Brava! Women Make American Theater

monochrome image of women performers on a stage; the bottom left reads Brava! Women  Make American Theater
Friday, January 28, 2022 - 12:00am to Sunday, July 3, 2022 - 12:00am
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Open weekdays to Yale students, staff, and faculty authorized to be on campus. Visit the Beinecke Library website for specific hours and details.

Brava! Women Make American Theater showcases, through archival materials, the ways in which women in the United States engaged in the production and reception of text-based stage performance over its long history. Far from offering a comprehensive account of women in theatrical enterprises, Brava! highlights how stage performance often mirrored, but also frequently challenged and changed, understandings of women’s roles and of women’s rights in larger U.S. society. Drawing principally on materials in the Yale Collection of American Literature and the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of African American Arts and Letters, the exhibit explores how theater served as a site of women’s entry into public audiences for the arts in the 19th century, an entrée into the arts as professions in the 20th century, and a locus of calls for diversity in the arts in the 21st century.

The Queen of the Cakewalk! Vera Wilson and her trademark toe-posing! The prettiest woman ever charged with murder in Chicago! Industrial pageants and labor plays! Satires and farces! Great moral dramas! Legs!

A celebration of women in every aspect of American theater making. She sings! She dances! She acts! She directs! She produces, and designs costumes, and choreographs, and researches, and writes! Women make American theater!

Starring: Tallulah Bankhead, Cheryl Crawford, Lorraine Hansberry, Lillian Hellman, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Zora Neale Hurston, Judith Malina, Rose McClendon, Carlotta Monterey O’Neill, Geraldine Page, Sarah Ruhl, Irene Sharaff, Maureen Stapleton, Gertrude Stein, Paula Vogel, Aida Overton Walker. Margaret Webster … And many more!