New York | 1h 25m | Already closed

Master of the Crossroads

From 7 critic and 39 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Intense, Absorbing, Edgy, Riveting

About the show

In the Primitive Grace Ensemble's new drama, Cornbread, a Black Iraq War veteran with PTSD, holds hostage a man who he mistakes for an Arab, threatening to crucify him for the horrors he experienced in the war. More…

Cornbread's ex-wife Yolanda (frayed to her own breaking point by the stress of being the lone support to their two interracial children) stumbles upon the plot. She tries to enlist the aid of Cornbread's stable, church-going brother Jim-Bo, also an Iraqi War Vet. At first unwilling to help Yolanda with another of Cornbread's "craziness" Jim-Bo finally succumbs to her pleas when he learns that Cornbread has several assault rifles with which he promises to "rain fire and fury on one and all" after he's done crucifying his "Arab." As Jim-Bo ventures forth to save the man from Cornbread - and Cornbread from himself - he's confronted by a heart of darkness that reaches back generations and now threatens everyone's sanity.  

CONTENT WARNING: Please note that this production features nudity, racist language, and graphic violence in a very intimate setting.

Theater Pizzazz

“Calderon does not disappoint...An incredibly intriguing and unique play...It explores themes of mental health, racism, internal struggles with life choices, and human weakness and strengths, during a life altering point in the lives of three people...A strong script, excellent direction, and top level acting...It is given exactly what is required, with no trickery or slight of hand. It is simply a thrilling, powerful, flawless play, and a theatrical gem that should not be missed.” Full Review

Theater That Matters

“One of the most physically intense hours of theater you’ll ever see...’Crossroads’ is the theater experience equivalent of a Rothko painting—you don’t really go to see it for the form or the shape or even the story, you go to have it make you feel something, to take you on a visceral ride...It’s a sit-back-and-be-prepared-not-to-so-much-as-itch-an-itch type of play from beginning to end.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"It is an intense performance. It is raw, intimate, and inescapable...The audience and actors reach a level of involvement and critical thinking that other plays rarely achieve. No one is bored during this tumultuous ride...All three characters are masters of their respective crossroad they are at: religion, war, relationships, mental health, and human suffering." Full Review


“A wild contemporary Southern Gothic tale coupled with sociological themes. The fierce cast of three acts up a storm to great effect, the events are compelling, and the grotesquely ritualistic finale is unsettling...There’s a lot of finely choreographed movement and ferocious fight sequences...Technically the production is small in scale, but its elements achieve high caliber theatricality...Powerfully dramatizes topical subject matter that’s rarely seen on the stage today.” Full Review

Off Off Online

“Post-traumatic stress disorder, familial conflict, crucifixions and redemption are at the forefront of family conflict in ‘Master of the Crossroads’...The theme of redemption through sacrifice is woven tightly throughout play...The audience gets a glimpse of what the characters are struggling with day-to-day...With these components working harmoniously, ’Master of the Crossroads’ is harsh, dark and eerie to make a point about the poor mental health care that American veterans experience.” Full Review

The New York Times

"The tone goes from frenzied to hysterical to off-the-charts bonkers...When a story begins with its intensity needle as firmly in the red as this one does, there are no options left besides self-combustion...The production ends on yet another abrupt turn, this time into ritualistic violence. Abili throws himself into the scene with committed fury...For a minute or two, fascinated by Abili’s abandon, you may even stop wondering why this is all happening." Full Review

White Rhino Report

“A compelling and masterful drama...The play draws in the audience at a primal level as we see three individuals struggling with the affects of PTSD...Calderon explores themes of hyper-religiosity, betrayal, guilt, denial, rituals, mental health, the trauma of war, and the insidious effects of poverty and racism to weave together a troubling tapestry...The mesmerizing...They are a way that gives them free rein to vent their rage, frustration and fear.” Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Resonant

See it if This is an impeachable powerful production. The story touches tender subjects including mental health. Not to be missed.

Don't see it if If you can't handle intense stories

Great acting, Great staging, Riveting, Intense, Clever

See it if One of the most intense powerful shows you will ever see

Don't see it if High intensity exhausts you.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if You enjoy super intense, dramatic shows. You are interested in the efforts of war on soldiers. You enjoy small cast/intimate shows.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with cursing or nudity. The subject of PTSD is unsettling to you. You’re looking for a big show with elaborate sets.

Edgy, Intense, Great acting, Relevant, Holes in the plot

See it if You don’t mind filling in the blanks with your imagination in this decent but flawed script. Very well acted but the story takes some jumps.

Don't see it if You don’t want in your face storytelling. Loud, harsh, graphic storyline told in a very intimate setting makes for a tense evening.

Great acting, Confusing, Intense, Ambitious

See it if you're OK with being shocked to show how PTSD affects soldiers & those they touch. Lots of Qs, but no answers. Think Apocalypse Now.

