Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical The Beast in the Jungle Black Light Girl from the North Country The Hello Girls Midnight at the Never Get
Outstanding Book Of A Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Robert Horn, Tootsie Conor McPherson, Girl from the North Country Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, The Hello Girls Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown Jeff Whitty and James Magruder, Head Over Heels
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, The Prom Joe Iconis, Be More Chill Peter Mills, The Hello Girls Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown David Yazbek, Tootsie
Outstanding Director Of A Musical Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown Scott Ellis, Tootsie Daniel Fish, Oklahoma! Joel Grey, Fiddler on the Roof (in Yiddish) Cara Reichel, The Hello Girls
The Richard Wright-James Baldwin showdown “Les Deux Noirs” briefly becomes “Les Quatre” in the frisky, flippant new show at Mosaic Theater. Wright takes on a Jay-Z persona and Baldwin is Kanye West as the Jay-Z/Kanye West song “Niggas in Paris” gets the music video treatment, complete with choreography and projections. No telling where playwright Psalmayene 24 might swerve after that irreverent, heady start to his 70-minute power play between mid-20th-century titans of black American culture.
You can’t say Psalmayene 24 is jumping on the hip-hop bandwagon of “Hamilton”; he’s been doing this for at least 20 years, since he performed his “The Hip-Hop Nightmares of Jujube Brown” at Arena Stage. The new drama’s full title is “Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son,” and it’s based on a 1953 meeting in Paris between Wright and Baldwin. The beef was the upstart Baldwin’s critique of Wright’s 1940 novel, “Native Son,” a groundbreaking book that’s still troubling in its representation of Bigger Thomas’s violent reaction to an oppressive society. …
The show is a fantasia that isn’t entirely sure of itself yet. Sexuality rears its head — Baldwin was gay, Wright married two white women — and in that complicated key, RJ Pavel and Musa Gurnis are terrific as the solicitous maitre d’ and waitress (both white) with creamy French accents and lusty eyes. The chats and the action never feel remote — lessons on the n-word, a great joke about reparations — even if the show is still seeking the thread that will pull it all tight.
Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son, by Psalmayene 24. Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell. Set, Ethan Sinnott; lights, William K. D’Eugenio; costumes, Amy MacDonald; projections, Brandi Martin; sound, Nick Hernandez; choreography, Tiffany Quinn. About 70 minutes. Through April 27 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $20-$65. 202-399-7993. mosaictheater.org.
Read the full review by Nelson Pressley of the Washington Post here.
There is something wonderfully effortless about “The Last Wide Open,” which had its world premiere at the Playhouse in the Park Thursday evening.
That’s not a very compelling description, I know. But it’s a compliment. You see, Audrey Cefaly’s play defies all those laws of time and logic that we grew up with. It’s a play that should, by all rights, be utterly confusing. And, I suppose, if you’re one of those people who insists on grasping every last shred of reason out of a script, it still can be.
But why would you go to the theater and battle the playwright? This is the person you’ve asked to take you on a journey. Give in. Trust your playwright. Give yourself a chance to be enriched by the ride. And what an enchanting ride Cefaly and her cast – and director Blake Robison – take us on.
It all takes place in a small Italian restaurant called Frankie’s. There are just two characters; Lina and Roberto. He’s an Italian immigrant, while she is someone always wanting something she doesn’t have. That has the makings of a story. But Cefaly isn’t content with that. She’s leading us into an adventure.
“The Last Wide Open,” you see, is more than a love story. It is three variations on the same story. All three take place on the same day in the same place. What does that mean, exactly? Well, in the first section of the play, Roberto has spent five years as a dishwasher at Frankie’s. In the second, he’s still the same man, but he is a teacher who is helping out at his uncle’s restaurant – Frankie’s. In the third, he is a bus boy who has only just arrived in America. We meet three different faces of Lina, too; as an impatient, directionless server, a nurse and finally, a part-time server who is a week away from being married.
Confused? Probably, because this sounds much more complicated on paper than when it is played out in front of us. Cefaly has created characters who are, in many ways, just like the rest of us. Sure, there are actorly demands. But Lina and Roberto are people coping with anxiety, longing, uncertainty and the greatest burden of all, trying to find meaning in the humdrum of everyday life.
