Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future dazzles on PBS

 A joyous atmosphere is created when Broadway stars and young musical theater performers are showcased on Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future. The PBS concert special airs Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 8 pm ET (check your local listings).

Corbin Bleu

 The celebration of iconic stage performances made famous by Black artists features impressive talent from the current generation of Black Broadway stars. Among those who dazzle on the show are Corbin Bleu (famed for Disney’s High School Musical franchise) and Nova Y. Payton (The Color Purple, Dreamgirls). Both were on hand for a lively interview session and performance presented by PBS during the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour.

PBS’ Black Broadway at TCA (photo Rahoul Ghose/PBS

 Bleu expressed that he would love to do original productions but still has an appreciation for the great classic musicals which he’s been a part of on Broadway for more than a decade.

 Bleu said, “I would love to sink my teeth into something completely original and brand-new. But it has been such an honor to be able to play the roles that I have. When I did Holiday Inn, I took over a role that was originally done by Fred Astaire. I got a chance to do Singin’ in the Rain and played a role made famous by Gene Kelly.”

 These are performers that he grew up watching and loving, “they inspired me so much, and yet I didn’t see myself up there,” Bleu explained about the importance of seeing Black performers in a variety of roles. He even aspires to play Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show musical, someday.

 Nova Y. Payton agreed that colorblind casting enhances everyone’s experience. Payton reported, “When I attended a program in New York, there were songs that I would bring to my professors, songs that weren’t sung originally by people of color. And I was told I would never be cast as that. And that was in the Nineties. Now, there are so many roles that are casting women of color and men of color that weren’t originally that in the beginning when they first came out.”

Nova Payton

 Payton said she would be proud to add some color to Gypsy, “I wouldn’t mind doing like Mama Rose, you know?”

 Joining Bleu and Payton are Stephanie Mills, Norm Lewis, Nikki Renée Daniels, Leah Flynn, Sydney James Harcourt, Amber Iman, Tiffany Mann, John Manzari, and Peppermint, among others. The show also features members of the Howard University and Morgan State University Choirs with the American Pops Orchestra. Luke Frazier, founder and music director of the American Pops Orchestra, said, “I’m all about giving artists a chance to do something they’d like to do.” The result is a dazzling array of performances.

 BLACK BROADWAY: A PROUD HISTORY, A LIMITLESS FUTURE premieres Tuesday, February 28, 2023 on PBS, and streaming on and the PBS App.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.