About The Drums of Sweetwater


The Drums of Sweetwater is a drama/seriocomic play set in 1968, when an African- American woman psychiatrist moves from New York to a small segregated town in Sweetwater, TX. She is hired to examine three African-American male patients and their struggles with mental, spiritual, and emotional challenges.

Their acceptance in society has been stripped from them due to their communities' lack of understanding. During treatment, amidst the highs and lows, the patients discover truths and hidden secrets about themselves, finding that they are all bound together by some form of ancestral power.

The Drums of Sweetwater highlights the deep spiritual connection with one's place in the world, and acknowledges how labeling and misjudgment can affect a person's present state and future reality. This play occasionally includes heavy language and it is recommended that children of a certain age be accompanied by an adult.



Thomas Meloncon is an Associate Professor of Theatre in the Department of Visual & Performing Arts in
the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences at Texas Southern University. A nationally known
playwright and poet; he is the author of plays that have been produced nationally and internationally,
and three published books of poetry. His blues musical, Johnny B. Goode, is published in Acting Up and
Getting Down, an Anthology of African American Playwrights of Texas Published by University of Texas
Press, and The Man Who Saved New Orleans (An excerpt) published in Callaloo: A Journal of African
Diaspora Arts and Letters published by John Hopkins University Press.

Mr. Meloncon has been honored with many awards including Certificates of Congressional
Recognition, Certificates of Recognition from The City of Houston, Harris County Precinct One, The Texas
State Senate, Award of Artistic and Dramatic Achievement from the 65th Annual Conference of NADSA,
The Lifetime Achievement Award from the 74th Annual Conference of The National Association of
Dramatic and Speech Arts, The Ensemble Theatre’s Heart of the Theatre Award-Salute to Texas
Playwrights, A Certificate of Congressional Recognition on the Premier of The Man Who Saved New
Orleans, A Bronze Medallion from the City of Houston for the Off-Broadway Debut of The Diary of Black
Men, The TSU Impact Award, The Creative Writing Award from the Houston Chapter of the National
Association of Black Journalist, The Community Service Award from the Houston Area Women’s Center,
The Excellence in Community Health Education Award from the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, TSU
COLABS Best Faculty Mentor Award and is an inductee in the Kashmere High School Alumni
Association Hall of Fame.

Among his canon of plays are The Diary of Black Men, which had three tours in London,
England, The Drums of Sweetwater, Johnnie B. Goode, Where were you in ’65, The Man who
saved New Orleans, Sarah and Joshua: A Juneteenth Musical, The Laws of Storms, If Beds Could
Talk, Christmas with Great Aunt, Four Songs in the Key of Love, Whatever Happened to Black
Love, The Colored Section, Restricted Area, Their Berries are Sweeter, Freshmen Orientation The
Musical, Memories: Songs of Xmas, Dreams and Decisions, The Marriage Test, Before Time Runs
Out, Carlton’s Closet, Jump the Broom, and Let Yesterday Go. Mr. Meloncon’s body of work also
includes children plays: Nzinga and the Festival of Gifts, The Dream of Doors, The Tree that Grew
Human, and Young Mandela; an original Radio Drama Series-The Robeson Family Chronicles, and
“EXPRESSIONS” a performing arts and education talk show.

Mr. Meloncon has been featured Poet on several notable CDs: Bubbha Thomas’ CD The Grissle
II by Lightin’ Records, Poem-Turned Myself into a Drum; and Calvin Owen’s CD, Another Concept, by
Sawdust Alley Records, Poem-Listen to My Song. Germany’s Tramp Records June 2016 release of it’s
PEACE CHANT jazz cd includes Meloncon’s folksong “Ain’t Gonna Wait To Long”. In 1974 he recorded
400 Years and Cutback Blues on Judnell Records Label and others on Folkways Records with Rev.
Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick which can be found at [email protected]

Thomas Meloncon

North Carolina Central University Theatre

North Carolina Central University, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), takes prides in NCCU University Theatre being listed among the top ten best HBCU Theatre Schools in the United States by Hbcu-Colleges.com. The department is designed to satisfy the needs of a broad range of enthusiastic students and to give them the widest possible exposure to accomplishments in theatre and experiences that will develop them as capable theatre practitioners. Offering a bachelor’s degree in Theatre, our life and career applicable concentrations prepare majors to become performers, choreographers, teachers, directors, designers and technicians, production managers, media specialists, and dramaturgs in a culturally diverse world.​

The Department was recently awarded National Awards from the Kennedy Center for the production of The Bus Stop by Najee Brown.  Please visit the KCACTF4 website for most information about this celebrated accomplishment.