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Enjoying a "Sweet" Year

November 4, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- It’s been a “sweet” autumn for E. Patrick Johnson, professor and chair of performance studies at Northwestern University. Johnson transformed “Sweet Tea,” his oral history of black gay men of the South, into a critically acclaimed one-man show at Chicago’s About Face Theatre. The show will tour regional theatres around the country next year.

Johnson will receive the National Communication Association’s Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance in November. The largest organization devoted to communication scholarship and education, the NCA will honor Johnson as “an exceptional performer who rigorously combines his professional performances with his award-winning scholarship.”

In October, Johnson received the Bert Williams Award for best solo performance from the Black Theatre Alliance Awards. He will be inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for his leadership in the African American Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender community in November.

Johnson achieved national recognition as a solo performance artist when he toured “Strange Fruit,” his autobiographical meditation on race, class, gender and regionalism, between 1998 and 2003. Johnson is author of “Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity” and co-editor of “Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology.”

In 2004, he received both the American Society for Theatre Research’s Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship in African American Theatre Studies and the National Communication Association’s Lilla Heston Award for Outstanding Contributions to Interpretation and Performance.

“Sweet Tea” was co-produced by the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College. Johnson teaches courses in gender and performance studies, performance and pedagogy, and folklore and oral traditions in the School of Communication.

Topics: People