Don't see it if stark depictions of madness are more than you can handle. Not as loud or nude as others have suggested, but some of both. Confusing ending.

Masterful actor, Crazed emotions, Missed opportunity, Mushy dramaturgy

See it if you enjoy extreme energy, poetical religiosity, physicalized emotion, and fantastic actor Obi Abili.

Don't see it if you want a production that breathes a little, develops character and action, and allows its actors to catch their breath.

Ambitious, Confusing, Great acting, Intense, Indulgent

See it if if you're into INTENSITY: yelling, violence, a reckoning with the darkest emotions of humanity.

Don't see it if You want a fully-formed story clearly communicated; if you're okay being yelled at for 80 minutes.

Confusing, Monotone, High energy

See it if you think you might like to experience several high-energy breakdowns over the course of a play, all intensified by the tiny playing space.

Don't see it if you're looking for insight into any of the many hot-button issues that this piece invokes, from battlefield trauma to religious hypocrisy

Also I sympathize with this theater's stated mission: to use theater to shi... Read more Read less

Slow, Quirky, Confusing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see drama with a religious bent with over the top performances.

Don't see it if Nudity, violence, religious themes, mental disease, and racist overtones are not your thing.

Also Very confusing. Not sure what the message was. Very talented actors wh... Read more Read less

Great acting, Confusing, Cliched, Ambitious, Raunchy

See it if you like bold messes. Intense and engaging performances about large and important themes. Your more concerned with themes than plot.

Don't see it if you mind a play that is a situation and a boatload of themes but doesn't seem to know how to build a narrative from those elements.

Also I can see someone really liking this play as its a swing for the fence... Read more Read less

Way over the top

See it if You want to see a play filled with lots of energy throughout

Don't see it if If you are looking for a family drama that ebbs and flows. This does not work. It’s way too over-the-top

Also I was really excited to see this based on the reviews. I love dark dep... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if Hey! Really loved the performances of a strong cast tackling very dark and difficult subject matter (racism, mental h.) in a personal drama.

Don't see it if You're very sensitive to noise or can't handle subject matter like violence, racism, militarism, mental health deterioration, & addiction.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Raw, Shameless

See it if you want to witness terrific performances in a bold new drama that will surely give you a true, raw, off-off-Broadway experience.

Don't see it if you're up tight with nudity, violence, and shouting, and can't appreciate how these forms can be an integral part of a compelling play.

Great acting, Epic, Edgy, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if You want to connect with the story in a very intimate setting, also be ready to be surprise and find compassion for each charather .

Don't see it if You not ready for true in your face.

Exquisite, Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if Calderon has written in the action of the psyche of these three on the edge . Truly exquisite example of fantastic realism

Don't see it if If you don't like to think and you are squeamish at heart .

Riveting, Profound, Must see, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Amazing performances and sharp writing and directing. It will make you hold on tight like a rollercoaster. Powerful and riveting.

Don't see it if Go see it

Great acting, Edgy, Epic, Absorbing, Must see

See it if You want to see original and compelling writing performed by a terrific ensemble of actors. You will not forget this show!

Don't see it if You might be triggered by violent language and nudity and a realistic portrayal of PTSD

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Resonant

See it if You like intense, thought provoking theatre that hits hard and doesn't give you room to breathe

Don't see it if You don't want to see or hear about racial issues, post traumatic stress disorder

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Relevant

See it if you want to be electrified and inspired by brilliant writing, acting, and theatricality.

Don't see it if you're easily offended by in-your-face reality.

Absorbing, Edgy, Epic

See it if If you want to see a brillient theater ensemble doing inspiring work and creating raw & intense theater that pushes the boundaries.

Don't see it if If you have a problem with confronting the truth about American justice.

Raw, Edgy, Must see, Riveting, Masterful

See it if You want to see raw, high-octane, and physical acting AND want be on the edge of your seat!

Don't see it if If you want something tame, quiet, or don’t like intimate theater settings.

Also It was fantastic and physically beautiful. I’ve never seen more physic... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Must see

See it if you like intense, powerful drama with amazing acting and that is riveting and well directed.

Don't see it if you want a light, superficial night out.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Clever, Intense, Masterful

See it if It was brilliant! The writing flawless. The acting and staging superb!

Don't see it if If you don’t want to broaden your perspectives about race and social justice. If you want to see a happy play - go see Mary poppins!

Must see, Great acting, Excruciating, Explosive, Great directing

See it if You want a physical experience and reaction and to be made to feel uncomfortable. It is a god damn roller coaster to watch. Superb.

Don't see it if If you like Pinter-esque plays.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Profound, Great acting

See it if This show shows pure passion for the craft in every area from writing, directing, acting and staging. You sit down and witness life, fully

Don't see it if Idk, maybe if you are uncomfortable with violence, nudity and cursing. But really we get that everyday living in NYC.

Cast & Creatives (5)