(from Theatermania, 3/20.  This is part II of Michael Feingold's latest "Thinking About Theater" column. Click here to read part I. 

After World War II, an eager crop of gifted young African-Americans, college-educated and classically trained, flourished in theaters and opera houses, knocking down antiquated racial barriers. By the time I came to New York, in the early '60s, it was normal to go to the Metropolitan Opera, for example, and see Leontyne Price and Rosalind Elias playing the sisters in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, or to head for the Delacorte, where the best Claudius and Gertrude ever, James Earl Jones and Colleen Dewhurst, confronted Stacy Keach's Hamlet. And as for Lorraine Hansberry's question "Who ever said Queen Titania was white?" the Yale Rep answered it triumphantly in 1975 with a Midsummer Night's Dream featuring the extraordinary Carmen de Lavallade, still incandescent in my memory as the most magical of all Titanias (and still luminous today at 83).


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