Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Second Glance: Langston In Harlem

I saw the show "Langston in Harlem" about Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. It moved me.

That is a weird comment, huh? But it did.

The two pictured are Josh Tower as Langston Hughes and Kenita Miller as Zora (Zora Neale Hurston) and they blew me away with their skill.

The play tracks the story of Langston Hughes' emotional and creative growth and change in the Harlem Renaissance and beyond into the 40's and 50's.

It is a musical with music put to Langston's poetry. Sometimes blues, sometimes jazz, sometimes gospel, sometimes the poems were simply performed as "Spoken Word' art..Blues were the most prevalent and moving of the style choices (although a couple of the spoken word performances were mesmerizing).

What worked, BIG TIME, was the growth and maturity that evolved in his work. Often evolving into anger, into frustration that he managed usually (but not always) to bring back to a creative space..His emotional arc mirrors so many of our own - regardless of color, creed or sexual orientation. We grow up, we learn, we enjoy, we see wrongs and scream at them, then scream at the world and then, hopeful accept the world and try to change it in our own ways. We try not to admit defeat, but we don't want to spend our lives tilting at windmills. We want more, but learn to accept the happiness we have gratefully.

If you are in New York - it is at the Urban Stages (30th between 7th and 8th). SEE IT!
Rating: SEE IT!
What works: The Acting, The Singing, Listening to Langston Hughs' Poetry in an Entireally New Way
What doesn't work: A little too much white guilt for a while in the 3rd quarter
What you get to brag about to your friends: You saw some of the best actors on Broadway in a tiny venue in a World Premiere!

Cast: Josh Tower, Jordan Barbour, Jonathan Burke, Francesca Harper, LaTrisa Harper, Dell Howlett, Krisha Marcano, Kenita Miller, Okieriete Onaodowan, Gayle Turner, Glenn Turner, C. Kelly Wright
Director: Kent Gash

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