Listen to Side Show: Who Will Love Me As I Am?



Emily Padgett and Erin Davie as the Hilton Sisters (attached twins and vaudeville performers) sing “Who Will Love Me As I Am” from Side Show, a musical that begins performances on Broadway at the St. James Theater on October 28, 2014.

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The New Cinderella and Evil Stepmother: Keke Palmer and Sherri Shepherd


Keke Palmer, the 21-year-old actress and singers still best known for her starring role in the movie Akeelah and the Bee, has become the new Ella (aka Cinderella) in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which has announced it will close on January 3, 2015.

Sherri Shepherd, who was one of the co-hosts on the ABC daytime talk show The View for seven seasons, is the new Madame (i.e. evil stepmother.) Both are making their Broadway debuts.
Click on any photograph above to see it enlarged.

This Is Our Youth Broadway Reviews and Photos

All three stars – Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and the 18-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson –   are making their Broadway debuts, as is playwright Kenneth Lonergan, in the revival of “This Is Our Youth,” opening tonight directed by Anna D. Shapiro at the Cort Theater through January 4.

When the play was first produced, Off-Broadway in 1996, it was already an exercise in slacker nostalgia. Taking place in an apartment on the Upper West Side in 1982, it focuses on hip Dennis, nerd Warren, who has just stolen $15,000 from his abusive father, and Jessica, the fashion student Warren hopes to seduce. When the revival ran at Steppenwolf in Chicago this summer, Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones called it a shrewdly cast, “strikingly funny and textured production,” but wondered how it would play in the less intimate setting of a Broadway house.

What do the New York critics think of it?

Ben Brantley, New York Times: “The acrobatics being performed in Anna D. Shapiro’s sensational, kinetically charged revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s “This Is Our Youth,”which opened on Thursday night in a marijuana haze at the Cort Theater, aren’t anything like those you’d find at the Cirque du Soleil. But they’re every bit as compelling, and probably (painfully) a whole lot closer to your own experience….[The director] knows how to scale up intimate confrontations to Broadway dimensions without losing nuance. Under her direction, “Youth” becomes more explosively physical than I recalled it, a ballet of gracefully clumsy collisions.”

Linda Winer, Newsday: “Thanks to the playwright’s meticulously hand-picked insights and Anna D. Shapiro’s tight yet seemingly easygoing direction, we somehow feel we have spent a couple of amusing and ultimately painful hours with an entire world of offstage parents, drug dealers and friends of friends….Ultimately, each of the [three] lost children has a monologue that asks questions so interesting that we wish we could watch them grow up.”

Mark Kennedy Associated Press: “….directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who knows her way around onstage arguments (“August: Osage County”) and movie stars (James Franco in “Of Mice and Men”). She keeps this revival fresh and electric, crackling with energy even as the stoned get more stoned.…Cera’s Warren is gloriously unpolished, a guy with his hand permanently stuffed into a pants pocket and a collection of toy memorabilia. He moves jerkily, as if he’s uncomfortable in his own skin…Culkin, with his flippy haircut and polo shirt, is smarmy ’80s perfection….Gevinson walks into this drug-fueled morass with an innocence, integrity and sincerity that’s refreshing.”

David Cote, Time Out New York: “The word plot should be used loosely. As always with Lonergan, the murky-jerky inner worlds of his articulate, life-stalled characters drive the action….Anna D. Shapiro’s clear-eyed and tight staging brings out earnest, honest performances from the young trio. Cera’s facial deadpan and vocal drone have the curious effect of deepening, not lessening, our sympathy for Warren. Culkin gets to shine in the flashier role, and Gevinson toggles amusingly between prim ingenue and panicked urbanite. They’re nice kids; I think they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.”

Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly: B+ “Culkin is sensational as Dennis, a talkative schemer whose occasional stumbles in no way impede his innate sense of self-confidence. Cera is nearly as strong as Warren, a willfully quirky boy who collects action figures and vintage toasters and who endures Dennis’ poetic rants of invective against him like a pound puppy who craves attention no matter what form it takes….At 18, Gevinson is closer to her character’s age than her castmates—but she can seem less at ease on stage for reasons that have nothing to do with Jessica’s natural discomfort hanging out in a strange apartment with a virtual stranger”

Robert Kahn, WNBC:” In spite of it all, I walked out of the two-acter curiously unfulfilled. The play rarely feels relatable, and I’m afraid it’s mostly an issue with Cera, the talented “Juno” and “Superbad” star who here steps into a role quite similar to that of George Michael, the awkward man-boy he played on “Arrested Development.” That’s the rub—I think Warren would be better cast with an actor who’s got more range….This Is Our Youth” comes to life whenever Culkin—31, but playing a character a decade younger—is on stage.”

Robert Hofler The Wrap: “How much does Judd Apatow owe to Kenneth Lonergan’s 1996 play, “This Is Our Youth”…The play has so many elements that were to become Apatow hallmarks: the awkward teenage sex (“Freaks and Geeks”), the vintage toy collection (“The 40 Year-Old Virgin”), the slacker abode (“Knocked Up”), and, of course, the drugs (all of the above). Lonergan was there first to document that odd, unnamed territory between school and a real life, which for his 25-year-old-ish character Dennis (Kieran Culkin in a Broadway debut that’s a career breakthrough) may never arrive despite such remarkable potential….”

Matt Windman, AM New York:  “Chekhov meets Gossip Girl…There’s no escaping the fact that Cera is giving a performance that closely mirrors his nervous nice guy persona from “Arrested Development” and “Superbad.” Even so, it suits his character and he brings plenty of laughs. The 18-year-old Gevinson, who has terrific rapport with Cera, vigorously conveys Jessica’s suspicious nature. Culkin displays greater range as Dennis, who embodies cocky 1980s materialism, seeing himself as an entrepreneur.”


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Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

Listed below, chronologically by opening dates, are the shows officially scheduled so far on Broadway in the 2014-2015 season, with basic information and my two cents for the Fall shows. Both the schedule and my opinions are tentative and will be revised and updated as the season progresses.

You want stars, pick your favorite: Hugh Jackman, Glenn Close, Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, Carol Burnett even, etc.  You want revivals, you got them – nine of the 15 set to open from September through December.  But there is also here the promise of a quality season.

( Click for a rundown on long-running Broadway shows)

(Click here for the Off-Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide)


ouryouthlogoThis is Our Youth

Cort Theater

Playwright: Kenneth Lonergan

Director: Anna D. Shapiro

First preview: August 18, 2014

Opening: September 11

Closing: January 4, 2015

Principal cast: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Tavi Gevinson.

48 hours in the live of three teenagers in 1982, one of whom has stolen cash from his father.

This is a revival. There were productions Off-Broadway in 1996 and 1998

One Chicago critic liked this production when it was in try-outs there, but wondered if the Cort will be too big for it. Lonergan wrote one of my favorite movies, “You Can Count On Me,” but find the plays of his I’ve seen (The Starry Messenger) painfully meandering.

Twitter: @YouthBroadway

Love Letters

loveletterslogoBrooks Atkinson Theater

First preview: September 13

Opening: September 18

Closing: February 1, 2015

Playwright: A.R. Gurney

Director: Gregory Mosher

In a revival of A.R. Gurney’s play, two people write one another love letters over a period of 50 years.

The play features a star-studded rotating cast on the following schedule:

Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow (September 13-October 10)

Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy (October 11-November 7)

Alan Alda and Candice Bergen (November 8-December 5)

Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg (December 6-January 9)

Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen (January 10-February 1).

This is a charming play, that I’ve seen in previous productions. (It was on Broadway in 1989.) If this production can be said to indulge in stunt-casting (and what else would you call it?) it’s stunt casting of the very highest order. My only regret is that they didn’t cast just one pair of younger performers, like, say, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson

Twitter: @LoveLettersBway

canttakeitwithyoulogoYou Can’t Take It With You

Longacre Theater

First preview: August 26

Opening: September 28

Closing: January 4, 2015

Playwrights: George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

Director:  Scott Ellis

Cast: James Earl Jones, Kristine Nielsen and Elizabeth Ashley lead a cast of nearly two dozen.

