Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Radio Drama Network present Brian Quijada's autobiographical solo show about what it means to be Latino through the eyes of a child, turned teenager, turned adult. More…
'Where Did We Sit on the Bus' is an electric one-man show pulsing with Latin rhythms, rap, hip-hop, spoken word, and live looping. During a third grade lesson on the Civil Rights movement and Rosa Parks, a Latino boy raises his hand to ask, “Where did we sit on the bus?” and his teacher can't answer the question. That moment sparks a life-long exploration of identity.
"This remarkably talented 27-year-old writer-actor-dancer-musician-sound master is sure to become a star...This is one dynamic bundle of energy...Mr Quijada dazzles in his 90-minute work, which incorporates Latin rhythms, hip-hop, spoken word, theater, identity, immigration, beat boxing and so much more...Chay Yew’s direction is perfect for this hyperkinetic performer, who is sure to win several awards and become as big as Miranda and Leguizamo." Full Review
"The piece is brilliant. Drawing on his many skills, Quijada begins with prenatal silent happiness in the womb...and then fills in just about everything he did as he grew up to deny his father's wishes and became the accomplished playwright-actor he ineluctably proves to be...Perhaps Quijada's most compelling element is his humanity...Anyone reaching the denouement without feeling an emotional tug might want to do some serious psychic introspection." Full Review
"What starts out to be a breezily amusing, if derivative, evening quickly acquires a distinctive voice of its own, as Quijada -an appealing presence with crack comic timing- skillfully mines his early years for laughs...Under the direction of Chay Yew, human talent and modern technology combine to singular effect...This new offering only confirms that Quijada is a bright talent, both as a writer and actor, with a distinctive view of this immigrant country of ours." Full Review
"While issues of race and identity run throughout the play, they are only a small part of a muddled whole. Quijada clearly has an expansive range of interests (dance, music, ethnicity, family), but none of them quite feel like the crux of the show. Luckily, Quijada compensates for this lack of focus with his unique intensity as a performer...While the title may be a bit misleading, there is still much to enjoy in this artfully crafted memoir from an undeniably gifted storyteller." Full Review
"It's clear that the young Quijada is something special. He's just playing it too safe...Aside from the title query, the performer eschews uncomfortable questions...These subjects come up...But they're not explored in any depth. Quijada quickly moves on to the next beat, not wanting to ruin the rhythm of our good time. And it is a good time that spotlights his many skills...I'd definitely hear his song again, I just hope next time it will be less familiar." Full Review
"Quijada was engaging, shining brightest through his musicianship. He possesses a skill that many have: actually being a multi-faceted performer. Unfortunately, his skill set didn’t translate into the writing. Quijada’s text lacks bearing...Despite an OK script, 'Where Did We Sit On the Bus?' is a great production...For a solo show, the technical advancements were mesmerizing. Director Chay Yew tightly choreographed the piece, moving Quijada fluidly through the space and the stories." Full Review
"Engaging and obliging...Though the show begins as an exploration of his place as a kid of 'brown persuasion/a product of U.S.-bound migration,' it morphs into Mr. Quijada’s efforts to sell his folks on a career in the arts...Mr. Quijada seems half desperate to please his audience. His face, an appealing mix of handsome and goofy, is always ready to split into a smile, and his feet are quick to dance...Ultimately, the show doesn't offer much drama or conflict." Full Review
"Quijada is a vivacious talent…But the show is called, ‘Where Did We Sit on the Bus?’…Before the civil rights movement, black people sat in the back of the bus…But where were Latinos?...A show exploring that question is something I'd really like to see. Quijada doesn't do that, focusing on autobiography…It seems a particularly tone-deaf dispatch in our current, racially-charged political moment. And surprisingly shallow for a performer who clearly has sparkling depths." Full Review
for a previous production "A bravura one-man show that should have ticket-buyers lining up at the box office…A dazzling, heart-piercing 90-minute work…Not since Mr. Miranda and John Leguizamo burst onto the scene has there been such an explosion of energy, comic verve, playful sexiness, raw emotion and irresistible storytelling emanating from one man…Here is autobiography at its most artful (and political), with the language of rap, hip-hop, spoken word and live looping." Full Review
for a previous production "Every so often a movie, a book, or a play like this one comes along and is so timely and focused on the world, and particularly the United States, that it engenders a 'must see' command from a reviewer. Brian Quijada has written such a play. He is also the sole performer and firmly holds the audience through 90 minutes of his life story, a story that might be told by millions of Latinos had they had the power to speak." Full Review
