African American Department Collection and State Library Resources

From Stage to Screen and Page to Stage

These works were originally created for the stage and became big screen hits or were books that were widely praised and given the theatrical treatment on the stage play circuit. The film links next to individual titles will lead you to the Internet Movie Database site (IMDb) with information about the movie or television version of these adapted books or plays. The Pratt Library does not currently own these films. * denotes that a book, DVD or VHS is available for this title, all though a link could not be provided. Please consult our catalog for this information. All other links will also guide you to our catalog.

The Maintenance Man* film (2000) by Michael Baisden. For the past twelve years, Malcolm has been a high-priced gigolo, fulfilling the lustful desires of married women. However the shallow companionship leaves him feeling guilty and alone.

Men Cry in the Dark  film (2001) by Michael Baisden. Friends Derrick, Tony, Benjamin and Mark struggle to find their soulmates.

The Wiz DVD (1975) by William F. Brown and Charlie Smalls ML50.S6W51979. The soulful remix to L. Frank Baum’s classic tale. After being swept up in a blizzard and carried off to the Land of Oz, Dorothy tries to find her way back home with the help of her friends Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man.

Purlie Victorious film (1961) by Ossie Davis PS3507.A7444P81961. Pastor Purlie Victorious Judson returns to his Georgia town in an effort to save Big Bethel, the community’s church.

Friends and Lovers film (1997) by Eric Jerome Dickey. Couples Debra and Leonard and Shelby and Tyrel share the ins and outs of friendship and relationship drama.

A Soldier’s Play film (1982) by Charles Fuller PS3556.U367S61982. In 1944, Captain Richard Davenport investigates the murder of Sergeant Vernon Waters at Fort Neal, a segregated army camp in Louisiana.

Raisin in the Sun DVD (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry PS3515.A52R31988. A $10,000 insurance check is the dream bearer that each member of the Younger family has been waiting for. However its arrival renders more heartache than realized dreams.

Lackawanna Blues (2001) by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Santiago-Hudson recalls his youth living amongst an assortment of drifters and dreamers at the rooming house ran by his adoptive mother, Nanny Crosby.

Dreamgirls (1981) by Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen Effie, Deena, and Lorrell form an electrifying girl group that hums its way to the top in melodic revelry. But jealousy and an under-handed manager divide the women, threatening their stardom and their friendship.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman DVD* (2005) by Tyler Perry. On her 18th wedding anniversary, Helen McCarter finds that her husband is abandoning her for another woman. Through her hurt and anger, she learns to take care of herself and love again.

Madea’s Family Reunion DVD* [movie & recorded play versions] (2006) by Tyler Perry. Madea prepares for her family reunion amidst caring for a trouble runaway and a niece that’s being abused by her fiancé.

Why did I get married? DVD* (2007) by Tyler Perry. Eight married couples meet in Colorado for their annual retreat, but the cozy atmosphere is interrupted when one of the couples’ infidelities comes to light, leaving the remaining couples questioning and bickering about the problems they have overlooked in their own relationships.

Meet the Brown’s DVD* [movie & recorded play versions] (2008) by Tyler Perry. Single mother Brenda Brown receives word that the father she never knew just died. Her brother sends bus tickets for her to attend the funeral and meet the rest of her unorthodox, long lost family.

Madea Goes to Jail DVD*(2009) by Tyler Perry. Mabel Simmons has broken the law one too many times and now she’s going to jail. While she is locked down, she uses her own unique brand of advice to lift the spirits of fellow inmate Candy, a former prostitute looking for redemption.

For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf : A Choreopoem film (1977) by Ntozake Shange PS3569.H3324 F6 1997. Nine ladies in varying shades of colors express their feelings on love, rape, abandonment and abortion in this powerful play about the lives of women.

Othello DVD (1603) by William Shakespeare PR2829 .A25 2002. The vengeful Iago use his proximity to the trusting Moor, Othello, to instill jealousy into the noble man, causing him to doubt and destroy his marriage to the fair Desdemona.

The Piano Lesson film (1990) by August Wilson PS3573.I45677 P54 2007. A brother and sister are nearly torn apart when one opposes the other over what to do with their heirloom piano.

The Colored Museum film (1986) by George C. Wolfe PS3573.O5213C6 1988. Through eleven “exhibits”, Wolfe dissects stereotypes and takes readers on a satirical exploration on what it means to be Black in America.


The fire this time : African-American plays for the 21st century (2004) by Harry Justin Elam PS628.N4 F57 2004

Black Theatre USA: Plays by African Americans (1996) by James Vernon Hatch PS628.N4B561996Q

Electronic Databases

To access, visit the “Databases” page on the Pratt Library Website: A Pratt library card number may be required to access databases outside of the library.

Black Drama

Starting with Victorian plays and working up to the present, Black Drama from Alexander Street Press  includes plays and biographies, play bills, images, production notes, performance information and much more.

Black Thought and Culture

Black Thought and Culture from Alexander Street Press connects students and researchers with works by leading African Americans. More than 100,000 pages of monographs, speeches, essays, articles and interviews, written by leaders within the black community from earliest times to 1975, illustrate the evolution of what it means to "be black".

Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text

Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text is the definitive online tool for film and television research. Subject coverage includes film & television theory, preservation & restoration, writing, production, cinematography, technical aspects, and reviews.


AAPEX: African American Playwrights Exchange

A blog that proclaims to be “dedicated to getting plays by African American playwrights and plays about African American expriences into the hands of actors and producers… and an exchange of ideas and information.” Features interviews with playwrights, current shows playing throughout the U.S. and links to African American cultural organizations, theaters and playwright biographies.

Women of Color, Women of Words

A site presented by Rutgers University dedicated to African American women playwrights.

African-American Filmakers, African-American Films

A bibliography of materials on African American filmmakers and films in the UC Berkeley Library.

Black Flix: African American Stars, Reviews & Interviews

An African American database of black movie stars, films, original reviews and interviews.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more about this topic, email us through our Ask-A-Librarian service, call the African American Department at 410-361-9287, or mail your questions to:

African American Department
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201