Two families (one deeply eccentric) collide when their children become engaged.

First produced on Broadway in 1936, this comedy (by the writing team that was the subject of the play Act One last season), is now on its fifth revival.

Twitter: @CantTakeItBway


CountryhouselogoThe Country House

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

First preview: September 9

Opening: October 2

Closing: December 9

Playwright: Donald Margulies

Director: Daniel Sullivan

Principal cast: Blythe Danner leads a six-member cast.

An adaptation by Margulies (Dinner With Friends) of Chekhov’s The Seagull focuses on a family of thespians who gather in a house in the Berkshires during the Williamstown theater festival.


dognighttimelogoThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Ethel Barrymore Theater

First preview: September 10

Opening: October 5

Playwright: Simon Stephens adapting the novel by Mark Haddon

Director: Marianne Elliott

Fifteen-year-old Christopher, clinically awkward and brilliant, is suspected of killing the neighbor’s dog. He sets out on a life-changing journey to find the culprit.

This stage adaptation of a peculiarly-written novel I loved by Mark Haddon was well-received in London, winning 7 Olivier Awards (equalling the previous record-breaking Matilda.) It was especially praised for its design. The director and the designers are the same on Broadway, it is still a Royal National Theatre production, but the cast is different.


onlyaplaylogoIt’s Only A Play

First preview: August 28

Opening: October 9

Closing: January 4, 2015

Playwright: Terrence McNally

Director: Jack O’Brien

Cast: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick. F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint, Megan Mullally and Micah Stock.

Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes, including one intermission.

The cast of a show called “The Golden Egg” await the reviews in this revival of Terrence McNally’s 1982 comedy, which is likely to be most appreciated for its cast — especially the reunited duo Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, as well as the Broadway debut of Harry Potter veteran Rupert Grint.


onthetownlogoOn The Town

Lyric Theater (formerly Foxwoods)

First preview: September 20

Opening: October 16

Lyrics by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Music by: Leonard Bernstein

Book by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Director: John Rando

Principal cast: Clyde Alves, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tony Yazbeck

Three sailors spend a day on leave in New York City, meeting some great dames.

I have high hopes for this production, which features great choreography by Joshua Bergasse (based on the glimpses we’ve been given, in videos, in reports from pre-Broadway tryouts, and at Broadway in Bryant Park), and such standards as “New York, New York (It’s a Wonderful Town)” “Come Up to My Place” and “Lonely Town,” as well as some jazzy surprises like “I Can Cook Too.”



First preview: September 27

Opening: October 23

Playwright: Ayad Akhtar

Director: Kimberly Senior

Cast: Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol, Karen Pittman and Josh Radnor.

Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Pakistani-American lawyer Amir and his white, artist wife Emily gives a dinner party that starts off friendly and turns ugly.

The play, Akhtar’s first, was produced at Lincoln Center in 2012, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


lastshiplogoThe Last Ship

Neil Simon Theater

First preview: September 30

Opening: October 26

Lyrics and Music: Sting

Book: John Logan and Brian Yorkey

Director: Joe Mantello

Gideon leaves his hometown to travel the world, returning 14 years later to discover that the love he left behind is engaged to somebody else, and the town’s shipbuilding industry is endangered.

The show is said to be inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences.


realthingpiclogoThe Real Thing

American Airlines Theater

First preview: October 2

Opening: October 30

Closing: January 4

Playwright: Tom Stoppard

Director: Sam Gold

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Cynthia Nixon

Henry is a successful writer who is attempting to balance his professional and personal lives in this comedy about marriage and betrayal.

