Voodoo Macbeth: The Play that Changed Everything

Before there was Citizen Kane (1941) there was Voodoo Macbeth, the theater production that brought Orson Welles into the spotlight. Performed in Harlem at the Lafayette Theater as part of the Negro Theatre Unit in New York, Voodoo Macbeth gave Welles the opportunity to direct Shakespeare’s Macbeth with an all-Black cast.

Reimagined in a Haitian setting, Voodoo Macbeth changed the theatrical world and Welles’ life forever, but the road to opening night was paved with difficulty. Rose McClendon, a major player in the Harlem Renaissance who started Negro Theater Units in 11 American cities became an essential mentor to Welles as a director fraught with personal demons and challenged by societal and political pressure focused on the production. New film release Voodoo Macbeth presents audiences with a powerful behind-the-scenes view into what it took to break race barriers and realize a new vision for what entertainment could be with Black performers center stage.

From Lightyear Entertainment, Voodoo Macbeth the feature film opens theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on October 21, 2022 and other top markets in the U.S. and Canada immediately thereafter. 

Our exclusive interview with Jason Phillips, one of the three Voodoo Macbeth producers, appears on our sister site Classic Couple Academy.

Check out: Filmmaker 5 with Jason Phillips: Voodoo Macbeth

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