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Broadway

Clyde’s Where Hope is Served Up With Heart and Soul

Clyde’s Where Hope is Served Up With Heart and Soul

Uzo Aduba, Kara Young, Ron Cephas, Edmund Donovan and Reza Salazar Photo by Joan Marcus

Ain’t nobody gonna hire us, and she knows it.

Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s is funny, bright, smart, heartbreaking and highly entertaining. Set in a truck stop diner in Pennsylvania, this is a rural nightmare version of Hell’s Kitchen. The Gordon Ramsey is Clyde (Uzo Aduba) who hires people who have been released from prison. She is their last hope and she lauds it over them with her long pointed finger nails, excessive wardrobe, fabulously designed by Jennifer Moeller and her fouler than foul temper. This is her domain and she lets everyone know it.

Reza Salazar, Kara Young Photo by Joan Marcus
My mama used to stick me with her
fingernail, kept it sharpened like a talon designed to
inflict maximum pain, and every so often she’d poke me just
to see if I’d cry.  And you know how I reacted?
Uzo Aduba, Ron Cephas Photo by Joan Marcus

Clyde looms over this pit and she pops out behind the refrigerator and the pass-through window, where the tickets are like messages of doom. Takeshi Kata’s set design gives director Kate Whoriskey miles of playroom for this delicious fun.

you here cuz you done run outta options, ain’t nobody gonna hire you except
for Clyde.  Especially you.  The way you is. Cuz if you
here, you done something.  We all done something. And we
just biding our time ‘til we can get to another place.
Reza Salazar, Kara Young, Ron Cephas and Edmund Donovan Photo by Joan Marcus

Here Letitia/ Tish (the powerful Kara Young), Rafael (the comedic Reza Salazar) the man who loves her, the newcomer Jason (the layered Edmund Donovan) and the zen Montrellous (the superb Ron Cephas Jones) survive. We learn what brought them here, what keeps them imprisoned in their lives, as they all become obsessed with making the perfect sandwich and getting Clyde to taste it. They are all down on their luck, looking for a second chance. Tish is a single mom caring for a sick child. Rafael longs to give and receive love and has a weakness for drugs to numb the pain. Jason’s story is a revelation, as is Montrellous, whose life is an inspiration.

This sandwich is my strength. This sandwich is my victory. This sandwich is my freedom.
Edmund Donovan, Reza Salazarm Photo by Joan Marcus

In the end, Clyde’s is about standing up for what you believe in, regaining what little power and humanity you have and claiming your spirituality.

Why you be so hard on us. You of all people know how tough it is to
get out. You know what we face down everyday. I mean,
fucking hell I can’t even walk down the street without
feeling like everyone’s hating on me. I wake up with my
chest so tight I can’t breathe.

This play is emotionally gratifying with a cast that is exceptional. Though Aduba is the star, this is an ensemble piece and the heartbeat is Ron Cephas Jones, but you can’t have good without evil and Aduba is the perfect demon for the job. You can’t have a play without conflict and souls to be saved and these are Young, Salazar and Donovan. There is nothing about this show that wasn’t perfectly done.

My negativity was legendary. I could pass blame like a magician. Everyone
was responsible for my unhappiness, but me. And that
darkness is still there, but now I can see that I can’t let
it or anybody get a hold of me. I’m being one hundred
percent serious. But, that hole’s pull-in’ atcha, and you
don’t even know it.  

Lynn Nottage’s words cut, burn and sizzle while making you laugh and cry. I found myself laughing out loud for the first hour and in tears for the last half hour. Nottage cleanses the soul.

This is a must see show and the perfect gift to give for the holiday season, as it is what the holidays should be about.

Can’t be afraid of the hard choices.

Second Stage Theater is partnering with Assemble Stream to offer simulcasts of its current Broadway production of Lynn Nottage’s play, Clyde’s, directed by Kate Whoriskey, for the final two weeks of its run, January 4 – 16, 2022, allowing theater fans who aren’t able to attend in person the opportunity to witness a live Broadway performance. Tickets are available at https://2st.assemblestream.com/ . Tickets are $59 and $30 to those ages 30 and under with code 30UNDER30. There are a limited number of tickets per performance.

Clyde’s: Second Stage production at the Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 W. 44th St. until January 16th.

Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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