Vintage Black Show Biz Bitties

©ourtesy of vintageblackglamour

Muriel Rahn and Muriel Smith, beautiful singer/actresses who alternated the lead role of Carmen in “Carmen Jones” on Broadway in 1943. This photo appeared in the program for the show.  Born in Boston and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, Muriel Rahn became the first African-American singer to perform in an opera at Carnegie Hall a year before “Carmen Jones” when she appeared in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio. Her last Broadway appearance was as Cora Lewis in “The Barrier,” an opera based on Langston Hughes’s play The Mulatto.  New York-born Muriel Smith originated the role of Carmen on Broadway.  In 1956, she turned down an offer from Samuel Goldwyn to star in the film version of ”Porgy and Bess,” stating,”It doesn’t do the right thing for my people.” After a successful career overseas, particularly Great Britain, she taught voice at Virginia Union University before her death in 1985.

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