: Leslie Uggams (foreground) and Yaya Dacosta
Richard Termine
A gentle heart amid the hubbub: Leslie Uggams (foreground) and Yaya Dacosta


The First Breeze of Summer
By Leslie LeeSignature Theatre
555 West 42nd Street

But in part, as noted, the fault is history's, not the artists'. When Lee's play was first produced, "Black is beautiful" was a newly formulated concept; till then, what black Americans had striven for was a dignity equal to (or surpassing) that which whites had claimed as their exclusive property. Once the property was no longer exclusive, there was no need to claim it: Black having become beautiful, blacks could be unbeautiful with impunity, like everybody else. The First Breeze of Summer, sketchily, maps this dialectic; time, having filled in a few more lines, has made Lee's play, too, a point on that map.

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I saw this drama on TV in 1975 or 76 in San Fransisco. The one scene I remember is where the grandson is on the porch with his grandma and (finds the Holy Spirit?)  cries.  All I know is that I cried...It was an incredibly moving performance  I have never forgotten, and have wondered over the decades if there was ANYone who might help me find it again! Enter the age of the only wish I could find the original film.  Could someone possibly help me?

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