McGregor and Gyllenhaal are both making their Broadway debuts in this second Broadway revival of Stoppard’s play.



theriverlogoThe River

Circle in the Square Theater

First preview: October 31

Opening: November 16

Closing: January 25

Playwright: Jez Butterworth

Director: Ian Rickson

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Laura Donnelly, Cush Jumbo

Running time: 80 minutes with no intermission

A trout fisherman in a remote cabin tries to hook a woman into some night-time fishing.

Two words: Hugh Jackman.


sideshowlogoSide Show

St. James Theater

First preview: October 28

Opening: November 17

Lyrics by: Bill Russell

Music by: Henry Kreiger

Book by: Bill Russell with additional material by Bill Condon

Director: Bill Condon

Principal cast: Erin Davie, Emily Padgett

The Hilton twins, Daisy and Violet, were in real life conjoined twins who were trained by their guardians to become performers, and became the highest paid performers on the vaudeville circuit. “Side Show” purports to tell their story.

This “reimagined” revival of the 1997 musical was well-received in D.C., and is one of the most anticipated shows of the season, hugely leading (as of this writing) my Broadway Fall 2014 preference poll


delicatebalancelogoA Delicate Balance

John Golden Theater

Playwright: Edward Albee

Director: Pam MacKinnon

First preview: October 20

Opening: November 20

Closes: February 22

Running time: 2 hours and 55 minutes, including 2 intermissions

Cast: Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Claire Higgins and Martha Plimpton.

A long-married couple must maintain their equilibrium as over the course of a weekend they welcome home their 36-year old daughter after the collapse of her fourth marriage, and give shelter to their best friends who seek refuge in their home, all the while tolerating Agnes’ alcoholic live-in sister.

The Edward Albee-Pam MacKinnon match-up, which brought us the priceless recent Broadway production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” promises to do justice with another one of the playwright’s caustic Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpieces (despite the ugly poster.)


illusionistslogoThe Illusionists

Marquis Theater

First preview: November 26

Opening: December 4, 2014

Closes: January 4, 2015


The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin

The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry

The Trickster, Jeff Hobson

The Escapologist, Andrew Basso

The Inventor, Kevin James

The Warrior, Aaron Crow

The Futurist, Adam Trent

Seven illusionists perform magic and illusion. Broadway is a stop on their world tour.


The Elephant Man

theelephantmanlogoBooth Theater

First preview: November 7

Opening: December 7

Closes: February 15

Playwright: Bernard Pomerance

Director: Scott Ellis

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Alessandro Nivola, Anthony Heald, Scott Lowell, Kathryn Meisle, Henry Stram

Running time: one hour 55 minutes, including intermission.

Based on the true story of John Merrick, a horribly deformed man in the 19th century who was treated abominably.

This second Broadway revival of the 1979 play gives movie hearthrob Bradley Cooper a chance to show his inner beauty. (The deformity is not actually depicted. The audience is asked to imagine it.)


A peek at Spring 2015, which is even more tentative than the fall. I’ll flesh it out in the future. This is, as they say, a work in progress:



Samuel J. Friedman Theater

Playwright: Nick Payne

Director: Michael Longhurst

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal

First preview: December 16

Opening January 13, 2015

Closes: March 15

honeymooninvegaslogoHoneymoon in Vegas

Nederlander Theater

Music and Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown

Book: Andrew Bergman

Director: Gary Griffin

First preview: November 18

Opening: January 15

Cast: Tony Danza, Rob McClure, Byrnn O’Malley

Jack Singer, a regular guy with an extreme fear of marriage, finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. But when they head to Las Vegas to get hitched, smooth talking gambler Tommy Korman, looking for a second chance at love, falls head over heels for Betsy.



Fish in the Dark

Opening March 5

The Audience

Opening March 8

On The Twentieth Century

Opening March 12

Finding Neverland

Opening March 22


An American in Paris

Opening April 12

The King and I

Opening: April 16

Fun Home

Opening: April 22

Airline Highway

Opening April 23

Broadway Poll Fall 2014: What Show Most Excites You?

