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Our Lady of 121st Street
Our Lady of 121st Street is playing at the Signature Theatre located at 480 West 42nd Street. It runs two hours with one intermission. The play closes on June 10, 2018.
Phylicia Rashad is the director. She is known for her role as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Phylicia won a Tony Award for A Raisin in the Sun (2004) and was nominated for a Tony Award for Gem of the Ocean (2005)
Stephen Adly Guirgis is the playwright. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2015 for Between Riverside and Crazy.
The place is in and around the Ortiz Funeral Home, Harlem.
We see a casket with the pillows up. Victor (John Procaccino) is upset and screaming, he has no pants on. Balthazar (Joey Auzenne), comes in and introduces himself. He is a police officer. Victor tells him the decease is Sister Rose and her body is missing.
During the day he tells Balthazar there were strange people viewing the body. Balthazar tells him to come with him, to talk and find him a pair pants.
To the left is a table and chairs, it turns around and it is a confessional box. Father Lux (John Doman) is talking to Rooftop (Hill Harper). Rooftop hasn’t been to confession in thirty years. He goes on and on without telling him his sins. Father Lux is getting frustrated. He lost his legs from the knees down in the Korean War and is a wheelchair. We do find out Rooftop is womanizer. He leaves the confessional not finishing confession.
Flip (Jimonn Cole) and Gail (Kevin Isola) are gay lovers. Flip doesn’t want the people in the neighborhood to know he is gay. He tells him to say that they colleagues.
To the right is a large lounge it turns around and it is a bar.
Inez (Quincy Tyler Bernstine) and Nora (Paola Lazaro) are drinking. Inez said she has enough of her husband cheating on her. She’s glad he is out of her life. It seems Nora was her friend and had an affair with her husband
Back in the funeral home Edwin (Erick Batancourt) is there with his brother Pinky (Maki Borden). He is mentally challenged. They smoke in the room when they shouldn’t be. Edwin sends Pinky to get some snacks. When he leaves Marcia (Stephanie Kurtzuba) comes in complaining about the smell of smoke. She asks Edwin to open the window, bits it too late as she has an asthma attack.
The last scene is in the bar with Inez and Nora. At the table to the left is Sonia (Dierdre Friel). She is about to eat the French fries in front of her when Nora questions how she knows Sister Rose. Inez sits down beside and her and helps herself to the fries.
In Act 2 we learn more about the characters. They all grew up in the neighborhood and had Sister Rose was there teacher. Maria is they only one to have a negative thing to say about her.
The first act is good. I liked the second act better because everything comes together.
The cast does an outstanding job. Hill Harper, Maki Borden and Quincy Tyler Berstine were awesome in their roles.
Walt Spangler did an amazing set.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.