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Chris Cumberbatch

Imminently Yours

June 22, 2019

The comedy "Imminently Yours," written by the mononymous “Karimah” and staged by The Negro Ensemble Company, is largely about the importance to communities of honoring their “elders.” It’s appropriate, then, that two stalwarts of New York’s African-American theater—Dorothi Fox and Arthur French—have major roles in the production. Both of these actors have been plying their trade on New York City stages for decades (and they’ve done considerable screen work as well). The two hold their scripts onstage here and occasionally refer to them (or at least they did on the opening-night performance under review). This is moderately distracting at points—but the two are pros and, in a way, the production would have been poorer without their venerable presence. [more]

Hercules Didn’t Wade in the Water

May 20, 2018

"Hercules Didn't Wade in the Water" is the winner of the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.’s 2017 Emerging Playwrights Competition and this is its premiere. Michael A. Jones’ passionate eloquence and the strong performances compensate for the production’s limited presentational values.  [more]

Harriet’s Return: Based Upon the Legendary Life of Harriet Tubman

February 13, 2018

Employing an authentic and strong Southern dialect, Ms. Meadows sounds and looks like she really is a person in the 1840’s. This vocal expertise combined with Meadows’ altering of her physiognomy, beaming eyes and her charisma, achieves a performance of tremendous range and depth.  She portrays Tubman’s relatives, associates and masters.  Each characterization is rendered with precision and variance. Though the piece’s tone is by its nature serious, Meadows finds humor whenever possible. [more]

A Soldier’s Play

October 1, 2017

Director Charles Weldon acted in the 1983, Mark Taper Forum’s Los Angeles production, and besides his meticulous casting he has perfectly rendered this revival. Mr. Weldon’s physical staging inventively, precisely and aesthetically utilizes the large stage to faithfully realize the material. [more]

Adam

February 17, 2017

With slicked back hair, a melodiously rough voice and a smooth physical presence, Timothy Simonson offers an accurate impression of Powell that captures his swagger. Mr. Simonson’s appealing performance forcefully recounts Powell’s rise and fall with histrionic relish. Simonson is particularly stirring when describing the hardscrabble life of Powell’s father from poverty in Virginia to prominence and wealth as a minister in New York City. [more]