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The Hot Wing King

From 66 member  reviews
Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing

About the show

Katori Hall's ("Our Lady of Kibeho") new comedy centers around the annual "Hot Wang Festival" in Memphis, TN. More…

From the show:

Ready, set, fry! It’s time for the annual "Hot Wang Festival" in Memphis, Tennessee, and Cordell Crutchfield knows he has the wings that’ll make him king. Supported by his beau Dwayne and their culinary clique, The New Wing Order, Cordell is marinating and firing up his frying pan in a bid to reclaim the crispy crown. When Dwayne takes in his troubled nephew however, it becomes a recipe for disaster. Suddenly, a first place trophy isn’t the only thing Cordell risks losing. Steve H. Broadnax III will direct this sizzling world premiere comedy from Residency 5 playwright Katori Hall (Hurt Village, Our Lady of Kibeho).

Member Reviews (66)


Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing
Avg Score

Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Edgy, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if Hall's most comedic endeavor; not w/o its serious side Well staged & very well acted which balances the more overwritten aspects of dramedy

Don't see it if Can be too long & overcooked w/ southern patois getting difficult when the boyz get hot & bothered Yet often wildly entertaining & affecting

House full of unabashed gay black men intent on winning the memphis hot wing competition; tho entertaining, this doesn't push the envelope as katori hall usually does

See it if raucous sitcom, fine comedic ensemble; gourmet approach 2 wings; shows healthy community of gay men, 2 in loving relationship

Don't see it if unchallenging; never rises much above sitcom genre; conclusion: gay men are like the rest of us (but more fun) is not earth shattering


See it if Like a rated-R 90s sitcom exploring the intersectionality of gay Black men: masculinity, homophobia, fatherhood, manhood, love, & community.

Don't see it if No major, heavy plot. Gay love annoys you: each time men kissed, the homophobic(?) woman next to me commented. 2.5 hours with intermission.

Also Diversity: all Black cast! 4 of the 6 cast are gay characters.... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Slow, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You are interested in a gay group of friends and lovers exploring their place in life. Good acting but writing straight out of tv.

Don't see it if You want something deeper and less cliched.

Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if An enjoyable play depicting relationships among gay black men and with one's straight male relatives. The hot wing contest preparations

Don't see it if The subject matter doesn't appeal to you.

Also serve as the focal point.The ensemble cast all give great performances... Read more Read less

Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Endearing comedy exploring what it means to be a family as seen through a household of gay men preparing to win a hot wing cooking contest

Don't see it if It’s long and doesn’t always hold together but it is entertaining and fun and the ensemble is terrific

Relevant, Poignant, Inconsistent, Too long, Funny

See it if you're a fan of Katori Hall's work and/or you want to see a story that has some genuinely funny moments and some truly touching ones, too.

Don't see it if you want a consistent show. This is a mix of comedy and drama that are only somewhat compelling, and the tonal shifts don't quite work.

Too long, Fluffy, Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you would enjoy a comedy about a houseful of black gay men with a couple of serious subplots. Good actors and many entertaining moments.

Don't see it if you will be upset by dialect that is sometimes hard to understand or you have no patience with plays that are clearly too long.

Dynamic, Hearfelt, Refreshing, Sweet, Funny

See it if you need some joy and laughter in your life right now. It's unusual to see a play all about black men which focuses on love and emotions.

Don't see it if you prefer multi-layered more serious plays and don't have a sense of humor. Not for the gayphobic.

Ambitious, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you're a fan of Katori Hall (I am). I liked the writing and the fact that it depicted gay men in the African-American community.

Don't see it if you are tired of shows that have one volume. Every line in the first act is delivered as a shout. The second act has more subtlety.

Relevant, Romantic, Funny, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you’d like to bear witness to a story of Black love & brotherhood under the auspices of comedy & the everyday.

Don't see it if you’re resistant to non-conformative definitions of family.

Great staging, Fluffy, Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You like comedies about food competitions and don’t mind some raw language and a bit of overacting.

Don't see it if You like more serious plays and don’t want to struggle understanding some of the dialogue.

