"The set sprawls lengthwise across this long narrow space. It's inviting, welcoming, and wooden. Warmly reminds me of home with a beautiful staircase to a merely hinted at second floor with moonlight softly illuminating the front door window."

American Citizens
Bronzeville
Review by Ross Anthony

The set sprawls lengthwise across this long narrow space. It's inviting, welcoming, and wooden. Warmly reminds me of home with a beautiful staircase to a merely hinted at second floor with moonlight softly illuminating the front door window. There are only 4 rows, but I'd recommend the first, even far from center. As the stage is not lifted, you'll feel as though you're a guest in the house. Some action happens above, an unfortunately placed beam blocks some view for those to the far right (us). A strategically placed mirror might have resolved that issue (perhaps built in as the underside of the bar). Still, the inconvenience was only minor especially when compared to the elegant and smart overall set design. The space embraces and so does Bronzeville.

Starting on a somewhat tentative scene, the production promptly bursts open with warmth, depth, importance and good humor. While the issues are specific to the Japanese-American and African-American experience, the challenges faced by this family have a more general, universal feeling. The Goodwin family wrestles with a life or death ethical decision that has the potential to redefine their identity. While perhaps less dramatic, each of us must make such decisions everyday. In fact, it's a common dilemma among families, individuals and even nations. There is always the temptation to choose security over integrity. Bronzeville beautifully reminds us to take stock of what it is we may be all too hastily trying to protect.

A tad tentative returning from intermission, again, the play soon enough warms and captivates. Overall, a sweet experience, a joy, and a poignant reminder. Especially good performances by Larry Powell and CeCe Antoinette.

Btw, if you haven't been to the "NEW" Los Angeles Theatre Center -- do have a look. They've artfully converted an old downtown bank into a media space. Beautiful, eclectic, inspiring and fun. Where else must you pass through a ten inch vault door to use the restrooms?

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --


  • Bronzeville. Copyright © 2009.
  • MAY 9, 2008 performance at the NEW LATC. Produced by The Robey Theatre Company in assoc w/ The NEW Los Angeles Theatre Center. Starring Michael Yama, Jeff Manabat, Dwain A. Perry, Candice Afia,Adenrele Ojo, CdCd Antoinette, Larry Powell, Robert Clements, Anthony B. Phillips, Landon H. Lewis Jr., Benjamin Fitch, Darrell Phillip, Dana Lee. Written by Tim Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk. Directed by Ben Guillory.

 

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