Wharton Center's 'Garden of Joy' explores Harlem Renaissance

Mar 15, 2013

Cherida Best, who plays singer Dorothy Battle in 'Garden of Joy', rehearses in preparation for opening weekend, March 15-16.
Credit Kevin Lavery

A new production opening tonight at MSU’s Wharton Center pays homage to the Harlem Renaissance.  In the 1920’s, the arts in America, like just about every other industry, were dominated by whites. Most representations of African-American life were done in parody.  One of most popular programs of the day was “Amos and Andy.”  It debuted in 1928 with two white actors who would later appear on screen in blackface.

But at the same time, an explosion of African-American literature, dance and music was coming out of New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.  Tonight, “The Garden of Joy” opens for a two-night run at the Wharton Center.  Current State’s Kevin Lavery steps back in time to Harlem, New York – 1929.