The Ebony Showcase

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Category: Our History
Published on Sunday, 23 October 2011 14:48
Written by Dianne Lawrence

Before the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center on Washington Blvd. east of La Brea at Harcourt, there was the Ebony Showcase Theatre, founded by the famous actor Nick Stewart (pictured in the hat).

Nick appeared as the janitor “Lightnin” in the hugely popular Amos n Andy TV and radio show from the 20’s to the 50’s. He was also the voice of Disney’s Brer Bear in the Song of the South. In the 1950’s he and his wife Edna created the Ebony Showcase to feature African American theatre and performance.

From the mid 80’s to early 90’s, I lived in the art studio on the south west corner of Harcourt right across the street from the Ebony Showcase and became acquanted with  Nick and his family. Nick was getting on and the showcase had begun to decline but it continued to host occasional events, There was big community buzz when Eddy Murphy hung out for a few days, acting in a scene filmed in the theatre. I also remember sitting in on a tv taping of the fabulous singer Chaka Kahn.


This picture was taken by the well known photographer Roland Charles, who documented black life in Los Angeles, founded the Black Photographers of California and ran the influential Black Gallery in the Crenshaw district for more than a decade. He was also married to our writer Deborah Charles before passing away in 2000.


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