There are 15 shows scheduled to open on Broadway between September and December, 2014 (as of this writing). Take this poll: Which one are you most looking forward to?

The shows are organized in the order in which they are scheduled to open.

To learn more about the shows, check out my Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

Andrew Rannells Begins As Hedwig

AndrewRannellsinHedwigAndrew Rannells replaces Neil Patrick Harris in the lead role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch tonight (August 20th) through October 12th. Harris won a Tony for his portrait of the “girlyboy from communist East Berlin” (in the words of the rock musical) who became “the internationally ignored song stylist barely standing before you.”


“I love that Hedwig is so strong but also so vulnerable,” Rannells has said, “and I love that she is so funny but also so hurt and sensitive. I just love all her contradictions.”

book-of-mormon-3Rannells, a native of Nebraska who will celebrate his 36th birthday on August 23rd, broke into Broadway at 28 as the replacement for slick dj Link Larkin  in “Hairspray,” went on to portray Bob Gaudio in “Jersey Boys,” but really made his mark in 2011 originating the role of Elder Price in “The Book of Mormon,” a performance that snagged him a Tony nomination.

Lena Dunham attended the opening night of Mormon, and cast him as Elijah, Hannah’s bisexual ex-boyfriend in “Girls,” a part he continues to play. He was also cast in “The New Normal” as Bryan, one-half a gay couple who have decided to have a child, a TV series that was canceled after a single season.

If in taking on Hedwig, Rannells may struck some as trying on a completely different character from the ones he’s done in the past, the truth is, he’s already portrayed Hedwig – in a production in Austin in 2002.

Here is Andrew Rannells performing I Believe from the Book of Mormon on the 2011 Tony Awards broadcast

Here is Andrew Rannells performing with Neil Patrick Harris in the 2013 Tony Awards broadcast (along with Megan Hilty and Laura Benanti)

Hedwig & the Angry Inch Belasco Theatre

Mamma Mia in Bryant Park: Watch Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Etc.

Mamma Mia opened on Broadway in 2001, just a few months after the first Broadway in Bryant Park, a weekly summer series of free lunch-time concerts featuring current Broadway casts. Cast members from the popular jukebox musical have appeared on the Bryant Park stage regularly, and 2014 was no exception.

The Winner Takes It All

Mamma Mia

Dancing Queen


On The Town at Broadway in Bryant Park

OnTheTownatBryantParkCast members from the new revival of the musical “On The Town” presented three songs in the last Broadway in Bryant Park lunch-time concert of this summer.

Tony Yazbeck and two understudies, Brandon Leffler and Cody Williams, sang “New York, New York,” the best-known song from the 1944 musical written by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green:

Alysha Umphress (five-time Broadway veteran, starting with American Idiot), who plays Hildy Esterhazy, sang “I Can Cook Too”

Tony Yazbeck (eight-time Broadway veteran, including two different productions of Gypsy), portrays Gabey, one of the three sailors on shore leave in New York City, looking for love and adventure. He sang “Lucky To Be Me”

“On The Town” grew out of the Jerome Robbins ballet Fancy Free, about three sailors on leave in New York. Its fourth Broadway production, directed by John Rando (Urinetown, A Christmas Story), will start performance September 20th at the newly named Lyric Theater (which was most recently named the Foxwoods), and is scheduled to open officially on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

So You Think You Can Dance + On The Town = New York, New York

Joshua Bergasse, former choreographer of Smash, future choreographer of On The Town on Broadway, this week's choreographer for SYTYCD.

Joshua Bergasse, former choreographer of Smash, future choreographer of On The Town on Broadway, this week’s choreographer for SYTYCD.

The cast of the forthcoming Broadway revival of “On The Town” joined with the top 20 in season 11 of So You Think You Can Dance for this thrilling opening number, choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, “New York, New York” – the one with the lyrics “the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down.”

This is not the only connection between the Broadway revival and SYTYCD. The winner of the TV show will get a chance to join the Broadway company.

“On the Town” begins September 20 at the Lyric Theater.

