Broadway

Broadway’s Ain’t No Mo’ is Totally Enough

Broadway’s Ain’t No Mo’ is Totally Enough

Say yes, bitch!” Exactly. Especially once the sound ministry gets it together and wakes up the mournful spectacularly in white. You see, the Right to Complain died back on that historic day in 2008, when that black man, Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of these United States. And the roof is raised high by that ministry, with all of that wailing and carrying on by a gaggle of mourners flinging forth with such enthusiasm in the first and foremost vignette from the satirical and devilishly funny Ain’t No Mo’ now playing on Broadway at the magnificent Belasco Theatre. This piece of surprising power that debuted back in 2019 at The Public Theater is stuffed solidly inside a laugh-out-loud flight of fancy written by an impressive Jordan E. Cooper (“The Ms. Pat Show“) that consistently shows its smart deep roots with every unveiling. As directed with a ferocious flash and a smart smile by Stevie Walker-Webb, a 2050 Fellow at NYTW and the founding artistic director of Waco, Texas’ Jubilee Theatre, the cast of 6, five passengers and the wildly inappropriate and utterly fantastic Peaches, played to the skies by playwright Cooper, feasts its eyes on the prize and delivers the goods with style and hilarity.

At first, it flails around in deliciously over-the-top camp within a sketch comedy television show structure that is as silly and fun as it is meaningful and deep. It quickly reveals its wickedly smart stance underneath the wild symbolic gesturing and jabs at all things, including transracial prejudice, abortion, police shootings of black men, and freedom. “Smell that“, is all she can ask, and we join in with that inhalation taking in all the various ideas put forward. The writing and the frameworks within are stitched on perfectly, detailing troubling times for race relations in America, especially when looking back at the previous occupation of the White House by that Orange Monster and his gang of KKK cronies. The fantastically talented cast, made up of: Fedna Jacquet (Daryl Roth’s Gloria); Marchánt David (Broadway’s The Great Society); Shannon Matesky (Steppenwolf’s The March); Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Broadway’s Chicken & Biscuits); and Crystal Lucas-Perry (Broadway’s 1776); find the exacting flavor to get in the last word. Each and everyone finding their moment to shine and unpack an ideal that will hang in our communal air waiting for us all to breath it in.

Marchant Davis (up front) with the cast of Broadway’s Ain’t No Mo’ Photo by Joan Marcus.

On a television variety show-like set, elevated by designer Scott Pask (Broadway’s The Prom), with outrageously detailed costuming by Emilio Sosa (Broadway’s Trouble in Mind), complex yet detailed lighting by Adam Honoré (CSC’s Carmen Jones), a solid sound design by Jonathan Deans (Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill) and Taylor Williams (Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!), and some stupendous wig designs by Mia M. Neal (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“), Ain’t No Mo’ rarely mist-fires, nor does it stumble over its self to make a point, especially now that the whole has been given a much deserved upgrade from coach to first class. Bravo.

The satire consistently stands upright and delivers the goods on those high heels. Cooper’s Peaches doesn’t “know easy“, but what the whole show seems to know is the truth. The scanner line of passengers waiting to board is a delicious minefield of astonishing detail, and alongside convict Blue, they push and pull forth idea after compelling idea with wise power, finding the funny in the pain and the disappointment in our current troubling situation. Happily, this flight was fully booked, and the crowd, enthusiastic. I’m forever thankful to have been given a ticket to fly once again. And don’t worry Peaches, I ain’t looking back.

Fedna Jacquet, Shannon Matesky, Marchant Davis, Crystal Lucas-Perry, and Ebony Marshall-Oliver in Broadway’s Ain’t No Mo Photo by Joan Marcus.

For more go tofrontmezzjunkies.com

Broadway
@#frontmezzjunkies

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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