Loften Mitchell, the African-American playwright, librettist and author who was Tony Award-nominated for the book of the 1976 revue, Bubbling Brown Sugar, died May 14 in Queens, NY, according to The New York Times.
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." Mr. Mitchell was 82 years old when he died.
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 obscure Off Broadway musical, Ballad for Bimshire (1963), followed. It was later revised and presented at the Karamu Theatre in Cleveland in 1964.
Mr. Mitchell was born 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." — By Kenneth Jones