Set against a persistent, painful backdrop of police killings of Black men, the Johnson Chronicles is a bold, sensual, poetic, conversational ‘body memoir’ by American Book Award winner Peter J. Harris, who claims the uncensored spirit of the Vagina Monologues to create an oasis of sacred masculinity in which to present Truth and Tall Tales about first sex, size, fatherhood, intimate violence, and the impact of racism on the pleasure & pain of living with Johnson, the all-purpose African American euphemism for his penis.

Peter J. Harris, Writer, Director

Peter reading The Johnson Chronicles by Peter J. Harris

WRITER’S NOTE: “Autobiography is Briar Patch – sometimes terror-tory…” Read more…

MYTHICAL JOHNSON: “It ain’t the physical I’m wrestling with…” Read more…

Peter J. Harris is a writer, producer, publisher, broadcaster, educator, and founding director of The Black Man of Happiness Project, a creative, intellectual and artistic exploration of Black men and joy. Harris has won the American Book Award (2015) & PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award (2015 & 1993). Since the 1970s, Harris has published his poetry, essays, and fiction in a wide range of national publications.  With the JOHNSON CHRONICLES, adapted from his book of the same name, Harris continues his literary exploration of the lives of Black men. He has published essays about manhood and masculinity in anthologies edited by Charles Johnson, Terry McMillan, and Rebecca Walker, among others. His magazine, “Genetic Dancers: The Artistry Within African/American Fathers,” published during the 1980s, was the first magazine of its kind.

Terrell Tilford

Terrell Tilford in The Johnson Chronicles by Peter J. Harris
Terrell Tilford received the 2009 award for ensemble performance from the LA Drama Critics Circle; he’s also earned the NAACP Theatre Award, Garland, LA Stage Alliance & Ovation awards, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his television work. He recently completed the last two season’s of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth, recurring as Constance Marie’s dark and mysterious love interest, Eric, while moonlighting as the authoritative & charming Dr. Barton Shelby on CBS’ The Young & the Restless. An MFA graduate of Rutgers University, Tilford last performed at The Matrix Theatre in the award-winning production of StickFly, directed by Shirley Jo Finney. His other LA theater credits: Antaeus Company in the title role of The Curse of Oedipus, directed by Casey Stangl; the West Coast premiere of Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble’s production of Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Elmina’s Kitchen, directed by Gregg T. Daniel; and in the lead role of the West Coast premiere of the Tony Award winning Take Me Out at the Geffen Playhouse, directed by Randall Arney.
Tilford’s New York theater credits include last years’ 12 Angry Men (Billie Holiday/Kumble Theater), directed by Tony Award winner George Faison; and as Laertes in Hamlet (NPTC). Tilford has performed at major Regional Theatres, including the Guthrie, McCarter, Crossroads, Actors’ Gang, LA Theatre Works, and Black Dahlia. His television credits include Series Regular on Single LadiesThe ProtectorOne Life to Live, and Guiding LightRecurring on 24CSISoul FoodLincoln HeightsStar Trek: EnterpriseSharkMDs and All of UsSelect Guest on SupergirlMadam SecretaryMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.NCISThis American Housewife (pilot), The Doctor (pilot), BonesGirlfriends, and My Wife & Kids. Select Film work includes Blackbird (opp. Oscar winner Mo’Nique); H4 (Henry 4) opp. Oscar nominee Angus McFadyen & Harry Lennix); and The Summoning (opp. Paula Jai Parker).
Harris and Tilford are frequent collaborators. In 2014, they read excerpts of the Black Man of Happiness at the Pasadena Playhouse’s Rao and Padma Makineni Library, as part of programming initiated by former Associate Artistic Director Seema Sueko. In 2008, Tilford directed an ensemble staged reading/performance of the Johnson Chronicles at LA’s Bootleg Theater. 

LA Review of Books

Janice and Peter discuss the work’s transition from page to stage, reflect on the mythology surrounding the black male member and the role of that mythology in the ongoing de-humanization of African-Americans, and the challenges still facing artists presenting honest, intimate portraits of Black Americans.

Note: Peter J. Harris is fiscally sponsored by Unique Projects, Inc., a non-profit organization administered by Pentacle (DanceWorks, Inc).
Pentacle is a service organization for the performing arts. Mara Greenberg, Director, Ivan Sygoda, Founding Director,
75 Broad Street Suite 304, New York, NY 10004. 212/278-8111.