Already closed | 2h 30m | Midtown W

Blues for An Alabama Sky

From 92 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

About the show

Keen Company presents a revival of this drama set in 1930s New York, where four friends' lives and passions collide when an innocent newcomer arrives from Alabama.  More…

From the show:

Tough times call for strong bonds. It’s the summer of 1930 and the promises of the Harlem Renaissance are giving way to the dashed dreams of the Great Depression. Playwright Pearl Cleage (Flyin’ West and Oprah Book Club selection What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day) tells a strikingly modern story about four friends whose lives and passions collide when an innocent newcomer from Alabama arrives in New York. Having captivating audiences around the world, Keen is proud to bring Blues for An Alabama Sky to New York for the first time since its premiere in Atlanta 25 years ago. Starring Prema Cruz, Alfie Fuller, John-Andrew Morrison, Khira Walker, and Sheldon Woodley.

Keen Conversation talkbacks on February 27th, March 5th, and March 12th. Accessible performances on February 23rd, February 28th, and March 12th.

2h 30m | Already closed | Theatre Row Complex (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (92)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking
86
Avg Score

83
Great acting, Refreshing, Thought-provoking

See it if Heavy issues but thought provoking and well acted. A tad long, but engaging.

Don't see it if You prefer light and fluffy.

88
Melodramatic, Well developed, Intelligent, Funny, Absorbing

See it if Act 1: deliciously long buildup of characters with wit, irony & insight. Act 2: melodramatic explosion & satisfying ending. Great acting.

Don't see it if You aren't up for a 2 1/2 hour old-style period piece with a lot of attention to characters & setting. You want a realistic conclusion.

Also (Spoiler alert) It's an old-fashioned style of play that is meticulous... Read more Read less

94
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing, Wrong show

See it if So so good. So much to think about. All 5 performers superb. Perfect theater for this intimate work

Don't see it if Sorry no negatives for us.

81
Riveting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy plays about the African-American experience & Harlem Renaissance, stories about racism & homophobia, evocative acting

Don't see it if Not interested in the African-American experience of the 30’s, want a comedy and not a tragic tale, don’t like themes of racism, homophobia

92
Great acting ensemble, Riveting, Masterful, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if you want to see an old-fashioned play that is timely. This play is very well constructed. Great introduction to the writing of Pearl Cleage.

Don't see it if 2.5 hours is too long for you to sit.

Also This play has great characters, great dialogue, and terrific set, ligh... Read more Read less

81
Must see, Great staging, Great acting, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy well acted shows by talented performers about a by-gone era that is still relevant today.

Don't see it if You don't like long first acts that do a lot of set up. You want a comedy.

69
Uneven acting, Good set, Dull, Disappointing

See it if you have nothing else to do.I found the first act interminable.Acting was ok, but no one really inhabited their roles.Story was ok, but....

Don't see it if you don't know someone in the cast.It should have had something to say about race in America. It didn't hit that note for me.

84
Intelligent, Refreshing, Great writing, Great acting

See it if great writing. contemporary yet had the feeling one was seeing a classic play. well acted and directed. hope this becomes a staple

Don't see it if want a big sweeping play. this is more intimate focusing on few characaters.

79
Old-fashioned storytelling, Great staging, Types, Long, Disappointing

See it if You'd like to see a character-driven play with old-fashioned structure and plotting; provides some sense of Harlem in the Depression.

Don't see it if You like plays that move at a crisp clip or are looking for new insights, rich layering of characters and plot. This one is a familiar.

Also The 'surprises' are plot-oriented, although all the set up is there. I... Read more Read less

80
Long, Relevant, Funny, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you want a glimpse of 1930 Harlem Renaissance period excellently portrayed by 5 characters tackling issues relevant to both then and now.

Don't see it if you don't like long plays, not interested in the 1930 Harlem Renaissance or topics of abortion and homosexuality.

100
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Outstanding in every way: stellar acting, marvelous writing, wonderful stage design! We loved every minute of it & will be back with friends

Don't see it if you are homophobic, believe in temperance or don't support abortion. But actually just see it anyway - it's relevant, then and now!

