The Sides…

Yes, I know, you’ve been cravin’ tofu chitlin’s.  I’m here to tell you…I had a 3 month experience on a production that I’ll never forget. But I’m back and better than ever!

I call this segment the “The Sides.”  If the Tofu Chitlin’s Circuit is the main entree; then The Sides are productions that I would love to see that are being performed around the country.  Here are my picks.  If you live in this city…then you should be buying a ticket.  The Chicago performances were left out because there will be another blog devoted just to Chicago.  Enjoy “the sides!”

Washington, D.C.

Arena Stage

Resurrection written by Daniel Beaty (This production just closed)

Directed by Oz Scott

“In a unique blend of music, poetry, and dance, Daniel Beaty brings us six show-stopping characters—from Eric, a budding child scientist, to The Bishop, the leader of a mega church, to his son Isaac, a corporate executive. The stories of these African American men collide one evening in an unforgettable look at identity, relationships and, above all, our human connections.”  This sounds very interesting, Daniel Beaty is forging a great career as a writer and actor.  It’s a must see-I think I might to take a trip to D.C.

New York

Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.

Webeime Written and Directed by Layon Gray

WEBEIME is written and directed by LA based artist Layon Gray. NEC will present the New York premier of this work which has played in other locations nationally. The play explores the essence of black men using both spoken work and powerful choreography to create an intense and dramatic theatrical experience. The powerful piece of theater has been called “a warrior cry” by one reviewer.

I appreciate seeing new and innovative work by emerging artist.  Watching the small clips on-line has peeked my interest in seeing this provocative production.

The Signature Theatre Company

First Breeze of Summer by Leslie Lee

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

The show takes place over the course of one sweltering weekend in June, as the struggles of three generations of the Edwards family collide. Gremmar, the Edwards family matriarch, recalls her past and considers its legacy for her children and grandchildren as they confront the choices that will define their futures.

Having seen this production last year at Court Theater, I wanted to see it in New York at The Signature Theatre Company mainly because of John Jelks.  I met Mr. Jelks during the World Premiere of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean.  He is such a consummate actor and professional.  This is a difficult script to digest, however, I believe the stellar cast that is assembled along with director Ruben Santiago-Hudson is sure to be a wonderful experience.

St. Louis, MI

St. Louis Black Rep

In the Continuum Written by Nikkole Salter & Danai Gurira

In the Continuum dramatizes the devastating problem of HIV/AIDS among African and African-American women that has reached an all time high both in the US and Africa.  Salter and Gurira felt the need to have a story told from a woman’s perspective.  The two actors portray numerous characters in two parallel stories that transform women with HIV/AIDS from statistical victims on new reports to empathetic people who demand compassion and attention.

I wanted to see this production here in Chicago.  I heard that it is brilliant. A definite MUST-SEE!

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre

Waitin’ 2 End Hell written by William a. Parker

Directed by Buddy Butler

In William a. Parker’s Off-Broadway comedy, three couples gather to celebrate the twelfth marriage anniversary of Dante and Diane. Dante struggles to define his role as a husband after twelve years and two children, and Diane has lost that loving feeling and finds it virtually impossible to go on. We quickly learn that many skeletons have gathered in the closet, and this seemingly happy couple is on the brink of divorce. What do women want? Is this the end of black love? What is the future of the family in America?

This play sounds promising!

Cleveland, Ohio

Karamu House Inc.

A House with no Walls written by Thomas Gibbons

Directed by Terrance Spivey

A House With No Walls presents a conflict between two African-Americans — a rising star in the world of academia who has just published a startlingly conservative book and an ultra-liberal, Afrocentric political activist.

I’m all about roles for women, and this sounds like a great play. I need to read it…anyone know where I can get a copy?


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