Monday, July 30, 2018

Weekly Margin 2018, W30: Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, Gettin' the Band Back Together

7/25/18: Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope
What: New York City Center's Encores! Off-Center summer series concludes with Micki Grant and Vinnette Carroll's Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, an ecclectic revue from the early 1970s covering a wide spectrum of experience within the Black community in the States.
And? Helmed by Savion Glover as both director and choreographer, and with a few pointedly updated references mixed in, Don't Bother Me is at times joyous, at times defiant, playful, contemplative, but always full-throated and dynamically staged. Particularly memorable were the strident "They Keep Coming," the proud "My Name is Man," and the titular finale.

Wayne Pretlow and the company. Photo by Joan Marcus.

7/26/18: Gettin' the Band Back Together
What: A new musical by Ken Davenport and The Grundleshotz (a group of performers and writers) about an unemployed stockbroker who returns to his mother's house in Sayreville, New Jersey and is goaded by his old nemesis and current slumlord into getting his old high school band back together to challenge him in the Battle of the Bands.
And? Two perspectives: one, the crowd around me laughed and gave an almost immediate standing ovation during curtain call; two, I mostly didn't care. The story was too derivative, which could be fine if the jokes were more surprising. As the villain Tygen Billows, Brandon Williams is very funny, and I think if the show were a bit better written, he could really make something memorable out of it. I try not to get too snarky here (except if I'm trashing Annie or Eugene O'Neill, but both of them are old as velociraptors, and they can take it), so I'll just say that during the bulk of the show I remained indifferent, which is a pity.

Manu Narayan, Jay Klatitz, Paul Whitty, Sawyer Nunes, and Mitchell Jarvis
as Rummesh "Robbie" Patel, Bart Vickers, Sully Sullivan, Ricky Bling,
and Mitch Papadopoulos. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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