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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stick Fly

Anyone can put money into a Broadway show.  I won't begrudge them that.  I did.  So what?   Well, the difference is that my name is not obnoxiously pushed in everyone's faces as if I had anything to actually do with the show I invested in.   Music mega-star, Alicia Keys, is the money and apparently the advertising hope behind Lydia R. Diamond's terrifically complex and thought provoking new dramatic play, Stick Fly.

Obnoxious advertising and blatant use of a star's name to promote a product she has no connect to aside, everything else about this play is top-notch and, dare I say, Tony worthy.  It's 2011's August: Osage County.  Ms. Diamond clearly has an ear for dialogue.  She's penned a deep work that explores issues of race, class, family, and assumptions and choices.  

Staring Dule Hill, Mekhi Phifer, Tracie Thoms and Ruben Santiago-Hudson along with Rosie Bendon and Condola Rashad take the stage at the Cort Theatre as a wealthy black family with a vacation home in Martha's Vineyard (and in the white area, too).   Both sons (Hill and Phifer) each bring home a girlfriend to meet the family.  Tensions soar, family wounds are opened, and sparks fly throughout the weekend when the basic foundations of this family are challenged in some ways they have never been challenged before.  Ms. Diamond cleverly lays bare the family issues, slowly unraveling them bit by bit, scene by scene to keep you hooked the entire 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The single massive house set by David Gallo is magnificent.  And yes, musical interludes at the scene changes were indeed original (and often too loud) music by Alicia Keys. The strength of this play is the intelligent writing and the fine performances given by several bright young actors.  While Ms. Keys might be the money behind the machine, she's irrelevant when it comes to the performances.