Born & raised in Newark, NJ
The legacy continues with playwright/screenwriter Richard Westley. He first became known for the 1971 New York Shakespeare Festival of his play Black Terror, which portrayed the story of a black revolution. Wesley received the 1971/1972 Drama Desk Award as most promising playwright for Black Terror. He then went on to author the screenplays for the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night and the 1975’s Let’s Do It Again, both starring Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier. His 1978 play, The Mighty Gents, is the story of the members of a gang that had conquered their rival gang, the Zombies, and ruled the Central Ward of Newark. The play depicts the gang members in their 30s and left with only the recollections of their earlier success. His 1989 play, The Talented Tenth, portrays six fictional graduates of Howard University (a realtor, an advertising agent, a middle manager at a Fortune 500 firm, a Republican) who have succeeded, but feel guilty about betraying their origins. The play received six awards, including dramatic production of the year and best playwright, at the 1989 AUDELCO Recognition Awards. Westley is an associate professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in the Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing.
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