The Crusader Newspaper Group

Claudine the film adapted as a musical in Bronzeville

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.

IMG 0632Join the Harold Washington Cultural Center for “Claudine the Musical” (live stage performance) December 6 through December 10, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. The Broadway in Bronzeville presentation will be held at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. Martin Luther King Drive.

In 1974, Claudine the film told the story of Claudine Price, a single Black mother in Harlem trying to support her six children. To do so, Claudine works as a maid for wealthy families: every day she endures a taxing commute to the suburbs, where she eventually meets a charismatic, but irresponsible garbage man named Rupert “Roop” Marshall, played by veteran actor James Earl Jones.

Romance blossoms between Claudine, played by the late, elegant, sophisticated Diahann Carroll, and Roop, who overcome their numerous hardships to walk away hand-in-hand as the credits roll.

Now, Claudine the Musical examines what came of Claudine’s characters in the forty-plus years since the film ended. The on-stage story stars Claudine—now 70 years old—Roop, and the film’s other characters, all of whom have taken different paths to reach where they are today. Claudine the Musical also ties up loose ends and reveals how Claudine’s family managed to stick together despite systemic opposition.

IMG 0631Claudine is a film that was included in an early line of films celebrating Black life. And while Claudine met obstacle after obstacle to keep her family fed and well raised, Roop was excellently portrayed as a hard worker who eventually comes to grips with the situation and embraces the restrictions that accompanied dating Claudine and her children.

Balcony tickets are only $25. For more information about single, group and field trip matinee performances and tickets, call 773-373-1900.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader newspaper. She is also the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood–South Side of Chicago.” For book info, [email protected].

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