Encores! Off-Center presents this 1971 musical, a celebration of African-American culture and community, directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Savion Glover (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk). More…
Originally conceived and directed by the first African-American woman to direct on Broadway, Vinnette Carroll, this radical work presents the issues of race politics in America and raises voices for change through a lively mix of song and dance with a score that includes gospel, jazz, soul, calypso, and rock.
“Entertaining enough to feel like a near-religious experience...This musical revue about the African-American experience has a moral center, which is evident before the curtain even rises...First of some two dozen songs, poems, and vignettes sets the tone for the rest of the 75-minute show – bemused and angry, but also amused, buoyant, and hopeful...For all the pointed lyrics threaded through the show, the takeaway tone is exuberance.” Full Review
“A propulsive evening of music and dance, one that speaks as much to the world of 2018 as it does the 1960s and '70s...Grant's music, played by a kickin' five-piece band, is a generous blend of styles her songs have the kind of rhythms that instantly make us dance in our seats, while her lyrics are intelligent and witty and so warm, without being overly symbolic and heavy...Glover's production is the kind of heart-stopping evening we rarely see these days." Full Review
“A musical steeped in the heavy and heady days of the civil rights movement of the early '70s...A loving revival impeccably directed and choreographed by Glover brings new relevance to this joyful song-and-dance revue that defines the black experience with everything from gospel to calypso to blues...Enormously talented cast...The dancing, from the Charleston to contemporary jazz, is spectacular throughout.” Full Review
"If there’s one thing Mr. Glover knows how to do, it’s move people around a stage...Aisha de Haas, Dayna Dantzler, Wayne Pretlow and James T. Lane have such incredible voices they should be household names. Marshall L. Davis Jr. didn’t sing a solo note, but his dancing was divine. He was smooth and elegant, loose but controlled. His tapping was extraordinary. But truthfully, I hesitate to single any one person out from the cast because they were all so good." Full Review
"Ms. Grant’s eclectic music is virtuosically ingratiating...Though the stage is in constant motion throughout, Mr. Glover forbears to knock our socks off or upstage the material with the pyrotechnics we know he is capable of...Not all of his staging concepts are convincing...But the overall effect is never less than delightful...And it is never less than instructive, too, about the way musicals, bookless or not, can turn even the saddest history into beauty." Full Review
"Has lost none of its relevance or punch...Savion Glover's direction and choreography tone down the showiness that often marks his solo performances in favor of taking advantage of the strengths of the cast members and meeting the needs of each of the scenes, which flow seamlessly from one to the next...You can go to see this show for its terrific cast...But if you really listen, you will leave with Micki Grant's powerful message ringing in your ears and tattooed to your heart." Full Review
“75 exuberant minutes...Glover, a preeminent theatrical diarist of the black experience, shepherds this concert mounting, infusing it with an ebullient and percussive energy that captures the spirit of the black power movement...Each song illuminates a different slice of black life...traversing a wide variety of musical styles...What is most striking is Ms. Grant’s prescience in tackling subjects like the gender wage gap and phenomenon of white flight.” Full Review
“Performed in segments, it all kind of gels, albeit with two exceptions: a supposed riot that apparently required participants to don a beret and the first part of the church segment which seemed to be going nowhere quickly but was soon revived in the segment’s second half...The entire ensemble was brilliant but two performers in particular – Aisha de Haas and Wayne Pretlow – merit special mention for the range and powerful rendering.” Full Review
"A celebration of African American culture and community...This production has been rearranged into a condensed one-act show, staying true to addressing a range of Black experiences from its original show with a few modern updates...The singing throughout the show was absolutely amazing!...The voices were so strong and soulful from the opening to the closing note. The dancing was a lot of fun to watch...Overall, I say a job well done!" Full Review
“A sassy and spirited rendering...The Encores! Off Center production, under the deft direction of Tony-Award winning Savion Glover...presented a talented cast singing and dancing the message of race politics in America with power and poignancy...The show is also an exuberant celebration of African-American culture and community. An excellent onstage orchestra provided live music...The choreography throughout the show in various styles was equally superb.” Full Review
“Despite updated references to Trayvon Martin, Roseanne Barr and the Obamas, and a significant knee-taking moment, the 75-minute presentation of blues, funk, gospel, calypso and spoken word, presents its themes with that very 1970s mixture of heart-on-sleeve sincerity and arch commentary...James T. Lane brings down the house with a passionate performance...Dayna Dantzler does lovely work." Full Review
See it if You love great singing, and dancing. I was not familiar with the play or its songs, but was still moved and entranced by it all
Don't see it if You don't like a musical without a clear story line. You don't like tap or gospel.