91
Must see, Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to enjoy a well acted play where you will learn about life in 1930s Harlem.

Don't see it if you prefer musicals or plays without intense dramatic plots.

85
Relevant, Great writing, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want a play set in 1930's Harlem that examines the consequences that come about based on the choices people make.

Don't see it if you want a light comedy.

90
Riveting, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you enjoy plays with such interesting characters, you’ll spend the subway ride home wondering what happened to them after the curtain fell.

Don't see it if It’s a bit too long, but I enjoyed spending time with these characters so much, it hardly mattered.

Also The costumes are gorgeous (except when they’re intentionally not suppo... Read more Read less

70
Intense

See it if If you want to experience a play where the characters are quite believable but somehow don't move you to say that this a play i would see

Don't see it if If you don't like gay characters or that you don't want to know about African-Americans during Harlem's renaissance

Also again.I enjoyed some parts of the play but there were characters that ... Read more Read less

84
Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if Talented ensemble presenting an under-appreciated playwright presenting characters and an era we seldom hear in American dramas.

Don't see it if You have tickets to Hamilton at the same time.

85
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy period pieces that spark your mind into thinking about the human psyche and what we desire most.

Don't see it if You dont like period pieces, you aren’t interested in 1930s Harlem, lgbt subject matter makes you uncomfortable.

Also This show was staged really well and also acted very well. It's a poig... Read more Read less

87
Relevant, Masterful, Great staging, Great acting, Exquisite

See it if You enjoy well acted dramas, with lots of sass, clever dialogue, surprising twists, and ageless topics.

Don't see it if You don't want to deal with adult topics or you prefer a comedy with singing and dancing.

86
Fun, Clever, Intelligent, Cheesy, Funny

See it if You love to see an all-black cast; you like melodrama; you like issue-driven drama; you like strong characters facing moral dilemmas.

Don't see it if You can't see past some over-stereotyped "types;" you insist on total historical accuracy; you are uncomfortable with black people.

80
Banal, Dated, Thought-provoking, Delightful, Great acting

See it if If you like well written plain good No nonsence drama. Good acting, not so preachy staging

Don't see it if If you looking for novelty in staging, acting or directing.

84
Relevant, Masterful, Absorbing

See it if you'd like to watch a show that reflects social and economic disparity.

Don't see it if you're expecting a lot of blues music.

82
Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if like stories that have stood up to the test of time brought to the stage with great acting.

Don't see it if you don't like plays that remind how we have come, and not come on social issues.

83
Intense, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you like well-made plays acted by a very talented cast and presented in a smashing production.

Don't see it if you are bothered by plot lines that lose credibility in the last ten minutes.

During previews
79
Strong ensemble, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Engrossing

See it if you're interested in 1930 Harlem Renaissance thru eyes of 5 chars. Many impt issues discussed (abortion, birth control, homosexuality, race)

Don't see it if you dislike slow exposition; Act I needs cuts! Staging's a bit fussy w opening doors. Still, insightful drama set in fascinating time/place.

During previews
74
Dated, Needs work, Disappointing, Slow, Great acting

See it if Exceptional performances all around!!

Don't see it if First act is REALLY slow & long & nothing really happens. Lack of a hook before intermission. All action is squeezed on the shorter 2nd act.

Also The major plus here are the performances. Great actors all.... Read more Read less


February 26th, 2020
"Review: Name-Dropping Harlem in ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’: The neighborhood is referrred to constantly, insistently, but doesn’t come to life in Pearl Cleage’s play about a nightclub singer from the 1930s."
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February 24th, 2020
"Men to Watch in 'Cambodian Rock Band', 'Blues for an Alabama Sky,' and 'The Headlands'"
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February 20th, 2020
"Engrossingly Old-Fashioned: Struggling New Yorkers get mixed up with a fresh-off-the-bus widower in Keen Company’s staging of Pearl Cleage’s play"
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February 21st, 2020
"Dreams Deferred and Fulfilled in 'Blues for an Alabama Sky': The Keen Company gives Pearl Cleage's 25-year-old play an overdue New York premiere."
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