Vinnette Justine Carroll was the first African-American woman to direct on Broadway, and so far the only African-American woman to be nominated for a Tony Award in Direction. Born in 1922, Carroll moved with her family to Jamaica at a young age, spending much of her life there. Encouraged by her father to pursue medicine, she received an MA in Psychology from New York University, and completed doctoral work at Columbia. In 1948 Carroll dropped her Psychology profession to pursue a career in theater, studying with Lee Stasberg and Stella Adler.
Carroll made her Broadway debut in 1957, and continued to work regularly thereafter. She founded the Urban Arts Corps in 1967 to support minority participation in the theatrical arts. In 1972 Carroll directed Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, a gospel revue of her own creation, becoming the first black woman to direct on Broadway. The production garnered 4 Tony Award nominations, including direction; making her the only black woman to be nominated for the award. Carroll passed away in 2002 at the age of 80, but her legacy as a trailblazer for women of color in the arts lives on.
–Post by Stephen Eckert, Tulane University Student
1 comment in this article
February 9, 2012 pm29 13:51
The lyrics of Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope are tattooed onto my soul. I was too young to see the musical on Broadway but the album spun daily on our family record player and was my introduction to music as well as to political action and justice.