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A contrasting opinion.
Posted by: borneback 09:28 am EST 01/26/22
In reply to: If you care about exciting, boundary-pushing new musicals, I suggest you check out “Black No More.” - dramaturg 11:44 am EST 01/24/22

I am actually shocked to hear this reaction. I found it to be overwrought, unfocused, and unaffecting. And I walked in so ready to enjoy it. A couple high level impressions - it was WAY too long. there is no reason for this show to be 3 hours. The show needs actual songs; not just fragments of songs that stop mid-way through. (The audience was so desperate for an actual song that when one came, nearly an hour into the show, everyone cheered for the first and only time). The staging is bizarre, and those giant letters that the actors peek behind have to go. The costumes makes no sense. Why is the ensemble in modern generic black costumes (a la Chicago) while some of the cast is in period costumes? The ending needs to get thrown out and rewritten. At one point, the lady next to me audibly stated, "Jesus, can they not decide how to end this thing? It's never ending." And despite loving almost all of Bill T. Jones' previous work, I thought his choreography here made little sense and was very very distracting at times. Like, just let Lawrence sing her big song in Act 1 without the ensemble women popping on and off to sing a single line. Same thing with the duet between Max and Buni on the bench in Act II, where the ensemble drew all of the focus upstage.

Some positives - the actors were great, especially Brandon Victor Dixon and Tamika Lawrence (wow, she is good). And so nice to hear Lillias White and Howard McGillan looking and sounding great. The show also looks very expensive, and the floor lighting is exciting (if overused). The conceit of the show, and the science fiction edge, is exciting and unique. There's a moment at the end between Buni and Dr. Crookman where I leaned forward and thought, now there's something really exciting.

Overall, a miss for me. There are some really exciting ideas in there, but as is, I doubt it has a future on Broadway. It would need to be torn apart and put back together in a much tighter form (i.e., cut out an hour). I think the show needs a stronger director and lots of editing.
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