If you ever wondered what Black men struggle with in our communities, wonder no more. Go and see Through The Night at the Riverside Theatre. This newest play written and performed by the talented, versatile Daniel Beaty, is a story that lets you know some of the plights that Black men live through on a daily basis.
Beaty portrays six Black men and four Black women and does each character with such a heartfelt realism you will surely be touched by the problems and distress which plague their hearts. Beaty decided to write this play after reading a National Urban League report about the “State of Black Males in the U.S.” The report painted a bleak picture of a future filled with failure and incarceration. Beaty’s characters have issues, but also find ways to survive through their issues. The beauty of Beaty’s writing is that all his characters are intricately connected. There’s Mr. Rogers, an owner of a health food store in the ghetto; his intelligent and sensitive 10-year-old son Eric; his wife Sarah who believes in his dram of this business; his ex-con employee Dre; Dre’s pregnant girlfriend Kim; Twon, a neighbor who is graduating from high school and is going to Morehouse; his mother; the neighborhood church pastor Bishop, his wife Ellen, their son Isaac and his boyfriend-Allen.
The story that Beaty weaves so well will have you mesmerized. From the opening scene, this incredible playwright creates characters that are so layered. As he changes persona, everything transforms into the specific character-body language, tone, voice, use of language and facial expressions. Now, some may say this is a given for any actor, but when you experience Beaty’s delivery you will realize he takes creating and performing characters to an elevated level.
I’ve tried to whet your appetite, but haven’t shared the meat of the production because the flavor of his poetry, singing and acting is a theatrical fare you need to savor first hand. Just know you will laugh a lot, you will cry some, but you will be completely engrossed from the beginning to the end.
The show is playing four more performances on June 6, 7 and 8. This is a show that not only shares the struggles of Black men, but their triumphs and the extremely critical role that a strong, loving, supportive Black mother or wife can play in the life of a Black man.
To buy tickets call 212-870-6784. This show is appropriate for teens and older. This play is powerfully directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. The show is being presented as part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Riverside Theatre and the 46th Anniversary of the New Heritage Theatre Group.
Black Shows And Performers Grab Tony Nominations
The Tony Award nominations are out and African-American productions and performers are faring very well. FELA, the musical produced by Jay-Z, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Alicia Keys is up for Best Musical; Best Book of a Musical-Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones; Best Direction of a Musical-Bill T. Jones; Best Choreography of a Musical-Bill T. Jones; Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical-Sahr Ngaujah; Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical-Lillias White; Best Scenic Design of a Musical-Marina Draghici; Best Costume Design of a Musical-Marina Dragnici; Best Lighting Design of a Musical-Robert Wierzel; Best Sound Design of a Musical-Robert Kaplowitz; and Best Orchestration of a Musical-Aaron Johnson.
Fences got 10 nominations which included: Best Revival of a Play; Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play-Denzel Washington; Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play-Viola Davis; Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play-Stephen McKinley Henderson; Best Direction of a Play-Kenny Leon; Best Costume Design of a Play-Constanza Romero; Best Scenic Design of a Play-Santo Loquasto; Best Lighting Design of a Play-Brian MacDevitt; Best Sound Design of a Play-Acme Sound Partners; and Best Original Score Written for the Theatre-Branford Marsalis.
Memphis-received eight Tony nominations: Best Musical; Best Book of a Musical; Best Original Score Written for the Theatre; Best Direction of a Musical; Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical-Chad Kimball; Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical-Montego Glover; and Best Orchestra.
In the plays Race and Superior Donuts African-American actors David Alan Grier and Jon Michael Hill respectively both received Tony nominations in the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.
The Tony Awards will air live on CBS, Sunday, June 13 from 8pm-11pm. Watch and root for your favorites.