Jitney on tour, now in DC -- an excellent production (spoilers)
Last Edit: mikem 10:00 am EDT 10/12/19
Posted by: mikem 09:59 am EDT 10/12/19

I had been kicking myself for having missed the Broadway production of Jitney in 2017, so I was very happy that it is being revived for a mini-tour, which is playing its first stop right now at Arena Stage in DC until October 27. The director and creative team are the same as for Broadway. Of the nine-member cast, three are reprising their Broadway roles, and two others were understudies for their parts on Broadway.

This is an excellent production. I can see why it got the acclaim that it did. The production really benefits from having many actors who have lived with these roles for a long time; they know these characters. But the entire cast is excellent and really works well together. At intermission, the woman sitting next to me turned and said, "That was intense. It feels so . . . real." Which is the highest praise that a play like this can get.

The tour goes on to Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle, so this is the only East Coast stop.

Thank you to caps17 for seating advice -- I sat front row center, and it was a great seat. I felt almost like I was on stage with them.

(major spoilers below)

I was wondering what thoughts are about the non-Chekhov use of the gun. A loaded gun is waved around by an angry man in an early scene that has a real sense of danger, and referred to again later. It's hammered home that the gun is kept loaded in a nearby car and that many characters know exactly where it is. But the gun never gets used. That seemed odd to me. It seemed like a lot of setup with no payoff. Does Wilson do similar things in other plays?

I also found the father's death in a freak accident off-stage to come out of nowhere and feel a bit out of place. Yes, life is full of unexpected turns, but that seemed too convenient and not "real."

But those are nitpicks. This is a great production.

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