The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Ricardo Khan

Share on Social Media

Information about Ricardo Khan

Profile image of Ricardo Khan

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Director
Artistic Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Believe. Hold Fast To Dreams.

Birthplace

Born:
11/4/1951
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Director
Artistic Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Believe. Hold Fast To Dreams.

Birthplace

Born:
11/4/1951
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Ricardo Khan is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Ricardo Mohamed Khan was born on November 4, 1951, in Washington, D.C., to Mustapha and Jacqueline Khan, a doctor from Trinidad and an American nurse. Khan was raised in Camden, New Jersey. In 1968, as a high school student, he went on a class trip to Broadway and saw an all-black cast perform Hello, Dolly. The trip inspired him to become active in his high school’s drama program, and the next year, he attended Rutgers University, where he studied psychology and theater. Khan earned his B.A. degree in 1973 and his M.F.A. degree in 1977, both from Rutgers University.

Khan and one of his graduate school classmates, L. Kenneth Richardson, were frustrated by the limited opportunities for African Americans in theater; they wanted roles that went beyond conventional stereotypes. In 1978, they came up with the idea for the Crossroads Theatre Company as a place to promote black theater and black artists. With help from Eric Krebs of the nearby George Street Playhouse and a government grant, the company became a reality; its first theater was the second floor of an old factory in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Crossroads Theatre Company presented their first world premier, One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show by Don Evans in 1981. In 1986, with the premiere of The Colored Museum, Crossroads was established as a distinguished regional company. The next year, Khan and Richardson launched a $1 million campaign to build a new playhouse, though Richardson left the group before the new stage was completed in 1991.

In the following years, the Crossroads Theatre Company became increasingly well-regarded; in a famous 1996 speech, playwright August Wilson described it as a role model for black theaters. Khan won a number of personal awards as well, including induction into the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni; an honorary doctorate from his alma mater; and the New Jersey Governor’s Award. In 1999, the Crossroads Theatre Company received the Tony Award for the Best Regional Theater.

However, lingering financial problems forced the company to make major cutbacks. In 2000, Khan went on sabbatical, traveling in Trinidad and later in Africa. That same year, Crossroads had to close for a season; the next year, it was able to mount a few shows, and it has gradually built back up since. In 2003, Khan returned to his role as artistic director, and in 2008 the Crossroads Theatre Company celebrated its thirtieth anniversary.

See how Ricardo Khan is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ricardo Khan's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ricardo Khan describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ricardo Khan describes his mother's personality and influence
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ricardo Khan describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ricardo Khan describes his families' businesses
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ricardo Khan describes his parents' education at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ricardo Khan describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ricardo Khan recalls his father's medical residency in Norristown, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ricardo Khan's mother remembers her professors at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan describes his father's personality and career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ricardo Khan lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ricardo Khan describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ricardo Khan remembers moving frequently during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ricardo Khan describes his neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ricardo Khan describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ricardo Khan remembers his mother's civic involvement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ricardo Khan describes his education in Quaker schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ricardo Khan describes his experiences of discrimination at the Moorestown Friends School in Moorestown, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ricardo Khan remembers the Friends Select School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan describes the music of his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ricardo Khan recalls the televisions programs of his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ricardo Khan remembers the Moorestown Friends School in Moorestown, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ricardo Khan recalls Cherry Hill High School West in Cherry Hill, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ricardo Khan remembers the all-black Broadway production of 'Hello, Dolly!'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ricardo Khan remembers his first role as a director
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan remembers the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ricardo Khan recalls his theatrical involvement at Cherry Hill High School West in Cherry Hill, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ricardo Khan describes his decision to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ricardo Khan recalls his theater involvement in Camden and New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ricardo Khan describes his experiences at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ricardo Khan recalls his decision to attend the Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ricardo Khan recalls Broadway's African American productions
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan remembers the New Federal Theater in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ricardo Khan describes the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ricardo Khan describes the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ricardo Khan remembers founding the Crossroads Theatre Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ricardo Khan recalls naming his theater company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ricardo Khan describes the mission of the Crossroads Theatre
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ricardo Khan describes the Crossroads Theatre's opening season
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan describes the Crossroads Theatre's audiences
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ricardo Khan describes the Crossroad Theatre's awards
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ricardo Khan remembers his directorial influences
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ricardo Khan recalls his production of 'The Darker Face of the Earth'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ricardo Khan describes the Crossroads Theatre's production of 'Jitney'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ricardo Khan describes the Crossroads Theatre's financial difficulties, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ricardo Khan describes the Crossroads Theatre's financial difficulties, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan remembers his departure from the Crossroads Theatre
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ricardo Khan talks about the closure of the Crossroads Theatre
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ricardo Khan describes Crossroad Theatre's funding
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ricardo Khan reflects upon the challenges facing black theater companies
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ricardo Khan describes his return to the Crossroads Theatre
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ricardo Khan reflects upon his reasons for leaving the Crossroad Theatre
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ricardo Khan describes his hopes for the African American theater community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ricardo Khan narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ricardo Khan narrates his photographs, pt. 2