Michael Longoria Wows, and Slave Play moves to Broadway
Michael Longoria at Green Room 42
I had the great opportunity to see Broadway veteran and one of the Midtown Men Michael Longoria at the beautiful and elegant Green Room 42 this past week.
Michael treated a full crowd to selections from his latest album “Like They Do in the Movies” that is now freshly available for sale. Michael performed classic songs featured in film, all revolving around love, heartbreak and hope.
Standouts on the album include the sweet and moving “Rainbow Connection” and Michael’s original song (which I think should be included in a new film pronto!) “Kiss Me Like They Do in the Movies.” Fabulous performance and show at a lovely venue.
Michael will be presenting a Christmas show in December, so look for an announcement soon.
And now for something completely different.
Slave Play on Broadway.
This recently moved play from off-Broadway to the Golden Theatre has been receiving a lot of buzz and press for a variety of reasons.
What is definitely the case is that Slave Play has initiated quite a discussion about its themes.
I recently described Slave Play to a colleague without giving away the twist that the playwright created.
So I will do the same with you. In vague terms, Slave Play, written by Jeremy O. Harris is about the dynamic between couples, specifically interracial couples, acted out through a variety of sexual circumstances. (And yes, this production is not for kids or for your great-aunt Sally.) Underlining the notion that the play provides a looking glass for us all to examine how we truly, deeply feel about ourselves and other races, the set by Clint Ramos, displays an enormous paneled mirror allowing the audience to see itself (thankfully the mirrored image of the audience shifts through most of the play).
Many questions are asked, which is always a great outcome of compelling theatre.
Part farce, part satire, and part in-your-face reality, Slave Play provides an opportunity for us to examine the deepest inclinations we don’t realize we may have.
Each couple is well cast and are all excellent in their respective roles. It is an incredibly physical piece for 6 of the actors, leaving them, I am certain, exhausted by the time they appear for curtain call.
My main complaint about the piece is that it is over-written, clocking in at more than two hours without an intermission. The play forces you to remain in it with the characters, whether you want to or not. Many of the issues are expressed repeatedly and that deflates the point. In exploring these complicated dynamics, Mr. Harris throws in one too many themes, diluting the focus.
If you have issues with therapy and lots of dialogue, this may not be for you. But if you are open to truly ripping apart the ties that bind us to old beliefs, Slave Play may be the most uncomfortable piece of theatre you just may have to see.
For more theatre news and conversation, interviews and reviews listen to “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” radio show and podcast. Saturdays 9-10 AM on WNYM Radio and podcast. The only theatre and food oriented radio show in New York. On this week’s show, Tony winner Laura Benanti is featured.