Vinnette Carroll


Dark of the Moon 

Image by Bert Andrews from his book “In the Shadow of the Great White Way“)
From the 1957 production of “Dark of the Moon” written by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Produced by the Harlem YMCA Drama Guild… Here are Cicely Tyson, Clarence Williams III, Roscoe Lee Browne, Louise Stubbs, Richard Ward, and Lea Scott. Directed by Vinnette Carroll.



Black Nativity

The gospel song-play ‘Black Nativity‘ by Langston Hughes opened on Christmas at the New York Philharmonic (circa 1962). Featuring, ( and seen here in rehearsal) are Alex Bradford, Marian Williams, Princess Stewart, Kitty Parham, directed by Vinette Carroll (and that’s legendary Ellis Hazlip stage managing.) After its New York run, Black Nativity was invited by Gian Carlo Menotti to The Festival of Two Worlds at Spoleto. There, it was a summer success, followed by a year-long tour of Europe.


Trumpets of the Lord

Trumpets of the LordCicely Tyson – Adapted by Vinette Carroll from James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombone – Donald McKayle, director- Howard Roberts, musical direction – produced by Theodore Mann at the Astor Place Playhouse, NY – 1963 – Photo by Bert Andrews (1931 – 1993)

Trumpets of the Lord

Music and lyrics are based on gospel hymns.
Brooks Atkinson Theatre, (4/29/1969 – 5/03/1969)
First Preview: Total Previews:
Opening Date: Apr 29, 1969
Closing Date: May 03, 1969 Total Performances: 7
Produced by Circle in the Square (Theodore Mann: Artistic Director; Paul Libin: Managing Director)
Book by Vinnette Carroll; Music arranged by Howard Roberts; Adapted from “God’s Trombone” by James Weldon Johnson; Musical Director: Howard Roberts
Directed by Theodore Mann
Scenic Design by Marsha L. Eck; Costume Design by Domingo Rodriguez; Lighting Design by Jules Fisher
Production Stage Manager: Randall Brooks
Music adapted by Howard Roberts
Press Representative: Merle Debuskey and Faith Geer
Earl Baker Male Voice
Ella Eure Female Voice
Bill Glover Male Voice
Milton Grayson Male Voice
Berniece Hall Female Voice
Theresa Merritt Sister Henrietta Pinkston
Lex Monson Rev. Bradford Parham
William Stewart Male Voice
Cicely Tyson Rev. Marion Alexander
Bernard Ward Rev. Ridgley Washington
Camille Yarbrough Female Voice
Understudies: Milton Grayson (Rev. Bradford Parham, Rev. Ridgley Washington) and Camille Yarbrough (Rev. Marion Alexander)


James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson reminisce about the first major play they performed together with Vinnette Carrol and Robert L. Jones

Vinnette Carroll


There were other wonderful creations from  Urban Arts Corps Theatre: It’s So Nice To Be Civilized, When Hell Freezes Over, I’ll Skate, The Ups And Downs of Theophilus Maitland, and Croesus And The Witch.        

Ms. Carroll’s team of collaborators included Ms. Micki Grant with whom she wrote and directed most of her plays, Chapman Roberts, Danny Holgate, George Broderick, Robert Charles (Our beloved Stage Manager and friend) The great H.B. Barnum, Mr. Alex, and Alberta Bradford, Talley Beatty, Mabel Robinson – Clinton-Derricks Carroll, Cleavant Derricks, Nora Cole, Marilynn Winbush, Nat Morris, Every Hayes, Charlayne Woodard, Pat Heaven, Reginald Vel Johnson, Sam Barton, Jeffrey Anderson Gunter, Steve Semien.  

v c pr22186

Vinnette Carroll transitioned on November 5,  2002, in Lauderhill, Florida.

VINNETTE CARROLL (born March 11, 1922, New York, New York, U.S., died November 5, 2002, Lauderhill, Florida) was an American playwright, stage director, and actress. She was the first African American woman to direct on Broadway with the hit gospel revue Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope. The show, conceived by Carroll and with music and lyrics by Micki Grant, opened on Broadway in 1972 and was nominated for four Tony Awards. Her adaptation of The Gospel According to Matthew,  Your Arms Too Short to Box with God (also in collaboration with Grant), opened on Broadway in 1976 and was nominated for four Tony Awards. Although she was educated in psychology and for a time worked as a clinical psychologist, she left to pursue acting in 1948 when she received a scholarship to the Erwin Piscator dramatic workshop, where she studied with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. In 1967, Ms. Carroll founded the Urban Arts Corps, a New York-based training and producing organization devoted to supporting Black and Hispanic theater and actors. As an actress, Ms. Carroll won an Emmy (Beyond the Blues, in 1964), an Obie (Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, in 1962), and was nominated for three Tony awards. In the 1980s, she moved to Florida where she ran the Vinnette Carroll Repertory Company from 1986 to 1997. She died of heart disease and diabetes in Lauderhill, Florida on November 5, 2002, at age 80.