Is there sadness? Definitely. And apprehension and anger, too. And love? We hope there will be, because by the time we’re a few minutes into the play, we really like these characters. A lot. Kimberly Gilbert (Lina) is a bundle of . . . well, I was going to say “nerves.” That’s true. But there is so much more. Not only does she feel immobilized by the pressures of life, but she is also in a constant dither. Her greatest pride, it seems, is in the precision with which she mops the restaurant floor. And as Roberto, Marcus Kyd seems unflappable, no matter how muddled and chaotic the situation around him. Perhaps he has learned that, as a man with only a rough understanding of English, the safest way to proceed is to smile a lot. And nod occasionally. And be charming.
Oh – there is one more person on the stage, as well. Debra Hildebrand is the chief of the theater’s properties running crew. She’s the one in charge of making sure all that “stuff” on the stage is in the right place at the right time. Usually, the role would have her hidden backstage. But Cefaly wants everyone to be a part of the mix. So Hildebrand wanders in and out at significant moments, moving errant forks or handing the actors musical instruments – just being there when she’s needed. And she has a lovely presence, like a favorite aunt wafting in and out of the room.
There are a handful of songs, too. Written by Matthew M. Nielson, they’re not big musical numbers. They’re more like musical ruminations, except that they’re funnier and more clever than that description makes them sound.
“The Last Wide Open” is much harder to describe than it is to experience. Remember, it’s “effortless,” even in its unusual dramatic format. Should it be three separate plays? Played by separate actors? Who knows? That’s up to Cefaly. And the world she chooses to wrap us all up in is one that manages to be mystical and real. And charming. As I mentioned earlier, trust her. And trust her writing. And while you’re at it, trust her characters, too, no matter where they take us.
Read the full review from the Cincinnati.com here.
Caroline can’t find anything funny — not her awkward love life, not her jaded standup coach Guy, and definitely not the punchlines she’s been reading in 101 Dirty Jokes.
Originally produced at the Humana Festival at the Actors Theater of Louisville, Patricia Cotter‘s RULES OF COMEDY is a playful, wry look at the lives of comedians when they dare to go offstage and off script. Directed by Jonathan Bernstein, Cotter’s short comedy stars Louisa Krause (The Flick, Billions, PoA’s Winter Games) and Michael Esper (Trust, The Last Ship, PoA’s Anniversary). After the play, stay tuned for an artist interview about the playwright’s background in comedy, avoiding the pull towards bitterness, and toeing the line with your material.
“Cotter’s script is lush with the knowledge of standup comedy… this play is a scream” – Todd Zeigler, Broadway World Reviews
The legendary Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to produce five spectacular musicals for its upcoming season that includes … the U.S. premiere of the hilarious new musical Grumpy Old Men.
We have also been following the development of the brand new musical version of Grumpy Old Men and are delighted and honored to produce the U.S premiere of this hilarious new production for Playhouse audiences this season.
Season ticket subscription packages are on sale now and the only way to guarantee the best seats for the best price to these five exciting shows! Prices start at only $247 for a five-show package and $147 for a three-show package. Gift certificates and Flex Passes are also on sale online and through the Box Office. Individual tickets are on sale exclusively for Ogunquit Playhouse members beginning Tuesday, February 20. Individual tickets sales begin Monday, February 26 with prices starting at $52.
Fasten your seat belt, it’s going to be a grumpy ride! The Ogunquit Playhouse is proud to produce the U.S. premiere of the new musical-comedy, Grumpy Old Men: The Musical – on stage August 8 to September 1 and just in time to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the classic 1993 Warner Brothers film starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. This hilarious new show was penned by Dan Remmes, with music by Neil Berg and lyrics by Nick Meglin. Two aging neighbors, Max and John, have been feuding for more than fifty years until the beautiful and charming Ariel moves in across the street -raising the rivalry to new heights! Don’t miss this laugh-out-loud story of family, friendship, love and romance in a fresh new musical that’s guaranteed to delight!