See it if Fantastic performers, great voices, wonderful choreography; Micky Grant's work - superb
Don't see it if Don't see this show if you want a plot, don't like Gospel, political statements
See it if you don't want to miss Savion Glover's expert direction & choreography. His vision of Micki Grant's creation propels this production.
Don't see it if you want to believe the NYT's Jeese Green's (in an otherwise rave review) wrong-headed estimation of Glover's contribution to show's success
See it if You love creative dancing and singing, want to see talented artists at their best, enjoy gospel/soul music, want to be wowed!
Don't see it if You dislike musicals, want to be bored, don't like to feel emotions, want to stay home and watch TV.
See it if you want to see a great cast superbly directed and choreographed by the terrific Savion Glover.
Don't see it if you are looking for a book musical.
Also Saw the original in 1972 and this far surpasses it in every way.
See it if Sensational production! The African-American experience at a turning point. All heart, soul and high energy. Savion choreography. Right on!
Don't see it if A revival, medley format, no book. 1970s period costumes nevertheless, an authentic reflection of its era.
See it if Talent galore. A super cast than can dance and sing with the best. Tis a shame that none have made the aigic breakthrough yet. 75 minutes
Don't see it if For some the 75 minutes is too short. Rarity: Partner & I agree at 90%. Lack of a continuous story. Be aware that it is Encores Off Center
See it if you love when great music, great direction, and great choreography come together in a timely show with meaning and heart.
Don't see it if you need elaborate sets or storyline to move you - this gives the complexity in its simplicity in a truly moving one act.
See it if you like amazing singing, great dancing, and a show that is sadly relevant. I long for the day when we look back at this show & can't relate
Don't see it if you want a story with a beginning & end.This is sung through and has no real plot.Very moving exploration of black culture in our racist USA
See it if you like fantastic voices, high energy movement and near 50 year content that remains relevant and poignant today.
Don't see it if you prefer shows with elaborate sets and don't want to see dance sprinkled throughout all the songs.
See it if a masterful ensemble dazzle in ballads and all-encompassing group sing and dance numbers; Glover shows great intelligence in staging
Don't see it if Tap is only of many tools despite Glover participation; truly an ensemble show without generally known stars
See it if Fabulous singing breathing new life into updated oldie but goodie.Encores on a winning streak. A must see if it transfers.
Don't see it if If don't like Encores minimal staging & format. Encores performances at City Center usually terrific, if not outstanding.
See it if interested in a 1970's musical detailing the joys & struggles of the African American community during the civil rights era told thru music.
Don't see it if you prefer a through story line. It's a series of many styles of music (gospel, jazz, blues, rock, funk even Calypso) all expertly performed
See it if Gospel-tinged revue of songs of black experience. James T. Lane singing "My Name Is Man" was devastating
Don't see it if Savion Glover's dances were excellent. Aisha de Haas and Wayne Pretlow were stunning singers. The show packs an emotional wallop.
Also The Lobby Project pre-show was well worth seeing.
See it if you're interested in stories about the African American experience with great music and singing. So ambitious and impressive for Encores.
Don't see it if you prefer musicals with traditional showtunes. The music is more soul, R&B, and gospel.
See it if rousing portrait 1971 black America post-MLK; high spirited, witty choreography; strong cast w powerful voices, sizzlin' dancing
Don't see it if this is a review, not an integrated musical; dated "Laugh In" routine, campy Black Panthers/still relevant 2 today's Black Lives Matter
See it if You want to see and hear still-relevant singing and dancing about the 1960s black experience in NYC. Poignant, happy and sad.
Don't see it if You're expecting a full-scale production. (Bare bones set and some actors were still on book.)
See it if You want to see a perfectly pleasurable non-book musical that feels very much of the 1970s and a cast with lovely voices.
Don't see it if You want something that feels complete or current—at barely 75 minutes and feeling all of its 40+ years of age, it lacks urgency/dynamism.
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