Problem in mind debuted on Broadway after more than 60 years after making its Broadway debut in August 1957. The play was the brainchild of Alice Childress who was known in the industry as “the only African-American woman to write, produce , and published plays for four decades. âChildress was a novelist, actress, and playwright from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Originally planned as an off-Broadway transfer in 1955
Problem in mind was originally produced as an Off-Broadway production in 1955, where it was a resounding success for two years. It was later announced that the show would move to a Broadway theater in 1957, but plans began to falter when backers realized the show’s message was very opposed to the Broadway establishment and that the show would incur the wrath of the Shubert organization. When the backers realized the playwright was black too, they pulled out completely.
Real life art mimics art
The fact that the show couldn’t make it to Broadway at the time is somewhat ironic, as the show itself tells the story of a struggling actress who runs into great difficulty when she tries to. appear on Broadway. Just years before this show premiered, Childress had become the first African-American woman to professionally produce in the New York theater with her play. Gold through the trees in 1952.
Childress dies before seeing Broadway shows
Childress tragically died of a heart attack in 1994 at the age of 77 and unfortunately never got to see any of her plays performed on the Great White Way. Charles Randolph-Wright, award-winning Broadway actor and board member of the Roundabout Theater Company, directs the show and helps bring it to life for a modern take on the subject. Randolph-Wright expressed some empathy for Childress, as he, too, took the slow lane on Broadway through racism and inequality.