Rosetta LeNoire

Personal Information
Rosetta was born in the heart of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City on August 8, 1911. When Rosetta was only fifteen, she got a job as a chorus girl working with her godfather, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Her singing teacher and mentor was Eubie Blake. In 1939, she made her Broadway debut in Mike Todd’s The Hot Mikado, the first all African-American production to grace the Great White Way. She was a member of Orson Welles’ all-black version of the WPA MacBeth. Other Broadway productions include A Streetcar Named Desire, The Sunshine Boys, Lost in the Stars, Destry Rides Again, I Had A Ball, Sophie, The Royal Family, Blues for Mr. Charley, You Can't Take it with You and the revival of Cabin in the Sky. Rosetta portrayed Stella in Anna Lucasta on for two years on Broadway, as well as in the film version with Sammy Davis Jr. and Eartha Kitt. Rosetta went on to perform on such television hits as Benny’s Place with Louis Gossett, Jr., Search for Tomorrow, The Guiding Light, Amen, A World Apart, Amen and played Nell Carter’s mother in Gimme A Break. Rosetta’s film credits include Moscow on the Hudson, The Sunshine Boys, Playing for Keeps, Daniel, Whatever it Takes, and Brewster’s Millions. For eight years, Rosetta portrayed Mother Winslow on Family Matters. In 1968, Rosie founded Amas Musical Theatre (“you love” in Latin), a non- profit, multiracial theatrical organization devoted to the creation, development, and professional production of original musicals and to the training and encouragement of new musical theatre talent. On Amas Musical Theatre, Rosie has said: “I produce musicals. Music is one avenue where no one seems to have any discriminatory attitudes. Theatre techniques are a marvelous implement to bring people of all races, color and creeds together. You don’t worry about what color is; all you care about is the end product.” Rosetta received the Kennedy Center Black Playwright’s Award for Excellence in developing new works, the Richard L. Coe Award for extending the boundaries of theatre. In 1985, Archbishop John J. O’Connor presented Rosetta with the Pierre Toussaint Medallion. In September 1999, Rosetta’s unique contribution was further recognized by President and Mrs. Clinton when they honored her as a recipient of the 1999 National Medal of Arts. Rosetta has also been memorialized by Actor’s Equity Association by establishing an annual award in her name. This award is given to producers who follow in the multiracial tradition began by Rosetta. According to the late Colleen Dewhurst, then President of Actor’s Equity, Rosetta received this honor “in recognition of her outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of the human experience in the American Theatre.”

Production Theatre Opened Credit
1 Cabin in the Sky Greenwich Mews Theatre 01/21/1964 Petunia Jackson
2 Clandestine on the Morning Line Actors' Playhouse 10/30/1961 N/A
3 Double Entry Martinique Theatre 02/20/1961 Grandmother (Bible Salesman)
4 Double Entry Martinique Theatre 02/20/1961 Madame Scarlatina (Oldest Trick)
5 Take A Giant Step Jan Hus Playhouse 09/25/1956 Christine
6 Cry the Beloved Country Lucille Lortel Theatre 05/15/1956 N/A

Production Theatre Opened Credit
1 Lone Star Love John Houseman Theatre 12/08/2004 Founder
Award Production Function
1 WON 1991 Lucille Lortel Award, Lifetime Achievement Award