B2productions's Blog

08/12/2011

B2: Review – Stick Fly

Greetings Community,

So I had the pleasure to see Stick Fly with our new Blogger: Joseph Riley Land and let me say what a treat it was.  Even more so for me because I didn’t have to worry about writing this review, but I digress.  Stick Fly opens tonight, Thursday December 8th 2011 @ the Cort Theatre.  Get your tickets now, wether it’s for yourself or as a Holiday gift and I will see you all behind the lights!

As Always,

Kevin-Anthony

Review by Joseph Riley Land:

“I must be seen.” That’s a line from the last scene of playwright Lydia R. Diamond’s searing new Broadway offering, Stick Fly, and it resonates throughout the Cort Theatre. It resonates in my ears, days after seeing the play. It… resonates. In a world where the concept of the nuclear family is shattered, ideas of race, class, identity, love and the infrastructure of the Black Family come into question. The play, which has been dancing around off-Broadway since 2006, is set to open Thursday, December 8, directed by Broadway veteran Kenny Leon (The Mountaintop, Fences).

The opening scene establishes very quickly, and very certainly, that the LeVay family is extremely wealthy. Not nouveau riche; they come from old money and the family continues to do well, with Dr. Joseph LeVay (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) heading the family. His son Flip (Mekhi Phifer in his Broadway debut) is a plastic surgeon and his other son, Kent (Dulé Hill) is… well, well-educated, with numerous degrees under his belt, but no real job to back them up. He does have, however, a finished manuscript for his first novel. It’s a long weekend in the summer of 2005 and the LeVay boys bring their significant others (Rosie Benton playing Flip’s girlfriend Kimber and Tracie Thoms playing Kent’s fiancé Taylor) to visit the family in Martha’s Vineyard. Not Oak Bluffs, the Black enclave in the Vineyard, but the ritzy White side of the island – a point that is driven home to, once again, clarify that these are rich folks. Rounding out the cast is Condola Rashad in the role of Cheryl.

Overall, the cast does an excellent job, working with extremely well-written material. Hill starts out a bit stiff, but as the play progresses, he seems to ease into the rhythm. Phifer, too, at times seems stiff, but seems to have a firmer grasp. Santiago-Hudson plays his role with such ease, one would think he had played Joe LeVay for years, not days. Benton, on the other hand, has played the role of Kimber before and it shows. In what would stereotypically be a formulaic role (she’s the white girlfriend), Benton fleshes out her character, making her quite different than popular culture has taught us to expect from such a role. The heart of the play, however, is the duality of Thoms’ and Rashad’s characters, both outsiders; one trying to fit in and the other not already there. Both women give bravura performances, one hyperactive and the other nuanced.

Race matters are bandied about, but this play is primarily about class and identity. Look no further than the tone used when speaking to Cheryl (the daughter of the family’s long-time maid). Both Joseph and Flip are clear on the hierarchy when addressing her and poor Taylor cannot seem to get it right and comes across condescending even when she thinks she’s trying to be helpful. And, even more clearly, each character clarifies their invisibility, their lack of identity. Joe is living in his wife’s family’s home, and well-aware that it will never be known as “the LeVay House.” Kent could stand on his head and recite the entirety of “Gray’s Anatomy” and his dad wouldn’t care. Taylor’s dad pretty much ignored her from the time she came out of the womb. Cheryl, too, was ignored from childhood. Everyone is trying to find his/her voice. At times the play evokes thoughts of Ellison’s Invisible Man and his struggle for relevance.

It’s refreshing to see a story about a black family that – while still drama-filled and engaging – does not embrace the clichés that have been force-fed to us and now have become the expected. Perry’s Madea would have no place with these characters: they understand the power of nuance. Things that would, in other, less capable hands, be gratuitous or clumsily handled, are dealt with in a deftness that really makes one appreciate the intelligence of the theatre. And, wish that television and film would take notes.

Go see Stick Fly. You will enjoy it. More than likely, it will resonate.

http://youtu.be/Iw7a9iDyJgs

09/11/2011

B2: Review: Lillias White At Aaron Davis Hall

Greetings Community,

I’m thrilled to announce that we have added a new member to the B2: Productions team.  Joseph Riley Land is our new blogger.  I will of course continue to write the email blasts about upcoming shows etc. but Joseph will be handling the blog aspect and writting about your various shows.  So if you have an upcoming event/show and would like to have it reviewed and/or covered  for our subscribers please reach out to me and we will make it happen.  So with that in mind, here is the first contribution by Joseph Riley Land…enjoy…and see you all behind the lights!

As Always,

Kevin-Anthony

 

I’m going to admit my ignorance. I went to Aaron Davis Hall Friday night knowing only one thing about the featured performer, Lillias White, and that was that she is a Tony Award winner. All of that changed during the course of the ninety-minute show that ran through roughly a dozen songs and not one, not two, but three – yes, three – standing ovations. From a New York audience. I was impressed. I was also her “Big Fat Daddy,” but we’ll get to that in a minute. The show started out with White introducing the band and very graciously thanking everyone for being there.

