Tyrone "Shortleg" Johnson

A Blues Play

Written and performed by Wayne Harris

Directed by Mark Kenward

It’s 1967 and legendary blues singer Tyrone “Shortleg” Johnson has found himself on a second rate teen dance show backed by “a bunch of hippies”….and he ain’t Happy!

There will be fussin’, fightin’ and signifyin’ throughout the weekend!

The new play from Wayne Harris is a fun and thought provoking chronicle of an old school and slightly inebriated blues singer let loose on a sound stage while taping a 60s era TV teen dance show.

While the director frantically tries to deal with technical difficulties on the set Tyrone takes the opportunity to speak his mind about various subjects from roadside whorehouses to the co-opting of the blues by white America to….”how to get up under that beat, make it nasty”.

It’s a hybrid solo performance backed by a jammin’ 6 piece blues band filled with such great blues tunes as “Wang Dang Doodle”, “Don’t Start Me Talkin’, “Back Door Man”…and many more!

The Letter: Martin Luther King at the Crossroads


April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King writes a letter while confined in a Birmingham, Alabama jail…a letter that will define the course of the civil rights movement as well as America’s journey toward fulfilling its promise,  “…that all men are created equal…”.

     “Wayne Harris is an amazing storyteller…soulful and dynamic”

“Harris’ stories sing and his characters are vividly portrayed”

“Storytelling at its best!”

Board Policy 213

The New Project from Wayne Harris

The public school system as we know it is under siege. Harris details the consequences of budget cuts, politics and beleaguered bureaucrats in this triad of stories that takes snapshots of the carnage. The daily trials of a school administrator, a PowerPoint presentation out of control and the story of Icarus paint a bleak landscape for the most important institution in the state, Public Education.

Marsh Performance Initiative Festival of New Works San Francisco CA June 6th & June 10th, 2010

The Marsh Berkeley
2120 Allston Way, off Shattuck
1 block from downtown Berkeley BART
June 23rd at 7:30pm

Get tickets at

May Day Parade


“Just the sight of them big butt girls in short skirts doing the “dirty dog” down Newstead Blvd. put the crowd into a frenzy…I mean folks were following the band down the street…I ain’t seen nothing like it before or since!” 

There’s a parade coming! So, get a seat on the curb and watch as Wayne Harris portrays 1 Baptist Preacher, 3 generations on a porch, a 4 man bass drum line, 12 rather large “letter” girls bumping and grinding down a a mid-town boulevard and the 100 member Pleasant Green Baptist Church Drum & Bugle Corps. 

Harris takes us on a road less traveled ( or maybe less marched) as he prepares at 8 years old to march in his first parade, maneuvering between a jealous broth, a drunken deacon, a foul mouth banner partner, new shoes and a grandmother of biblical proportions….all while learning the value of family, history and the importance of staying in step! 

Originally produced at The Marsh Theatre, San Francisco in 2007

Directed by David Ford 

Train Stories

train stories

“Dyin’ ain’t important…..everybody does that. What matters, is how you do your living!”  

A raw and riveting story of the African-American experience just after WWII  through the eyes and words of dining room porters on the railroad. The play met critical acclaim during a long San Francisco run as it depicted an important and vital story that expertly captures the harsh realities and lush beauty of life in America at the edge of the civil rights movement. 

“ Wayne Harris, skillfully interweaves deft character sketches…gripping” - San Francisco Chronicle- 

Originally produced at The Marsh Theatre, San Francisco 2004

Directed by David Ford 

Mothers Milk

mothers milk

“There was a warmth about my mother that is hard to describe…if you were close enough to her or even if you listened hard enough over the phone…you could feel it like a warm blanket draped around your shoulders” 

Both humorous and poignant, this solo performance is a wonderful celebration of Wayne’s childhood growing up in St. Louis, Mo. It is a play full of memorable characters from a Baptist Preachers to Black Panthers to a wino named Saushy Lips. It is a story of the questioning of faith and belief set against the background of the civil rights movement and a turbulent American landscape….and most important, it is a story of a mother’s practical application of “unconditional love” 

Originally produced at The Marsh Theatre, San Francisco 2003

Directed by David Ford