Thursday, October 3, 2013

New York Theater Buzz: Not-To-Be-Missed, Oct 2013

By Jacquelin Carnegie - (New York, NY)
For those on a budget, NYTW has $20 Sunday night tks but you need to get them in person in advance at the Box Office:
James, Freeman, Fisher, Jelks (photo: Joan Marcus)

New York Theatre Workshop (79 East 4th St.) Limited run: Until Oct. 13, 2013
Directed by Des McAnuff; Written by Will Power; Starring K. Todd Freeman, Ray Fisher, John Earl Jelks, Nikki M. James
Go now 'cause pretty soon you won't get in; I predict it's Broadway bound.
The action takes place on the cusp of boxer Cassius Clay becoming Mohammad Ali. As he makes all the moves to be "The Greatest," Ali (Ray Fisher) wants to add the late, great fighter Jack Johnson's alleged secret punch to his repertoire. To that end, he contacts the formerly-famous, Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit (K. Todd Freeman) who was Johnson's buddy.
The play has the excitement and tension of a prizefight as the stars--Ali's ascending and Fetchit's already burnt out--throw punches at each other in a game of wits. While we know that Ali goes on to fame and fortune, the heart-wrenching poignancy here is discovering that Fetchit was a shrewd negotiator becoming the first black actor to get screen credit in Hollywood during the 1920s & 30s--a far dirtier fight than Ali ever had to face. Both Freeman & Fisher give knockout performances. Don't miss this show.

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