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Hype Man

From 8 critic and 9 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Resonant, Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

About the show

This hip hop play dares to ask who has the responsibility to speak up in the face of social injustice. More…

A front man, hype man and beat maker are on the verge of hitting it big when yet another police shooting shakes them to the core.

Diandra Reviews it All

"Powerfully written and directed by Idris Goodwin, 'Hype Man' has to be one of the best Off-Broadway plays I have seen...Each actor was exceptional...The majesty of 'Hype Man' is that, in 90 minutes, through music and a simple, DJ booth set, you feel clearer on why black lives matter and more should say it." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Goodwin's ethnically diverse trio is necessary for his treatment of the relationship of the group's music to issues of racism and social justice…Goodwin writes taut, colloquial dialogue that sounds natural in the mouths of these streetwise, articulate characters. His lyrics, while sometimes unintelligible when boomed at ear-banging levels, seem much like conventional rap, and probably won't disappoint hip-hop fans, while the music, by Wendell Hanes, likewise feels authentic." Full Review


“Goodwin’s exhilarating drama...Goodwin’s vision is theatrical, his dialogue is sharp, and he crafts a clenching scenario...Visually and vocally Stango is utterly convincing as this popstar...With his mellow presence and beaming smile, Tolliver beautifully plays Verb...Bass, Tolliver and Stango are majestic together...Written with passionate artistry, dynamically presented and containing searing performances, ‘Hype Man: a break beat play’ is an engrossing take on a familiar subject." Full Review

Theater Life

"Goodwin is a provocateur pursuing many ideas that arise from the central conflict of his story, and his characters are well developed. He doesn’t, however, delve into the complicated relationship between the two childhood friends, who are now rivals, and unfortunately the delightfully raucous ending comes a little too easily. Nonetheless, Goodwin makes some excellent points while posing thought-provoking questions about timely topics. The skilled cast of three is outstanding." Full Review

Melinda's Malarky

"Playwright Idris Goodwin has written a poetical protest set to music by Wendell Hanes about love, loyalties, joy & justice; none of which are promised...'Hype Man' a break beat play beams light on the memes of racism in the past, present and probable future. Get up offa that thing! 'Hype Man' is a must see at The Flea. White, black, we gotta have each other's back." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"’Hype Man’ benefits from an admirably tight structure, but its conclusion feels too glibly arrived at...If ‘Hype Man’ wraps up too easily, the issues that it poses are very real...Goodwin's characters are a galvanizing trio and they are guaranteed to give you plenty to think about. This is an imperfect piece, but it is also what The Flea does best -- giving voice to a gifted, provocative young writer and providing a showcase for some exciting young actors." Full Review


“Goodwin's script, though not an entirely airtight 75 minutes, goes a long way in describing the challenges white and black people face when having conversations about race...Seemel and Smith breeze over some of the gaps in the script; the characters' shifting allegiances and quickly resolved quarrels feel too pat to be believed. But several heart-pounding musical performances help us overlook the plot's shortcomings.” Full Review

The New York Times

"Goodwin’s likable but overstuffed new show...Goodwin packs in a lot of ideas and not enough connective tissue, leading to abrupt transitions and a rushed feeling...Peep One feels especially underwritten...Goodwin does not fully explore the complicated relationship between a hype man and an M.C., especially when they’re of different colors...The production zips along, at least. Mr Stango gives Pinnacle an appropriately weaselly mien, and Mr. Tolliver has a confident swagger that is effective." Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Profound, Relevant

See it if You like Hip-Hop, equality (for all), friendship, intermixing plots, social topics, humor, some crude language, black box theatre, which was

Don't see it if Actually more loft-like. It was a great space, great musicality, awesome actors. I'd see this again. Only the small-minded would dislike.

Resonant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You love hip hop, race/gender/artistic collaboration politics. Challenging questions and issues are brought up, great performances!

Don't see it if You are trapped in a bubble and you want to stay in that bubble.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Edgy

See it if Honest exploration of interface of art, social conscience & humanity. Opened me more to hip hop. Understood it better. Great acting.

Don't see it if If you need the fourth wall. If you need the distance.

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if I never lost interest. I found it to be very entertaining from start to finish. Perfect combo of dialogue and song !

Don't see it if You don't have an open mind.

During previews
Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You love a funny, deeply moving story about Hip Hop and friendship that sends the audience out singing and energized to take a stand.

Don't see it if Everyone should see this play - I love it so much! It's entertaining, wonderfully performed, AND it has a necessary message about justice.

During previews
Funny, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You want to see a play tackle our national conversations around race, art, and social justice with nuance and humor. You love hip hop.

Don't see it if You're in the "all lives matter" camp and do not want your perspective challenged. You hate hip hop.

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you are up for an interesting look at the clash between personal responsibility and commercial interests.

Don't see it if you are looking for a big, expansive show. This is very intimate and no frills.

During previews
Relevant, Resonant, Preachy

See it if You are interested in plays about hip-hop, racial and gender divides, and social justice. You want to support young actors

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with narratives about police brutality.

During previews
Resonant, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Funny, Great acting

See it if You enjoy shows that address important social issues, enjoy rap and hip hop.

Don't see it if Don't like strobe lights/fog machines.

Cast & Creatives (4)