Charles (OyamO) Gordon


OyamO (Charles F. Gordon) was born in Elyria in 1943. His parents, Earnest and Bennie Gordon, moved him and his six siblings to a home on E. 32nd Street in Lorain soon after he was born. He graduated from Admiral King High School in 1962. In high school he wrote for the school newspaper. He also composed poetry and stories during his school years.

He took the name OyamO as a pen name since his real name is similar to that of playwright, Charles Gordone. One of his early plays, Breakout (1969), was included in BLACK DRAMA ANTHOLOGY, published in 1971. He is the author of more than 30 plays, most of which have been produced in New York City. He has presented his plays at the Yale Rep, Chicago's Goodman Theatre, D.C.'s Arena Stage, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Cleveland Karamu House, New York's Public Theatre, O'Neill Playwright's Conference, and at numerous other theaters. He has taught at the College of New Rochelle, Emory University, Princeton University, New Dramatists in New York City and at the University of Iowa Playwright's Workshop.

His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Playwright-in-Residence Grant, an Ohio Arts Council Award, a McKnight Foundation Award, the Berrilla Kerr Award, three NEA Fellowships, and numerous award nominations in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. He also has been a member of the professional theater panel of the National Education Association. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and he is a member of PEN (The National Association of Literary Writers), The Dramatists Guild, New Dramatists, and the Writers' Guild of America East.

OyamO is presently an Associate Professor of Theatre and is Playwright in Residence at the University of Michigan.


  • The Breakouts. (1969)
  • Hillbilly liberation : (a grossly understated prayer of theatrical spectacles, social positions and poetry.). (1976)
  • Famous Orpheus. (1985)
  • The Resurrection of Lady Lester : a poetic mood song based on the legend of Lester Young. (1981)
  • I Am a Man (1995)
  • Pink and Say (1996)
  • Let Me Live (1998)
  • The Black White Man (The original title was Mundele Ndombe.)(2003)

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