Making History off-Broadway
For the first time ever, I will be performing an off-Broadway production that consists of five (5!) different shows in rotation. In fact, I’m pretty sure I will be the first theatre artist to ever perform five solo shows in rep in the history of New York. I have done some Googling and I can’t find any previous cases, but if anyone knows of one please fill me in.
And in the event that I really am the first, let’s make some history!
Here’s the link to showtimes at the Soho Playhouse, Sept 16 – Oct 18. And here’s the link to the FB event, for those who partake. Finally, if you know anyone in the media, please send them my press release.
The newest show, Rap Guide to Culture, was written over the past few months and premiered in Edinburgh this summer at the Fringe to mostly if not entirely rave reviews. You can check out the aggregated critical response here if you’re curious. Some of the reviews gave me four stars while describing the show with adjectives such as “problematic” and “heteronormative”, which prompted refinement of my content, but since I talk about race, gender, politics, religion, marriage, dating apps, and taboos such as when white people use the n-word at hip-hop karaoke events, the reaction was bound to be mixed.
I also took the time this summer (since I had so much free time) to revise and update Rap Guide to Religion, which I hadn’t performed off-Broadway since 2015, and after four encore performances of the show in Edinburgh it’s now coming back as part of the series. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is my brand-new music video for the song “Andrew Murray”, which you can watch now on YouTube or on Facebook.
I’m writing this update from Bloomington, IN, where I’ve been performing Culture and Consciousness in rotation for the past few weekends at the BPP (Bloomington Playwrights Project) which develops and produces new works of theatre. This has allowed me to hone the material while performing for sold-out crowds on a stage with my name painted in block letters around it, complemented by an array of spandex neurons with variable lighting making up the set, which has been epic, and after several Culture revisions here I think the show is ready for prime time.
My set in Bloomington
As for this whole multiple-shows concept, it’s certainly more entertaining and challenging for me, but also contains pitfalls. In Edinburgh over the month of August I performed 59 shows in three and a half weeks, including a new science comedy co-written with my wife Heather called Impulse Control which got a great response, and Culture was on daily at 4:15pm, and for the last half of the festival I did Evolution, Consciousness, and Religion in rotating slots at 10:15pm. I won’t say this three-shows-per-day thing didn’t break me. By the end I was a shell, hardly any voice, sick, but still soldiering through, and I did it, I got through the run in one piece.
Okay, there was one casualty. One night near the end of the fringe I performed Evolution and was told only afterwards that the audience had bought tickets to see Consciousness. Facepalm! That’s a polite UK audience for you: no corrections or complaints until the (hour-long) mistake is complete.
So for the off-Broadway run I’m enlisting help to make sure I have multiple reminders about which show to do, and the rest should be a cake-walk.
The run starts on Monday, wish me luck!