Second Stage's production about Sports agent Liz Rico, who has money and an elite client roster. But a woman in a man’s industry has to fight to stay on top. More…
She’s worked twice as hard to get where she is and wants to take over the agency that she's helped build. Enter Freddie Luna, a high school basketball superstar with a troubled past. If Liz can keep this talented yet volatile young star in line, she just might end up making not only his career, but her own as well. But at what price?
"A firmly packed, but never dense, portrait of a woman. But if, at a certain point, Liz's trajectory displays the full arc of its tragic inevitability, the journey to that point and beyond is neither boring nor predictable. Coppel's quick-witted, whip-cracking dialogue, and marvelous direction from Lisa Peterson, ensure that things always unfold on exactly the time frame they should, without sacrificing tension, suspense, or theatricality along the way." Full Review
"'King Liz' was bold, smart and told me a story I haven't seen depicted on stage before...Even if you're not a sports fan, you'll find much to appreciate in this play. It has quite a bit of humor mixed with the tension of the story, and, to me, it ended someplace unexpected. Plus, you'll be lucky enough to see a terrific actress at the top of her game. I highly suggest you pick up a ticket and check out the play before it closes in mid-August." Full Review
"High five to Fernanda Coppel’s 'King Liz,' the swift-moving and hard-dunking tale of a sports agent and her struggle to balance success and her soul. This production, slickly staged by Lisa Peterson and acted by an energetic ensemble, has an unmistakable MVP:the vibrant, charismatic Karen Pittman." Full Review
"The plot twists aren’t as dramatic as intended, even seeming slightly heavy-handed. But these less successful moments are rare, as Coppel’s script is largely sharp and insightful, taking on mammoth topics like race and gender in an accessible and urgently relevant way. Though it may not quite be a slam dunk, 'King Liz' takes a difficult shot and ultimately scores." Full Review
"The result leans toward soap opera but Coppel's writing is sharp and director Lisa Peterson's muscular production keeps the tension at a high level. As sports-related plays go, this is one of the better ones we've seen in recent seasons." Full Review
"Ms. Coppel’s dialogue is finely honed, her characters drawn with a keen sense of both their forceful drives and inner conflicts. The sharp direction by Lisa Peterson keeps the pacing taut. Where 'King Liz' disappoints is in its sometimes ham-handed plotting." Full Review
"If the ending isn’t satisfying and the resulting moral somewhat muddled, there are two aspects of 'King Liz' that make it worthwhile theater. The play offers insight into the ways that race, gender, class and age complicate ambition, power and success in our culture...And those relationships are rendered credible, amusing, and moving by a uniformly terrific cast." Full Review
"Coppel's writing can be razor-sharp, with juicy zingers sprinkled throughout. But Coppel only partially delivers on her promise to bring a new lens to the play's timely topics of race and gender. Much of the play is a comfortable restating of ideas we've heard before within a high-powered work environment, directed by Lisa Peterson with an unsettled balance between realism and exaggerated cliché." Full Review
"Playwright Coppel has latched onto a hot topic in 'King Liz' — the alarming under-representation of female agents in major-league sports...The scribe has also been gifted with a top-notch cast...But the dramaturgy is woefully shaky, with over-the-top characterizations and unforgivable lapses of basic logic." Full Review
"The overstuffed and tonally jumbled play by Fernanda Coppel needs that assist as familiar themes dribble out: racial divides, second chances, women making it in man’s world, having it all, regretting the choice not to be a mom. The world of pro basketball provides a different sort of dramatic arena, but the same old story." Full Review
"If Fernanda Coppel’s writing is somewhat overblown, director Lisa Peterson does nothing to rein it in. Rather, she seems to encourage the definition of characters by a single trait and has her actors hammer that trait into the ground. The cast is competent, but no one really rises above the material." Full Review
See it if you're interested in a thoughtful exploration of what is asked/expected/demanded/required of a woman in power.
Don't see it if you're expecting a show all about basketball. (The NBA is really just a backdrop for a story about this person.)