Also I was somewhat bored for the first half hour. I became engrossed when ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny

See it if A new comedy (mostly) about African American masculinity is appealing.

Don't see it if Above doesn't sound appealing.

Also Wonderful cast, and since mixture of comedic and dramatic moments. A b... Read more Read less

Great fun, in a touching way, Layered, Refreshing, Great staging, Entertaining

See it if you need wide-ranging black representation in character, emotion, and storylines; you appreciate laughter with your pain and vice versa

Don't see it if you are hungry - seeing so many chicken wings consumed will only make it worse!

Rowdy, raucous, & entertaining ... but cliché-ridden and overly sentimental & schmaltzy. like a "very special episode" of friends.

See it if you enjoy light-weight dramedies ... a combination of frivolous, heartwarming, & serious, this play is aimed at playgoers who want uplift.

Don't see it if you are tired of seeing that same-old same-old living-room/kitchen set and you (still) find same-sex (very chaste) kanoodling offensive.

Also A very talented & hard-working ensemble gives it their all trying to p... Read more Read less

Trite, Inconsistent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Long

See it if You enjoy dramas evaluating relationships, and race through cooking. It is a play that has poignant moments, but it is long and capricious.

Don't see it if You usually avoid lengthy plays that cover gay relationships and take place in a Southern kitchen.

Brilliantly written, moving and funny

See it if interested in plays about fathers and sons facing very difficult situations and you like Katori Hall's work, this will not disappoint you.

Don't see it if you are racist, homophobic or mired in the past or classical drama....and don't come hungry, watching the play will make you veryli hungry.

Also The set seemed perfect framing for the piece, the actors were excellen... Read more Read less

Heartbreaking, Great acting, Funny, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if this is a family portrait unlike any other I've seen. I was completely drawn in. The writing & desires of each character were perfect

Don't see it if a portrait of a regional culture isn't something that's your cup of tea - or flavor of hot wings.

Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if You appreciate insight into incredibly profound life choices—why a man chooses to leave his family and start a new life with a gay lover

Don't see it if You don’t want to feel empathy with people and cultures that are not usually portrayed on stage. You want to hold on to your stereotypes.

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Writing and acting are great. The play delicately balances hysterical black gay patter and serious racial, gender and parental issues.

Don't see it if AfroAmerican dialogue moves fast and sometimes hard to keep up with--but doesn't interfere with enjoying the play.

Also My first experience of a Katori Hall play. I plan to see anything she ... Read more Read less

Well-written, Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Clever

See it if You want to see a well-acted, topical, smart play. It veers from heartbreaking to hysterical.

Don't see it if You have issues with affection between men.

Family play, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Funny

See it if You are interested in diving into Memphis culture and being immersed into another world; you like parlor-style dramas with twists.

Don't see it if You want something bigger and broader; you want plays that push the boundaries of dramatic structure.

Relevant, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you'd appreciate a medley of black gay men, each a nuanced character, exploring relationships with humor and pathos in authentic voices.

Don't see it if you have difficulty understanding dialect (Memphis), are bothered seeing gay physical affection or by profanity.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if If you love a great comedy

Don't see it if If you like a gay theme play

Funny, Entertaining, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Are open to the concept that family is not always defined by convention, and like stories about love and commitment that transform and heal.

Don't see it if You are uneasy with non traditional roles or if you haven't eaten .

March 1st, 2020
"In ‘The Hot Wing King,’ a New Recipe for a Family: Katori Hall’s genial play, built around a cooking contest in Memphis, uses a sitcom structure to explore black masculinity."
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March 2nd, 2020
"Katori Hall gets belly laughs out of this domestic comedy about an amateur cook trying to create a signature dish while chaos reigns in the kitchen."
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March 5th, 2020
"Spicy Family Drama: Katori Hall’s latest is the best example yet of her down-to-earth stories bursting with truth"
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March 1st, 2020
"The Hot Wing King Is Spicier Than a Suicide Drumette: Katori Hall's new play is about a circle of gay black men in Memphis, Tennessee."
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