for a previous production "I enjoyed every minute of the performance even though I generally find rap, of whatever kind, entirely unpalatable…Some of the most moving stories were the ones told by other characters who Quijada inhabits well, particularly the heartrending story of his father’s flight from El Salvador, perhaps even better than in the narration of his own story, which is in itself extremely impressive. Director Yew directs Quijada well, moving him effectively around the stage." Full Review
for a previous production "Chay Yew directs an engaging autobiographical portrait of Quijada, which seeks to reconcile his own identity as a Latino man in America to sufficiently answer the questions of his future child. As a solo performer, Quijada is a charming guide…Though it was delightful to see the experiences that have made Quijada into the man he is today, I was left wishing certain moments were given more time than others...Yet even with this drawback, the journey is delightful to watch." Full Review
for a previous production "Some of the threads that Quijada introduces don’t play out with satisfying conclusions…One wishes he did more to address the dichotomy between ‘the loop in my head’ that tells him ‘don’t forget where you came from’ and the fact that he doesn’t reveal a lot about his larger family history...Ultimately, though, what comes through clearly is that Quijada has forged his own bridge as a storyteller...With verbal dexterity and warmhearted charm, Quijada shows us that the journey can get better." Full Review
See it if You are interested in hearing a man's struggle about who both he and his family are, and the concept of America and the "American Dream".
Don't see it if You rather remain ignorant about the unequality and racism in this country.
See it if you are capable of opening your mind to a new kind of performance style. Beautifully executed storytelling!
Don't see it if you do not enjoy storytelling or autobiographical pieces. But if you don't - you are missing out.
See it if / Quijada is charming as all get-out; this coming-of-age and identity play ultimately about immigration and hope is extremely satisfying.
Don't see it if you don't like solo shows, or might be in the mood for something flashy and "big."
See it if you enjoy theater that makes you think...you love when experimental theater goes right.
Don't see it if you need more than one person on stage to understand a story...yeah that's about it. It's amazing!
See it if you're ok w/one-man shows. B Quijada is amazing. Non-stop monologue singing dancing rapping. We were drained (happily), & we wanted more!
Don't see it if the NYC latino experience is of zero interest to you. The show MUST come back & deserves a larger house. NO INTERMISSION, but I got over it.
See it if you enjoy solo shows that are well performed and you enjoy hip-hop theatre. This is well crafted and highlights this actor's skills!!
Don't see it if You are expecting a deep dive into Latinx challenges within the current social construct. This is piece focuses on the personal narrative.
See it if In a dazzling one-man show, young multi-talented Brian Quijada comes to terms with the multi-cultural forces that forged his identity.
Don't see it if ... you like diatribes against the status quo. This is about discovering possibility in America's volatile cultural cross-currents.
See it if you're a fan of expertly executed autobiographical shows; if you want to see a major rising talent; if you're interested in latinx drama
Don't see it if you can't with solo shows, no matter how charismatic, compelling, relevant and beautifully executed
See it if you like one person shows, loud hip hop music and a deeply personal story about growing up Latino in a culture in which you felt different
Don't see it if Personal stories don't entertain you, you expect more drama and travail in a one person play, cultural differences don't interest you
See it if Not bothered by solo shows; terrifically talented Quijada constantly engages our emotions but misses many thoughtful analyses
Don't see it if Expecting an overt political statement; have problems with autobiographical and at times sentimental material
See it if you're interested in an autobiographical show about a charming and talented guy trying to make sense of his personal artistic journey.
Don't see it if you're expecting a really incisive look at race in America and where Latinos fit into the discussion.
See it if You love seeing new works. This show is very inspiring. If you like Hamilton and Lin Manuel then this is the show for you.
Don't see it if You don't like new theatre or rap music and spoken word.
See it if you want to see a star in the making. Quijada brilliantly bares his soul and delivers a masterful spoken word performance in one man show.
Don't see it if you are expecting an ensemble performance.
See it if you are interested in unique one-person autobiographical shows utilizing music, dance, poetry, and excellent staging; a from-the-heart piece
Don't see it if you aren't interested in racial inequality, interesting musical sounds, or a charming Latino performer whose life story will make you smile.
See it if You appreciate an original talent. The use of bluetooth electronics to create the soundtrack right there is amazing. Personal story telling.
Don't see it if You don't appreciate personal stories of performers.
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