Bubbling Brown Sugar

Loften Mitchell, concept by Rosetta LeNoire
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BPPI does not provide the scores or license the music for BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR. For these materials and permissions, contact Gail Nelson Holgate at 212-580-8116 or by email at gailenh@aol.com. Please contact as far in advance of scheduled production as possible.


BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR tells the story of Harlem in its Golden Years. Taking many of the great songs from the era, Loften Mitchell weaves an ebullient tale of a time gone by. This musical, which started a whole wave of Broadway shows by and about black composers, had its beginnings at Rosetta LeNoire's Amas Rep. It then moved on to a lengthy run on Broadway, London's West End, and both national and European tours.

Production Info

Cast: 12 total (6 female, 6 male)
Full Length Drama (about 90 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“… [a] really fizzy musical revue … recreates the night life of the 1920s — when they drank ‘scotch in teacups’ and bathtub gin — and the 1930s, from downtown speakeasies to the Savoy Ballroom and Small’s Paradise uptown … the songs here are standards, not only extolling the oeuvres of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Eubie Blake, among others, but also epitomizing their essence. Finally, the finale, ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing,’ which is performed by the company, is fabulous.” —Alvin Klein, The New York Times

About the Author


  • Rosetta LeNoire

    Rosetta LeNoire was born on August 8, 1911. She was an African American actress and producer. From New York City, her birth name was Rosetta Burton. She came from a family with connections in the growing artistic scene of the Harlem Renaissance. As a teen, LeNoire took piano lessons from the legendary composer Eubie Blake. She first performed professionally in 1926 as a dancer in a revue with her uncle, Bill Bojangles Robinson, and in 1936 played the First Witch in a production of MACBETH. She reached Broadway in 1939 alongside her uncle in THE HOT MIKADO and later toured with the show. She was in the original Broadway cast of Philip Yordan's ANNA LUCASTA — which was turned from all black to all white for the 1949 film version. LeNoire, however, reprised her stage role in the all-black 1958 remake, co-starring with Eartha Kitt and Sammy Davis Jr. In the 1950s, LeNoire worked with the Corning Glass Theatre, and she last performed on Broadway as Rheba in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. As a theatrical producer, in 1968, she founded the AMAS (Spanish for "you love") Repertory Theatre Company and has since produced, created and occasionally appeared in a host of productions, including the original 1980 version of MAMA, I WANT TO SING, which later toured the country. In 1976, she established the Eubie Blake Children's Theatre and LeNoire has since spent much of her time performing in school, youth centers, and even shelters. While she did some experimental TV work in the 40s and appeared as Noah's Wife in the 1957 Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Green Pastures (NBC), LeNoire did not see her TV career become solid until the late '60s, when she joined the cast of the ABC soap opera A World Apart. During the '70s she appeared in The Guiding Light (1971), Another World (1971-73),Ryan's Hope (1975) and Calucci's Department (1973). Beginning in 1981, LeNoire made several guest appearances on Gimme a Break as Nell Carter's contentious mother, becoming a regular in 1986. She followed this with work on Family Matters (1989 – 97 and 1997 – 98). She also used much of her income to support her theatrical producing. LeNoire has also appeared in a number of TV movies and films, The Father Clements Story (NBC, 1987), The Sunshine Boys (1975),Daniel (1983), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), and The Brother From Another Planet (1984). Ms. LeNoire died in 2002.

  • Loften Mitchell

    Loften Mitchell was an African-American playwright, librettist, and author. Mr. Mitchell was born in 1919 in Columbus, NC, and went to high school in the Bronx. He studied at City College of New York and graduated from Talladega College in Alabama. He studied playwriting with John Gassner at Columbia University. In 1958-59 he won the a Guggenheim Award for "creative writing in the drama." He received a Tony Award nomination for the book of the 1976 revue BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR. Mr. Mitchell was part of a groundswell of writers who contributed to the black American theatre movement in the 1960s. He chronicled the work of his colleagues by penning Black Drama, The Story of the American Negro in the Theatre, in 1967, and Voices of the Black Theatre. Beyond BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR, Mr. Mitchell wrote A LAND BEYOND THE RIVER (1957), perhaps his best known work, about a Southern desegregationist pastor. It was seen at the Greenwich Mews Theatre and then on tour. His playwriting debut came in 1946, with BLOOD IN THE NIGHT, at the 115th Street Library in New York. THE BANCROFT DYNASTY and THE CELLAR followed, both for the Harlem Showcase. The book for an Off-Broadway musical, BALLAD FOR BIMSHIRE (1963), followed. It was later revised and presented at the Karamu Theatre in Cleveland in 1964. Mr. Mitchell passed away at the age of 82 in 2001.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/1/1985
Pages 34
ISBN 9780881450262

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced by AMAS Rep and subsequently on Broadway

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Bubbling Brown Sugar is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


3/8/2019 – 4/7/2019
Jubilee Players dba Jubilee Theatre
Fort Worth, TX


5/9/2025 – 5/18/2025
Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance
Winston Salem, NC

4/6/2018 – 4/15/2018
St. Philip's College
San Antonio, TX

11/5/2016 – 11/5/2016
Dance Houston
Houston, TX

6/24/2016 – 6/25/2016
Make It Happen Theatre Company
Birmingham, AL