Here’s a commercial for the show:

Holler If Ya Hear Me Review: Tupac Shakur On Broadway

Eighteen years after his murder at the age of 25, Tupac Shakur has made it to Broadway, in a show that has taken on the awesome challenge of weaving 21 songs and poems by the charismatic rapper and actor into a newly created story about the struggling community on a block in a Midwestern industrial city.

If “Holler If Ya Hear Me” is not your standard jukebox musical, this is because Shakur’s musical idiom was gangster rap, and the new book for the musical by Todd Kreidler tries to construct a narrative that does justice to Shakur’s themes and perspectives,  presenting decent people under indecent pressures.

Despite a conscientious effort, the story is what is most disappointing about “Holler.”  Some will be unhappy that it is not about Tupac Shakur. (Reportedly, the production could not get hold of the rights to his life story, even though Shakur’s mother is one of the producers.)  The multi-character plot that replaces the expected bio-drama is at times muddled or poorly paced, and feels no fresher and less moving than a one-sided “West Side Story.”

Yet, there are enough arresting moments, the music is often exciting enough, and the large cast is talented enough, to have made me wonder while I was watching the show, whether  it would have worked better without a plot – like the “choreopoems” of Ntozake Shange’s “For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf “

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged





John Caviness (Saul Williams) is a self-taught cartoonist who we first see suspended in mid-air in a jail cell, wearing the familiar orange prison jumpsuit.  (It’s one of the few scenic design flourishes in a deliberately drab and empty industrial set.) Once released from jail, he goes back to the old neighborhood, determined to keep to himself and stay out of trouble. He gets a job at a local garage and towing service,  which is run by Griffy (Ben Thompson.) John stays away from his childhood friend Vertus (Christopher Jackson), the local drug dealer – and even from Corinne (Saycon Sengbloh), who was John’s girlfriend, and is now Vertus’s.

But then Benny gets killed. Benny was Griffy’s partner – both dreamed of escaping to California – and Vertus’ younger brother.

John wants no part of the revenge that the others are planning – until suddenly he does. Is it because his first paycheck from Griffy’s garage was too low? That’s what it seems to be. In any case, his change of mind leads to the  title song, performed right before the intermission — thrilling in its beat and in the dancing that accompanies it. (Although the choreographer is Wayne Cilento – Wicked, How To Succeed, etc. etc. — there is, oddly, relatively little dancing in the show – and only a brief interval of breakdancing.)

Eventually, John changes his mind again – and Vertus changes his mind as well, both deciding that revenge will get them nowhere.

In the meantime, John and Corinne appear to have a rapprochement, at least long enough to have a lovely duet, Unconditional Love.

California Love is performed by the ensemble around a purple Cadillac (with just a suggestion of a number out of  “Hands on a Hardbody“)

2Pac purists might be disappointed (if not outraged) by the new arrangements and repurposing of some of his songs, but most theatergoers will find this clever reworking to be among the highlights of the musical. For example, “I Get Around,” a testosterone-fueled boasting rap is paired with “Keep Ya Head Up” delivered by Sengbloh and the other women, which includes the lyrics:

And since we all came from a woman

Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?

I think it’s time to kill for our women

Time to heal our women, be real to our women

And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies That will hate the ladies, that make the babies

 These lyrics makes less sense being sung by a woman than by a man, but it works in the context of the staging.

Williams, a well-known slam poet, singer and writer making his Broadway debut, is an inspired choice for a leading man; he comes off as authentically fierce and philosophical (even when his character’s behavior is incoherent.)  The fabulous Tonya Pinkins as Vertus’ mother is criminally underused, but almost makes the entire show worthwhile with her duet with Jackson as her son, Resist The Temptation/Dear Mama. This is Christopher Jackson’s sixth show on Broadway. He’s a true pro, and gives a fine performance in “Holler If Ya Hear Me.” It’s not his fault that I kept thinking of his performance as Benny in “In The Heights,” a show that put rap on Broadway far more effectively.


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