February 4, 2021

Oakwood Theater Presents: The Colored Museum

At the start of this school year, Oakwood announced our DEI theme, Black Lives Matter: Why This Matters at Oakwood, to focus the work being done on diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout every area of the school. This theme also brings a deliberate emphasis on Black Excellence, of foregrounding the Black Americans who have embodied merit in their respective fields and inspired those around them. In every classroom, kindergarten through 12th grade, teachers are building on this year’s curriculum workshops on racial literacy to reinforce and celebrate that Black History is American History.

One dynamic extension of this work is this year’s high school play: George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum. Under the direction of Herb Newsome, the cast features student actors exploring and satirizing prominent themes and identities of African-American culture. Oakwood students are taking the lead in costume design, set design, sound design, stage management, and technical work as well.

The production also emphasizes the importance of creating space for stories to be told by groups that have been marginalized—a critical step in moving beyond diversity and inclusivity to being a school community that is defined by a true sense of belonging.

The Colored Museum will be broadcast LIVE on February 18, 19, and 20.

Click here for tickets and more info.

**This play is intended for ages 12 and up.

At the end of last school year, one marked by students, teachers, and families navigating the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and anti-black violence, theater teacher Javier Rivera shared these thoughts on the year that passed at the coming of this new production:

“In the midst of this pandemic (whether it be viral or social), teachers continue to prepare for a better tomorrow in the form of the 2020-2021 academic year. As a Theatre Teacher/Director I am always looking at my craft through the lens of social change. I want to make sure my students are not only learning about projection and diction—but they must also learn about their place in the world, about the things that make us the same…and different. I want my students to read and embody voices of all colors, orientations, genders, and backgrounds…hoping that we can find a bit of the universal truth in the form of a monologue, a scene, or a play.”

Joining the Oakwood team for this production is director, actor, and writer Herb Newsome. In his words, “The Colored Museum is a great piece to spark very much needed conversations in our communities. As one writer notes, the play is a hilarious, yet discomforting, look at African American identity throughout history, challenging America to look at how assimilation was carried out in the past and how we perpetuate or challenge these assimilating ideologies and systems today.”

"Oakwood School Production Aims to Teach Students About History and Privilege" by Tara Lynn Wagner, Spectrum News 1

The Colored Museum marks another important milestone in Oakwood School history. This will be the first high school play to ever be entirely presented online, from rehearsals to final performances. As students engaged in the final weeks of virtual preparations, Spectrum News 1 connected with the cast and crew to capture the story behind this momentous effort.

THE COLORED MUSEUM has electrified, discomforted, and delighted audiences of all colors, redefining our ideas of what it means to be black in contemporary America. Its eleven “exhibits” undermine black stereotypes old and new and return to the facts of what being black means.


Dramatist Play Service
Director Herb Newsome, Javier Rivera, and cast at auditions for The Colored Museum

The Colored Museum is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

Originally produced by Crossroads Theatre Company, New Brunswick, NJ (Lee Richardson, Artistic Director).

Original New York production by New York Shakespeare Festival, produced by Joseph Papp.