October 23, 2021


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‘Lacawana Blues’ Review: Ruben Santiago-Hudson Star on Broadway

3 min read

Here’s a treat: Reuben Santiago-Hudson A restored evening, a fond memory of growing upstate in a New York boarding house run by a vitality known as Nanny.

When Nanny made her look, I wanted to get on stage and crawl on her lap. Yes, recent times have been really tough and the Manhattan Theater Club’s revival of “Lacavana Blues”, a 2001 reminiscence of Ruben Santiago-Hudson about the undisputed love of a childless elderly woman for the residents of her humble boarding house. A kind of life-proof show we can all use right now.

In addition to a barber shop in Harlem or a barroom in Bawari, an old boarding house in a snowbound town on the outskirts of New York is a great place to go for colorful characters like the one described in this one-man show. Michael Carnahan (set), Jane Schreiber (lighting), and the lone Darren L. West (sound) soaked in shades of blue and wrapped it up in low-key music by Bill Sims, arranging an almost empty stage, junior, such as the New York Blues Hall of Fame guitarist. Junior Mac starred.

Santiago-Hudson initially took the stage as his own, an omniscient narrator who feels comfortable in his present time, remembering the blessed lonely childhood of the protective care of a saintly woman known as a grandmother. As the owner of a boarding house that seems to meet the wrong and the unexpected, this mother figure stands tall, speaks the truth and covers her small group of victims with the warmth of honest affection and genuine respect.

“He treats everyone like their own people” perfectly describes the pious character of one of his boarder Nanny. It’s no surprise that Santiago-Hudson keeps coming back to him, in his often boring life and hurting the spirits of his various unfortunate residents. More than anything else, this self-made motherhood nurtures each member with its proper availability তার a warm place to rest একটি a safe place to rest, or a place at the table to find nutrients in its soup. “The nanny was like the government,” we were told, “if it really works.”

The year was 1956, when “white people all jumped on Nut King Cole.” Here in Lakawanna, some of the inhabitants are shown in comic light, such as Po ‘Ol’ Carl, who brings the English language to Mars with the verbal encouragement of a small child. “You’ve got liver roaches,” he told a drinking friend. “Beauty stays behind the viewer” is another favorite penny.

Other characters are more physical, such as Numb Finger Pitt and Lemuel Taylor, who are embroiled in a feud described as the “one-legged fight of the century.” And some, of course, are so bad that they bring tears to Nanny’s eyes.

Anyone who has caught the TV film adaptation that is full of great character actors and aired on HBO a few years ago may not know that the Santiago-Hudson drama began for a single voice. Here, the solo writer-narrator emerges as a versatile master of multiple voices, effortlessly slipping into the skin of two dozen characters who pass through Nanny’s place. Not all of them are memorable, and some are absolutely bad actors. But each of them is recognized – and surprisingly – human.

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