Clorindy: The Origin
of the Cakewalk (1898)
Sheet music for Clorindy: The Origin of the Cakewalk
Will Marion Cook (Music)
Paul Laurence Dunbar (Book, Lyrics)
A one-act comedy-musical that ran an hour-long and was the first all-black show to play in an upper class Broadway theater. The lyricist and librettist for this show was Paul Lawrence Dunbar who wrote (perhaps at Cook's insistence) in a dialect style. Cook managed to get Clorindy performed as an extended afterpiece at the Casino Roof Garden on Broadway. When the show began there were only 50 people in the rooftop audience but people coming out of the main show downstairs heard magnificent choral singing coming from the roof and rushed up to see who was performing. By the end of the opening chorus, the house was packed and the performers were given a 10-minute ovation.