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Celebrating Black History with KC Melting Pot Theatre

KC Melting Pot Theatre strives to create a public sphere where the contributions of emerging and established Black playwrights can be shared in an enriching community environment. It works toward building diverse, equitable, and inclusive theater experiences that teach, critique, and model a better America; identifies, trains, and incubates theater talent from historically underserved communities; and it collaborates with artists across the diversity spectrum to create work dedicated to social change.  

Harvey Williams, Lynn King, and Larry “Wise” Guidry (Photo Credit: TK Photography)

The company was established in 2013 by Linda and Harvey Williams, initially to produce one of Harvey’s works; the vision quickly expanded to include other local theater artists, as the company earned its 501(c)(3) status and became the primary resident of Just Off Broadway Theatre. Nicole Hodges Persley of The University of Kansas faculty joined the organization in 2016, becoming artistic director in 2019, and continuing to expand the company’s mission to include historical Black plays, increase community engagement, and expand the Playwright in Residence program. 

In the two decades of its existence, KC Melting Pot has become one of the most intriguing and provocative arts groups in Town, with its savvy mix of classics by August Wilson, Ntozake Shange, and Amiri Baraka and a bold series of new plays by locally based playwrights such as Lewis Morrow. Learn more at KCMeltingPot.com

UPCOMING: This February 9th through the 18th, the company presents Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Fairview, an innovative piece that emphasizes the importance of having Black stories told by Black storytellers. 

Featured in the February 4, 2023 issue of The Independent.
By Paul Horsley

Paul Horsley, Performing Arts Editor 

Paul studied piano and musicology at WSU and Cornell University. He also earned a degree in journalism, because writing about the arts in order to inspire others to partake in them was always his first love. After earning a PhD from Cornell, he became Program Annotator for the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he learned firsthand the challenges that non profits face. He moved to KC to join the then-thriving Arts Desk at The Kansas City Star, but in 2008 he happily accepted a post at The Independent. Paul contributes to national publications, including Dance Magazine, Symphony, Musical America, and The New York Times, and has conducted scholarly research in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic (the latter on a Fulbright Fellowship). He also taught musicology at Cornell, LSU and Park University.



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