Evans, Don 1938-2003

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EVANS, Don 1938-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born April 27, 1938, in Philadelphia, PA; died of a heart attack October 16, 2003, in Merchantville, NJ. Educator, director, and author. Evans was a playwright most noted for his dramas about the African American experience. Educated at Cheyney State College (now University), he earned a B.A. in 1962 before receiving two master's degrees from Temple University: an M.A. in 1968 and an M.F.A. in 1972. After working as a theater consultant for the Princeton, New Jersey, school system and the Philadelphia board of education, as well as being Cheyney State's theater director from 1968 to 1972, Evans joined the faculty at Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) as an associate professor of Afro-American studies in 1972; he also served as department chair. Active outside the university as well, he was the founder and executive director of the Lorraine Hansberry Arts Center in Princeton from 1968 to 1972, and the founder and director of the Players Co. in Trenton. Evans, whose favorite authors included Shakespeare and Molière, strongly believed that actors, playwrights and other artists should be valued based on their talent and not on their race, and his work as a director and playwright emphasized a broad-minded multiculturalism. Among his produced plays are Sugarmouth Sam Don't Dance No More (1972; published as The Prodigals in 1977), Matters of Choice (1974), It's Showdown Time (1977), Miss Lydia (1979), Mahalia (1978), and One Monkey Don't Stop the Show (1980). Though his writing output slowed after 1980, Evans continued to actively teach at Trenton State and as a visiting professor or guest artist at Rutgers University, 1970 to 1976; Princeton University, 1974 to 1983; Eastern Michigan State University, 1988; and Dartmouth College, 1989.



Contemporary Black American Playwrights and Their Plays, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1988.


Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2003, p. B25.

New York Times, October 24, 2003, p. A21.