Leonard Harper, Dancer, Stager, Producer. The 2022 Tap Hall of Fame Award Winner Leonard Harper
Leonard Harper brought "Plantation Days" and "Harlem Follies" to the city of Chicago in addition to other productions. I applaud you for your impressive efforts to memorialize your grandfather.
-President Barack Obama
Cindy Adams-NY Post
Should the Tony's consider a little Broadway history montage, they might include a posthumous nod to dancer/producer Leonard Harper. In the 20s he choreographed Ruby Keller, Fred Astaire, the Marx Brothers. Introduced Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway to show biz. Worked with Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake. Presented Billie Holiday, Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, Bill Robinson, Count Basie. Directed Broadway's first all-black production "Hot Chocolates," which brought us the song "Ain't Misbehavin'." Was the first black to tour the Schubert theater circuit.
As a dancer, choreographer, and studio owner, Leonard Harper coached many of the country's leading performers, including Ruby Keeler, Fred and Adele Astaire, and the Marx Brothers. As a nightclub and Broadway producer, he counted Billie Holiday, Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Count Basie among his colleagues. Harper introduced Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway to New York show business and worked with Mae West, Josephine Baker, Lena Horne, Fats Waller, and Eubie Blake.
-Jed Bernstein/Live Broadway Executive Director
In no small part, Mr. Harper contributed to the exciting theater culture in New York during the Harlem Renaissance. His pioneering production and co-direction of "The Exile," known as the first African American "talkie" motion picture, has firmly placed him at the top of New York's artistic heritage. Mr. Harper's innovative choreography embodied a vibrant, creative spirit that is still admired today.
Sincerely Yours-Hillary Rodham Clinton
This book Rhythm For Sale is fascinating and chock full of history and culture and gives you a sense of the evolution of Black music from the South to New York City and throughout the United States.
Felipe Luciano WBAI 99.5 (Free Speech Radio) 99.5 FM
THE NETWORK JOURNAL-Herb Boyd
In "Rhythm For Sale" tracing Harper's productions, particularly his association with the fabled Connie's Inn and the Apollo Theater, is to experience not only the history of these famous venues but to journey on much of Harlem's legendary past. Reid has meticulously listed, especially a veritable daily record of Harper's works during evenings at the Apollo from 1935 to 1942. Learn the Real background story of the Apollo as Leonard Harper Directs as the In-House Producer in the theater and puts it on the World-Famous Map.
CHANTICLEER Best Book 2015 GRAND PRIZE WINNER
The well-documented facts and events in Rhythm For Sale often tap dance across the page with fury, perhaps suggestive of the pace at which Leonard Harper worked his craft. Highly recommended.
INDIEREADER Staff: One of the Best Self-Published Books
Reid does not tiptoe within the restrictions of political correctness. Writing exuberantly, Reid transforms the book into a richly tonal fable with emotive observances.
Reid's approach is more expository than narrative. But his frank and colloquial descriptions of people add a sense of character. Harlem Renaissance enthusiasts will savor the names, places, shows, and feel of the era.
AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE BOOK CLUB
While other history books merely stick to the surface by focusing just on the singing and dancing, here we have a sobering exploration which examines their feeling about racism.
Reid's biographical debut ventures into the beating heart of the Harlem Renaissance.
READERS FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL REVIEWS 5-STARS
This book is a fascinating look at the dazzling Harlem Renaissance that was the backdrop to the life of his grandfather Leonard Harper. Those wanting to learn about, this wonderful era of dance and theater history will realize they have a marvelous find.
Much of Grant's book's inner light comes from his own, often humorous, observations, supplemented by a simply delightful parade of celebrities and gangsters with whom Leonard Harper rubbed elbows. Like Harper himself, his biography, Rhythm For Sale is a vigorous and highly entertaining read that will transport its reader.
What a valentine it is: With compelling apt photos, an extensive bibliography, and reference list and deeply researched, well-organized chapters he (Grant) does his grandfather justice.
I'm sure your grandfather is looking down at you with a happy smile for all that you are doing. Leonard Harper was a pioneer, and many can say that without his works and struggles the development of American Musical Entertainment would not be what it is today.
-Isabelle Stevenson-Chairwoman of the Board & Founder of the Antoinette Perry Tony Awards.
A Good Read About a Very Talented Individual.
I really enjoyed this book. I’m a big jazz fan so it was interesting to find out that Harper Reid (the author’s grandfather) rented part of his Harlem apartment to Duke Ellington, my favorite musician of all time. The book also emphasizes the systematic racism most Black artists faced during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. The whites of that era controlled almost every aspect of the entertainment industry and much too often took the credit for the artistic achievements of Blacks like Grant Harper Reid. By Louis Cepeda
Here's Leonard Harper
Among the younger generation of Colored Theatrical Producers. During the era that brought the Revue form of Entertainment into its own Leonard Harper has been one of the most prominent and successful. With becoming modesty, he has done his work, never seeking the puerile publicity that means so little to the intelligent members of the profession.
Grant Harper Reid's incredibly researched and detailed look into his grandfather's life as a producer of some of Harlem's greatest musical reviews of the 1920s and 1930s is a delightful trip back in time. I felt as if I had a front-row seat at these shows! If you weren't lucky enough to have been there, this book is your ticket.
The WBAI "Rhythm For Sale" Interview with Felipe Luciano
"Rhythm For Sale" book review by Preston Baker: This is a self-published book that shines a well-deserved light on the impact that Producer/Director/Choreographer Leonard Harper had on the Harlem Renaissance penned by his grandson. Despite producing over 2,000 shows which included the most talented black musicians and performers of the er
"Rhythm For Sale" book review by Preston Baker: This is a self-published book that shines a well-deserved light on the impact that Producer/Director/Choreographer Leonard Harper had on the Harlem Renaissance penned by his grandson. Despite producing over 2,000 shows which included the most talented black musicians and performers of the era, his immense contribution has never been truly detailed. The writing is quite straightforward but my admiration for this book is rooted in the decades of research that was undertaken by the author to “Set the story straight”. The racial prejudice, color prejudice, injustice, and sacrifice the talented "colored" performers of this era had to endure are also recorded here in great and often disturbing detail. Period photos and posters are included throughout this Harlem history book. I met the author at Revolution Books, (Malcolm X Blvd & W132nd St) and he expressed the pride and exoneration he felt because the petition to rename 132nd street “Leonard Harper Way '' in honor of the career of his illustrious grandfather was moving toward approval by the NYC council.
Review of Grant Harper Reid's "Rhythm For Sale" by Wayne Bass: A story that needed to be documented. Very appreciative of the research and time it must have taken to pull this information together. Leonard Harper laid the groundwork for live entertainment that we enjoy today including influencing Ed Sullivan...
Ever heard of Leonard Harper, "Rhythm For Sale" The Godfather of Cabaret? Neither did I until I read Rhythm For Sale by Grant Harper Reid. Fascinating stories of cabaret life before and during the Harlem Renaissance, and Leonard Harper was at the forefront. He even had a dance studio in Times Sq where the likes of Fred Astaire learned to
Ever heard of Leonard Harper, "Rhythm For Sale" The Godfather of Cabaret? Neither did I until I read Rhythm For Sale by Grant Harper Reid. Fascinating stories of cabaret life before and during the Harlem Renaissance, and Leonard Harper was at the forefront. He even had a dance studio in Times Sq where the likes of Fred Astaire learned to “fast dance” and get down and “dirty” with the real Uptown talent. Leonard’s grandson, Grant Harper Reid is funny and full of Harlem history. I learned the definition of “coon shooter”—it ain’t what you think!