fbpx Theatre History Podcast # 19 | HowlRound Theatre Commons

Theatre History Podcast # 19

Jeremy Morris on His New Play About Vaudeville Performer Bert Williams, The Top of Bravery



Bert Williams was one of the most important African-American performers in the history of the American stage. He became one of the first African-American superstars and starred in what was arguably the first African-American plays on Broadway. Now, actor and playwright Jeremy Morris is sharing Williams’s story in a new play, The Top of Bravery.

vintage photo
Bert Williams, photographed c. 1911. Via the Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library.


vintage photo of a group of actors
Hattie McIntosh, George Walker, Aida Overton Walker, Bert Williams, and Lottie Williams performing in In Dahomey, c. 1903. Via the Billy Rose Theatre Collection at the New York Public Library.

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Thoughts from the curator

This podcast aims to introduce listeners to the artists, scholars, and archivists who are working to bring the history of performance to life. We hope that, by listening to this show, you’ll learn about exciting new performances, fascinating books, and valuable repositories of knowledge, all of which will help you better understand theatre’s history.

Theatre History Podcast


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this is brilliant-- the realities of the era and so much is included. His life and success were occurring at the same time and likely previous to Chaplin's success as well. Jeremy has written a wonderful play I'm sure. I am in love with this era and August Wilson would support this if he were still here, so thank you for writing this. This interview is really intelligent and I love how it addresses social progress and the stage arts of this time