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

Details

The First Breeze of Summer
By Leslie LeeSignature Theatre
555 West 42nd Street
212-244-7529

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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