Monday, May 14, 2018

Weekly Margin 2018, W19: Our Lady of 121st Street, Paradise Blue, Me and My Girl

5/10/18: Our Lady of 121st Street
What: Former students, friends, and relatives gather when beloved but stern teacher Sister Rose dies. However, with a missing body, the mourners must instead face their own ghosts.
And? This was really well done. Excellent cast, particularly Hill Harper, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Maki Borden, and Dierdre Friel. Satisfyingly staged and structured; it was fun realizing how the disparate scenes were were seeing interconnected. I think I was ultimately disappointed that the play didn't so much end as stop, with many threads left unresolved. I recognize that that's probably a very deliberate point on the part of playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, so it's just a personal preference on my part.

Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Hill Harper, Dierdre Friel, and Kevin Isola as
Inez, Rooftop, Sonia, and Gail. Photo by Monique Carboni.

5/11/18: Paradise Blue
What: Trumpeteer and club owner Blue is looking for a way out of Paradise (the name of his bar and of his neighborhood in Detroit), while his girlfriend, friends, and newcomer Silver look for a way to keep the club afloat, even if it's without him.
And? Another really finely performed, staged, and designed offering from Signature, by new-to-me playwright Dominique Morisseau. It's a sad story, but Pumpkin's arc of liberation is beautifully rendered.

J. Alphonse Nicholson and Simone Missick as Blue and Silver.
Photo by Joan Marcus.

5/13/18: Me and My Girl
What: City Center Encores! concert staging of the 1930s (and revised 1980s) musical. The long-lost heir to the earldom of Hareford has at last been found, but he's a wise-cracking cockney with a beloved girlfriend in tow. Classes collide as Bill's aunt attempts to refine him and separate him from Sally.
And? The buzz that Mark Evans steals the show with his act two opener is entirely true. And even though the rest of the cast is good, this is such a boring show. Each song is only half a song; the second half is repeating the first half. And "The Lambeth Walk" does nothing for me.

Mark Evans as The Honorable Gerald Bolingbroke and ensemble. Photo by
Joan Marcus.

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