Cover photo by T Charles Erickson

Generations of the Dead in the Abyss of Coney Island Madness

Michael Henry Brown
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Described by the New York Times as “a threatening portrait of urban insanity. A drug lord is king, corruption is endemic and parents instill offspring with perverse values. In Mr Brown’s Coney Island, everything is for sale.”

Production Info

Cast: 7 total (3 female, 4 male)
Full Length Drama (about 125 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Contemporary Costumes
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Press Quotes

“GENERATIONS imposes itself upon you with outrageous gestures and bold flights of language. It may be the most corrosive and unsparing drama to emerge from the pen of an African American writer since the angry days of Ed Bullins and Richard Wesley … it is this young man who provides GENERATIONS with its thematic pivot: Cody Cooper is the great black hope, the son of a former maid and a one-time hustler who stashed their hard-earned money away so that their children could have a better life. He is, in short, the American Dream, and the ineluctable path of GENERATIONS is that of the dream gone astray, as Cody’s resolve is slowly poisoned and eroded by the ghetto. The corruption of the good kid is the stuff of great American pop mythology, and Cody’s transformation from aspiring actor to gangster can be traced back to classic docu-melodramas like Caged and I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang. It is a telling measure of what we have come to that the prison locale of these old movies has changed to a Coney Island housing project; like these earlier works, GENERATIONS makes no bones about its social message, pointing a stern, warning finger at its audience for participating in a system that creates these ghetto prisons … I choose to call it daredevil playwriting, brimming with the dynamic stage language and swaggering confidence of a writer in complete control.” —Jan Stuart, Newsday

About the Author


  • Michael Henry Brown

    Born in the Bronx, Michael Henry Brown was a playwright and screenwriter. He graduated from Lehman College and earned an MFA from Columbia University in 1987. He also studied at the Hammerstein Center for Theatre Studies. His work includes over 20 plays and numerous film scripts. His most successful productions have been THE DAY THE BRONX DIED, an examination of homophobia and black and Jewish relations, and ASCENSION DAY, a story of the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831. Brown's plays have been produced at theaters across the country, including Playwrights Horizons, the Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theatre, and Penumbra Theatre. Brown's plays include BLOOD IS THICKER, IN LOVE AND ANGER, DEADLY AIM OF THE STRAIGHT AND TRUE, KING OF COONS, BORDERS OF LOYALTY, OUTLAWS, PUSH, and GENERATIONS OF THE DEAD, OR INTO THE ABYSS OF CONEY ISLAND MADNESS. In film, Brown was the author of three screenplays, Dead Presidents, In Too Deep, and Freedomland, and two teleplays, Under One Roof and Laurel Avenue. Brown received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Charles Revson Foundation. He died in 2016.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 6/1/1993
Pages 100
ISBN 9780881451054

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 the Long Wharf Theater, New Haven CT

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Generations of the Dead in the Abyss of Coney Island Madness is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC