Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


A power-packed, "Ripped From The Headlines" new play by emerging playwright, Gabe McKinley, is now playing at the Peter Norton Space on way-West 42nd Street.  This is the former space occupied by the Signature Theatre.  

Although I've seen it in previews, I can already tell this one is going to be a barn-burner.  The pace is quick, the wit is razor sharp, and story is focused.  Mr. McKinley, the playwright, actually worked at the NY Times.  CQ/CX is the fictionalized story of the Jayson Blair scandal and the damage he inflicted upon the Grey Lady herself, his friends, and his colleagues.  

The all-around brilliant cast aptly supports Kobi Libii's fine portrayal of Jay Bennett (i.e. Jayson Blair), hungry and aggressive young intern turned reporter who eventually self-destructed at the heart of the entire affair.  David Pittu takes the helm as Junior, the family member in a long and proud family dynasty who ran the publication.  Arliss Howard takes on the role of Hal Martin, new man in control, attempting to steer the behemoth ship into the 21st century.  Peter Jay Fernandez takes on the role of Gerald Haynes, the first African-American to rise to the senior ranks who by coincidence also becomes a sort of mentor to the young Bennett.  Larry BryggmanTim HopperSteve Rosen and Sheila Tapia fill in the ranks of colleagues and friends.

Just for reference, the title is Latin - CQ stands for cadet quaestio -which translates to "the question fails" and is an editors mark that is used when he questions a fact in a story.  CX is an editors mark for something that has been "corrected".   Hence the title, CQ/CX, is born out of the combination of the two and is quite relevant to the entire story

I enjoyed this show with a 20@20 ticket, but I'd go out on a limb to suggest it's worth the full price charged by the Atlantic Theater Company.