Encores! Off-Center revives Kirsten Childs’ 2000 musical about the journey of a young African-American dancer. Starring Tony winner Nikki M. James. More…
A black dancer finds her way from West Coast suburbia to Broadway, all while navigating the politics of race and gender in an attempt to uncover her own identity. This staged concert is part of 2017 Encores! Off-Center season showcasing lesser-known Off-Broadway musicals.
“One of the most remarkable aspects of Childs’ debut musical is that the racism that Bubbly witnesses and experiences is woven into a show that is full of satire, given hilarious expression in this production by the director, Robert O’Hara...But the satire is folded into an all-around entertainment. Childs melodic songs range from jazz to funk to gospel to Broadway ballads…Another highlight of this production was Byron Easley’s choreography…A triumph and a delight in every way.” Full Review
"James is onstage pretty much the entire time, and every minute of it she’s an absolute joy to watch...O'Hara brings to the fore the exuberant energy and bright irreverence that make 'The Bubbly Black Girl' pop, and helps make it one of the zippiest, funniest shows you can see right now. And one of the best sung. James is in very fine voice, and she gets sterling support from the ensemble." Full Review
"I had a great time at 'Bubbly Black Girl'...The music is just filled with joy, I don't know how else to describe it. It's as thought-provoking as it is joyful, though. Even when 'Bubbly Black Girl' tackles tough subjects, which it does...the musical presents these serious moments with clear-eyed honesty, yet you still feel the affection for these characters...Nikki M. James is a delight as Viveca, so so funny and smart...The direction and the choreography are just first-rate." Full Review
"Many of the songs and scenes in 'Bubbly Black Girl' feel like they were written in direct response to today...The strength of Childs's book derives from the childlike propensity for openly discussing those things that most adults have the good sense to avoid...Director Robert O'Hara smartly does little to dissipate that discomfort, resulting in a concert presentation that is as dramatically compelling as it is tuneful...The staging also benefits from a remarkable performance by James." Full Review
"Little on NY stages right now is as much flat-out fun...Has lost nothing of its high spirits—or, sadly, of its relevance...Material that is wonderfully motley and personal...The result, for all its idiosyncrasy, rings authentic...O’Hara’s production favors the kind of wild spontaneity you find in his own plays over a more tucked-in approach. Combined with the short rehearsal time, that leaves 'Bubbly Black Girl' a bit ragged in places, though never when it sings." Full Review
"It is a smart, unusual and interesting show and an ideal programming choice for the Off-Center series...With an outsize smile and big voice, James more than captures Viveca’s sunny personality, sincerity and innocence...The score has some catchy pop/R&B sections, but is mostly forgettable, and the book scenes can be meandering...But the key idea behind the show...is explored by Childs with great humor and honesty." Full Review
"Played brilliantly by James...this Viveca is a three-dimensional character whose journey has resonance...The cast is strong across the board...Childs’s book and lyrics are stronger than her work here as composer. The songs...have funny, clever lyrics, but the music tends toward excessive repetition...Encores! Off-Center productions must grapple with finding just the right tone...In this regard, O’Hara and choreographer Easley have been quite successful." Full Review
See it if You enjoy songs that make you think. The juxtaposition of the "dark" subject matter with the Bubbly tone of the music is really affective.
Don't see it if You don't like Strong Black female leads and honest conversations about race.
See it if you like incredible singing & choreography.Nikki James is amazing.I have problem with the show's basic premise; I think being nice is good!
Don't see it if you are expecting good lighting or sound. I was in the 5th row and missed a lot of the lyrics.Balance was WAY off.
See it if Incredibly talented and charismatic cast, particularly Nikki M. James. Very catchy music. I went in knowing little and loved every moment.
Don't see it if The plot is thin, which I noticed more in retrospect as the performances and songs kept everything afloat. More of a series of vignettes.
See it if you love Kirsten Childs' work, enjoy a smart, campy musical tackling Black female identities and the ways others can influence us
Don't see it if Sadly only a 2-show run at Encores! Not fully-staged, a few rough edges, but still a *delightful*, exuberant production.
See it if unfortunately you can't see it anymore, but give it a listen if you are looking for thorough and honest commentary on discrimination
Don't see it if the sound quality was poor when I saw it and I missed a lot of the lyrics
See it if Captivating musical about a bright LA black girl who wants to be a dancer and white. Her eagerness to please melts away when she gets to NY
Don't see it if limited production -- only 2 perfs-- perfect for off-Bway transfer. Nikki James nails the part. Many other outstanding perfs.
See it if you like pleasnat dancing and singing. Nikki James is a delight. I like it better thanwhen we saw it at Playwrights ages ago.
Don't see it if you expect a production on a par with the ENCORES broadway productions. Also, two performance are not enough.
See it if You want an enjoyable, entertaining experience that also makes some resonant points on race and identity. Great performances.
Don't see it if You are hoping for a full production rather than a concert-style performance. You aren't interested in a frank discussion of race.
See it if you're at all interested in a girl growing up black in America in the late 20th century.
Don't see it if you're expecting a fully staged musical with a great score; this is neither of those things.
See it if you want a fun story, a great performance, and a feel good show that will still make you stop and think a bit.
Don't see it if you are looking for a night of "serious" theater- this show is light and enjoyable
See it if Childs' semi-autobiographical musical of growing up in early civil rights era Sassy music darkened by O'Hara's deft staging James a knockout
Don't see it if Rough edges don't necessarily hurt but make for a little choppiness & 2nd Act meanders somewhat but a great production of still timely piece
See it if you enjoy the range of styles Kirsten Childs brings to her songs, you want to see some masterful second act performances.
Don't see it if the first act is a bit long but is redeemed by a strong second act, you have a problem with some purposefully uncomfortable humor.
See it if Perfect Encores Off-Center production of essentially a Mary Tyler Moore sitcom as musical; breezy direction and talented cast raises bar
Don't see it if Can be viewed as a fluffy dessert without much heft; serviceable score is fun but essentially forgettable
See it if you want to see a bravura performance from Nikki James. Triple threat: acting, dancing, singing.
Don't see it if you need to see a fully staged musical. This more a concert version (as advertised).
See it if you are interested in seeing a story performed by an outstanding cast that is as relevant today as the day it was written.
Don't see it if you have issues with sounds -- City Center's sound mixing/the productions sound design has issues.
See it if You want a fun score and a musical relevant to modern day issues. Nikki M James shines as does the whole cast.
Don't see it if The plot is thin but the score moves it along nicely and keeps your interest
See it if Great Nikki James and outstanding ensemble in uneven but very resonant portrayal of a black woman coming into her own ; resonant today
Don't see it if Slight book and some elements don't work but cast and music and staging are terrific and engaging
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