Jun 15, 2023
Jul 2, 2023

The Dark Star from Harlem: The Spectacular Rise of Josephine Baker

By Glynn Borders and Mario E. Sprouse

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Josephine Baker is a legend’s legend. The honors bestowed upon her during her lifetime are epic. As the first foreigner and the first African American woman inducted into the French Pantheon, she was immortalized, 46 years after her death. She was also the only woman to speak at the March on Washington, in 1963, prior to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, I HAVE A DREAM speech. Josephine Baker was a trailblazing, U.S. born civil rights activist, whose origins began on the vaudeville stage. She later performed at the Cotton Club and the Plantation Club, as well on Broadway.  

Our story follows 19-year-old Josephine arriving in Paris, France for the first time, in 1925, seven years after WWI and five years after the pandemic. She was simply a cast member of La Revue Negre, an All-Black performance troupe from Harlem. Their mission: introduce the French to a brand-new music called jazz and the dance that went along with it, the Charleston. How did a goofy, teenage chorus-girl, who crossed her eyes and made gawky faces, become an overnight success without speaking French? How did she influence the avant-garde of the modern art era? Most importantly, what made her rise to fame and cultural significance so spectacular? THE DARK STAR FROM HARLEM explores the answers to these questions and many more.

Glynn Borders (Book) is a writer, director, producer, award-winning solo show performer, union stagehand and teaching artist. He has worked Off-Broadway, Broadway and was the Special Effects Director for The Late Show with David Letterman, then Stephen Colbert. Mario E. Sprouse (Music and Lyrics/Musician) musical director for Black Nativity – aGospel Song Play by Langston Hughes – the Civil Rights Journey of a Negro Woman by Wendi Joy Franklin. Arranger/Orchestrator of Off-Broadway musical Take It Easy written by Raymond Fox; he also produced the original cast album.

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