"Messiah" is a play about the legacy of the Panthers in the age of crack, where a scratch at a DJ booth incites a replay of the past, an action that interrogates generations of violence on black, queer bodies.
In the play, a teenager on the trans-spectrum, creates an alter-ego named Messiah, a popular basketball-ball star and aspiring rapper. Set to the sound of hip-hop, the ring shout, and the wailing of ghosts, Messiah embarks on a journey to find a way home.
"The writing is accomplished, the plot is imaginative, and the characters are fascinating...The magnetic company all give riveting performances. Though there are admirable and compelling segments of 'Messiah,' there’s also repetitiveness, vagueness and tangential digressions...What appears to be the ending is followed by more endings. Cumulatively 'Messiah' is fitfully stimulating but draining."
"The structure of 'Messiah' is non-linear, so you find yourself picking up puzzle pieces as we meet each player in this sagacious tale...It’s truly commendable that playwright/director Nia Witherspoon has created a nuanced, complex, and gradual journey for a trans character. Instead of showing us a simplified version of self-discovery, the script takes its time and allows the character to be vulnerable...It's a poignant take on a part of a history that continues to haunt us."
"Witherspoon definitely has a ton of topics to address about the African American and LGBTQ experience. She confronts not only oppression from outside but also the internal problems within the community...'Messiah' does need an edit...There are many inspired sections that feel angry and instructive...A strong cast brings this vision to pulsating life...Traveling across a few less lanes might tighten this unique and inspirational theatrical event.”
"The show features strong, moving performances from the ensemble cast...Witherspoon examines a variety of issues and events relevant specifically to the Black LGBTQ community...The language and imagery are beautiful throughout the play...'Messiah' tells an important story, confronting history that’s been forgotten or ignored by white, straight, middle-class America."