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In Dahomey,” the first full-length musical written and performed by African Amer

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In Dahomey marked an important milestone in the evolution of the American musical comedy. Its composer Will Marion Cook combined the "high operetta style" he had studied with the relatively new form of ragtime in the finale "The Czar of Dixie." According to John Graziano, author of Black Theatre USA, it was "the first African American show.The score made use of the "high operetta style" studied by hj that synthesized successfully the various genres of American musical theatre popular at the beginning of the twentieth century—minstrelsy, vaudeville, comic opera, and musical comedy."


Significantly, the New York Theater production of In Dahomey marked the first full-length African American musical to be staged in an indoor venue on Broadway (following the earlier success of Clorindy in a rooftop setting). During its four-year tour, In Dahomey proved one of the most successful musical comedies of its era. The show helped make its composer, lyricist and leading performers household names. In Dahomey was the first black musical to have its score published (albeit in the UK, not the US).