(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

THE BLACK EMPEROR OF BROADWAY: This film tells the story of Charles S. Gilpin, the first Black actor to star on Broadway (in the 1920 production of Eugene O'Neill's THE EMPEROR JONES). The story is the right story, but some of the actors do not have the strength to carry the characters as written. Shaun Parkes does fine as Gilpin, but John Hensley in particular needs more power and gravitas in the role of Eugene O'Neill, which he underplays what is written in this script. On the whole, this feels like a summer production, and has difficulty making a play's central issue seem like it's worth the sound and fury. Released 09/15/20; available on Amazon Prime and on DVD. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4)

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2021 Mark R. Leeper