(Joplin, MO) – Joplin Little Theatre and The Langston Hughes Cultural Society will honor Joplin-born poet Langston Hughes during An Evening with Langston Hughes. A poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist, Hughes was one of the earliest innovators of jazz poetry and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. The evening will feature poetry readings of more than 30 of Hughes’ works.
Poetry reading is conceived by Nanda Nunnelly, with the production directed by Nanda Nunnelly and Greg Green. Lighting design is by Jessie Smith.
Those participating in the readings are Nanda Nunnelly, Lisa Olliges, Melodee Colbert-Kean, JahKi Byrant, Ashley Benson, Julie Ensor, David Green, Alisha Nunnelly, Keenan Cortez, Ashley Trotnic, Howie Nunnelly, Melissa Swindell, and Latayzia Harris.
Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 to May 22, 1967) was the first black writer in America to earn his living from writing. Born in Joplin, he had a migratory childhood following his parents’ separation, spending time in the American Midwest and Mexico. He attended Columbia University from 1921-1922. His works were gaining notice from New York publishers, he started to gain recognition from the creative community in Harlem.
After leaving Columbia, he worked his way on a freighter to African, then spent time in Europe, the Soviet Union, and the Caribbean before heading back to the USA. He made Harlem his primary home and was a prominent member of the Harlem Renaissance, the name given to the flowering of intellectual and cultural activity among the black community of New York at that time. When he died in 1967, Hughes had lived into the Decade of Protest and saw many of the reforms he had fought for introduced.
A limited number of tickets are available and may only be purchased over the phone at 417.623.3638 beginning Monday, February 8. Tickets are $12 a piece and there will be no online reservation available. Masks are required. Social distancing will be observed.
This production has been granted rights by Harold Ober Associates, Inc. and the Estate of Langston Hughes.
Joplin Little Theatre