Skip Navigation

A Free Man of Color - Broadway

Lincoln Center presents John Guare's free-wheeling epic about the Louisiana Purchase.


What is the story of A Free Man of Color?
An epic retelling of the story of the Louisiana Purchase and how it affected the people of New Orleans at the dawn on the 19th century, A Free Man of Color centers on Jacques Cornet, the son of a wealthy Caucasian father and a mother who was his slave. This title character has increased his father’s fortune and set himself up as a dandified Don Juan, living high with the help of his own wisecracking slave, Murmur, much to the dismay of his Caucasian half-brother, who has been disinherited. Surrounding this storyline are historical characters including President Thomas Jefferson and his aide, Meriwether Lewis; Napoleon and Josephine; and the Haitian leader Toussaint L’Ouverture, who petitions the American government for help fighting the French. Can Jacques survive a change in power in the hedonistic city he loves?

Should I See It?

What is A Free Man of Color Like?
John Guare’s latest play combines elements of Restoration comedy and historical drama with a dollop of sex farce thrown in. Jacques, played by the charismatic Tony and Emmy winner Jeffrey Wright, is irresistible to the women and envied by the men of New Orleans. In a series of quick-cutting scenes, Jacques’ life story is juxtaposed with the tale of how three countries (America, Spain and France) struggled for control of this cosmopolitan city, gateway to the unexplored west.

Is A Free Man of Color Good for Kids?
The play includes banter about the sexual prowess of the main character and a couple of simulated sexual encounters (under covers). The fast-moving, interlocking plotlines featuring international political maneuvering will go over kids’ heads, but teens interested in a little-known slice of American history may find Free Man fascinating.