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At Mother Dunbar’s Request

Saturday, March 15th, 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 16th, 3:00 PM

Poetry Foundation
61 West Superior Street
Free Admission

At the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Frederick Douglass called Paul Laurence Dunbar “the most promising young colored man in America.” Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872 and a friend of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Dunbar would become one of the most prolific and acclaimed poets, playwrights and lyricists of his time, known for both his dialect and Standard English works. In fact, Dunbar wrote the lyrics for the first productions on Broadway to feature all-African American casts. Set in 1906 and designed to evoke a traditional parlor evening of the early 20th century, this staged production of At Mother Dunbar’s Request, written by Paxton Williams, sees a pensive and spirited Dunbar entertaining guests as only he can. The work features over 30 Dunbar poems as well as a number of Negro spirituals and works by Stephen Foster, Will Marion Cook, Frederic Chopin, Sir Edward Elgar and Robert Burns. This production shines a light on Dunbar’s humor, wit, and appreciation for the time in which he lived, and shows how relevant his works can be today, addressing as he did topics such as race relations, the criminal justice system, creativity and imagination, love, nature, and religion.

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