The Village Gate was a nightclub at the corner of Thompson and Bleecker Streets in Greenwich Village, New York. Art D’Lugoff opened the club in 1958, on the ground floor and in the basement of 160 Bleecker Street. The large 1896 Chicago School structure by architect Ernest Flagg was known at the time as Mills House No. 1 and served as a flophouse for transient men. In its heyday, the Village Gate also included an upper-story performance space, known as the Top of the Gate.

Throughout its 38 years, the Village Gate featured such musicians as John Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Vasant Rai, Nina Simone, Herbie Mann, Woody Allen, Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Edgard Varèse, and Aretha Franklin, who made her first New York appearance there. The show Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, debuted at the Village Gate in 1968.

Produced in 2020, Black Broadway at the Village Gate is a look back at some of the never seen before performances from Gregory Hines, Chauncey Roberts, Carol Maillard, Charlie Smalls, Dutch Robinson, Mabel Lee, and so much more. Directed by Smokey Stevens, this 84 minute film provides an insightful look into how an alternative to Broadway, known as The Great White Way, was brought to life and became a thriving showcase for Black talent. With its focus on The Sho Nuff Variety Review (circa 1980’s), the film is an extremely unique presentation and preservation of history.

2020 / 84 minutes / color and black & white / English / A film by Smokey Stevens


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