She then proceeded to pay tribute – pour libations – to “those who have moved on,” listing names of performers who have passed in recent years, then asking the audience to join in. From there she moved into a collection of songs that ranged from covers of Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson to classic Broadway show tunes.

At times bawdy, at times humble, White worked the stage – and the audience – like the veteran she is. She danced. She did high kicks that would make half the Rockettes jealous. She showed out. And then, then came… Irene Reid’s “Big Fat Daddy.” I saw it the second she started the song. She was singing to me, looking me squarely in the eyes. She moved around the stage, singing, dancing, shaking, shimmying, doing all of the things a lady does when she sings a song about a man who gets her going. She traded her mic for a cordless one, came to the front of the stage, standing directly in front of me and said, “Come here.” What’s a reviewer to do but comply?

After her first standing O, White moved back to the stage, and tore into more classics. It’s easy to see (and hear) why this woman has an Emmy and a Tony on her mantle (not to mention the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards). As the kick-off performance of the season, the folks at Aaron Davis Hall couldn’t have chosen a better performance. The theater was packed, the audience enthralled and Miss White picked up at least one new fan.

02/11/2011

Two Great Artists….Two Great Shows!

Greetings Community,

I’m so excited to let you know, if you don’t already, and remind you if you do about two incredible shows.  Tony Award Winner Ms. Lillias White will bring her outstanding talents to Aaron Davis Hall in concert on Friday, November 4th, 2011 followed by Broadway’s Chester Gregory & Friends with special guest Jared Grimes rocking out The Traid on Monday, November 7th, 2011.  Mark your calendars for two great nights of music.  These are two of Broadway’s finest so let’s show them our love and support.  How you ask….good question… purchase your tickets in advance, forward this to your individual email lists and post to your social networks; facebook, twitter, tumblr etc.  I know that it would mean alot to both of them to have your support and to see you in the house.  It would make me happy too…fyi….so see you all behind the lights!

As Always,

Kevin-Anthony

 

 ……………….
 
I told you that there would be some surprises at Chester’s show on Monday, well we have just added some excited Artists to the bill:
 
Broadway’s Joshua Henry
(The Wiz, Scottsborro Boy’s, American Idiot)
 
Broadway, Film & Recording Artist Sasha Allen
(Whistle Down The Wind,  Hair and the movie Camp)
 
Television, Film & Broadway Artist Chaz Shepherd
(Star Search, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls) 
 
 
 
Tony Award Winner Ms. Lillias White
(Barnum, The Life, Once On This Island, Chicago,  Dreamgirls, FELA)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

28/10/2011

A Night Of MUSIC w/ Chester Gregory and Friends!

Filed under: B. Slade,B2: Hotlist!,Broadway,Kimberly Nichole,Uncategorized — b2productions @ 5:14 pm

 

 

 

 

Greetings Community,

I’m so excited to let you know that Chester Gregory with be performing at The Triad on Monday November 7th in “A Night Of Music with Chester Gregory and Friends”.  This is going to be a great night and I know you want to be sure to be in the house.  Special guest for the evening is the extraordinary Jared Grimes….and from what I’m told there will be other surprise guests in store and knowing Chester they will be well worth the wait.  So I hope that you will  join me on Monday, November 7th, 2011 9:30pm at the Triad Theater on W. 72nd.  And if you can’t make it please tell a friend…better yet, post this on your social networks and let’s tear the roof off of the Triad!  See you all behind the lights!

As Always,

Kevin-Anthony

Here’s a special invite from Chester Gregory:

06/10/2011

Chester Gregory Releases New Game APP

Filed under: B. Slade,B2: Hotlist!,Broadway,Kimberly Nichole,Uncategorized — b2productions @ 9:37 pm

Greetings Community

Recording Artist and Broadway Star CHESTER GREGORY presently starring in Whoopi Goldberg’s Broadway production of “SISTER ACT” along with Entertainment Entrepreneur Ryan Glen are hosting a VIP Launch Party for their UnWord Mobile App game “UNWORD” on Sunday, October 16th, 2011 at Nectar Wine Bar in the Heart of Harlem.

“UNWORD” is a highly addictive word puzzle game. The concept is simple, you are given a word and must make as many words out of that one word as possible. Each new word is assigned points based on their complexity, the more difficult the word the higher the point value. This allows you to challenge yourself and be creative all in one and makes gameplay interactive for all ages.

Join us @ Nectar Wine Bar in Harlem on Sunday, Oct. 16th, 2011 7:30pm – 9:30pm and be one of the first to experince the excitement of this new word game.

7-30pm – 9:30pm Cash bar all other beverages

Available in the Apple App Store soon!

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