Tag Archives: Vineyard Theatre

In performance now: Colman Domingo’s warmhearted ‘Dot’

Dot.jpg

Colman Domingo, the theatrical triple threat (actor on stage, film, and TV, playwright, and director) and someone from whom I’ve always been able to count on getting a hug since the day we met in 2007 during the Public Theater run of “Passing Strange,”is at it again.

His latest play, “Dot,” had its first performance Thursday night at Manhattan’s Vineyard Theatre  a place that’s shown him a lot of love over the years.

The “Fear the Walking Dead” star’s heartwarming autobiographical “A Boy and His Soul” had a good run there in 2009, and he appeared there in the off-Broadway premiere of “The Scottsboro Boys” the following year before he went to Broadway with the show. (His second play, “Wild With Happy,” was presented at the Public Theater.) Continue reading

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Colman Domingo puts ‘Soul’ back into the Vineyard Theatre (updated with discount code to see ‘Wild With Happy’ for just $25)

Colman Domingo

Tickets on sale now for this one-time event

If you haven’t seen Colman Domingo‘s wonderful “A Boy and His Soul,” which was such a treat at the Vineyard Theatre a few years back, you’ll get another chance to check it out in January.

Tickets are on sale now for a one-night-only reading of Colman’s one-man (but multi-character) show.

You probably know him from “Passing Strange,” on Broadway or at the Public Theater. And maybe even from “The Scottsboro Boys” at the Vineyard or, briefly, on Broadway.

And I certainly hope you’re seeing the play he wrote and stars in at the Public Theater through Nov. 18, “Wild With Happy.”

UPDATE: See “Wild With Happy for just $25. Use the code STORM by calling (212) 967-7555 (daily noon-8pm), or visiting the Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street (Sun & Mon 1-6pm; Tue-Sat 1-7:30pm) or by clicking here.

“A Boy and His Soul” tells a slice of Colman’s life story using his record collection (yes, remember records?) to lead the audience through. It will help bring “Wild” into sharper focus.

Colman’s a major talent, brimming with life, love and emotion.

James Earl Jones told Colman that “Wild” was “miraculous.” I couldn’t agree more. And “A Boy and His Soul” is just as miraculous. If you loved “Wild,” then “Boy” will flesh out Colman’s story for you. Yes, it’s theater. Yes, it’s fiction. But the underpinnings of both shows are first-rate, true-blue Colman.

“A Boy and His Soul,” a reading and pre-show toast. 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Vineyard Theatre, 108 E. 15th Street (Union Square East/Irving Place) in Manhattan. Call (212) 353-0303 or click here for tickets. $75.

UPDATED: Provocative musical ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ returning soon to the New York stage?

The cast of The Scottsboro Boys.

BREAKING NEWS: New World Stages reacts. Click HERE.

UPDATED: An earlier version of this post conflated the Broadway show where this news was overheard with the source’s current Broadway credits. This update clarifies the source’s credits and reflects that Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has now reached out to New World Stages and the producer for comment.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has heard an interesting bit of theater gossip. We’re not generally given to reporting gossip, but the source of this one seems impeccable.

At intermission during the matinee performance of Leap of Faith on Broadway Saturday, April 7, a man greeted some friends near the bar. We couldn’t help but hear him reveal to his friend that he’s a Broadway producer. We didn’t immediately recognize him, but he mentioned that he’s producing Clybourne Park, a straight play now on Broadway, as well as a current Broadway musical comedy.

As the conversation went on, the subject of the short-lived Kander and Ebb musical The Scottsboro Boys,came up. It turns out the guy also was a producer of that provocative, somewhat unsettling minstrel-style musical about an infamous racist incident involving accusations of rape by a white girl against nine black teenage boys in 1931.

“It’s coming back, soon, to New World Stages,” he said with obvious pride. Lately, New World is where Broadway shows that, for one reason or another are no longer viable in a Broadway house, take on new life. Rent was revived there, Avenue Q and Million Dollar Quartet live on there. And soon, it seems, The Scottsboro Boys will find new life there, too.

We didn’t recognize the producer who was doing all the talking. T-+here are only one or two producers whose images who are seared in our memory, including Elizabeth McCann and Steve Klein, both of whom were involved with Passing Strange. But a few minutes of research on IBDB.com and Google Images helped us figure out that the guy was, indeed, a producer of the shows in question. So we’re guessing he knows what he’s talking about.

Scottsboro got good reviews in its off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theatre. (Full disclosure: Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? is friend and huge fan of Colman Domingo, one of its stars.) It took us a bit of time to get past our feeling that it was somehow wrong to laugh at such a serious true story from the sad history of race relations in the United States. But once we set that aside and got into the spirit of the show, we really enjoyed it. But others in our audience, including a black couple we encountered nearby after the show, left feeling more uncomfortable than entertained.

The show fell flat when it moved to Broadway, running for just 29 previews and 49 regular  performances in the fall of 2010. The feelings of discomfort dogged it from the beginning of its run, and the show drew protesters who claimed it was racist. It also earned 12 Tony Award nominations and gained some rabid fans who continue to beat the drum for its return.

The Scottsboro Boys hasn’t disappeared. It got an extended run in Philadelphia earlier this year, and is set to begin performances April 29 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, Calif. And it’s scheduled to play at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco starting June 21.

Continue reading

Colman Domingo’s gonna put a little soul in your stroll

Colman Domingo

Colman Domingo

The audience is still buzzing and people are still finding their seats when Colman Domingo emerges from the wings of Manhattan’s Vineyard Theatre and begins flipping through crates of old vinyl records. The stage is littered with 12-inch discs in their cardboard sleeves. Piles of albums even seem to form the supports of the apron of the stage.

Colman sits and ponders, listens to the strains of sweet soul music, looks out at the crowd, sees some heads bobbing to the beat and smiles knowingly. Soul music is, after all, called that because it’s good for the soul.

Then Colman hoists his tall, sculpted frame onto the stage and heads onto the stage, dressed sparsely with more crates of albums, a component stereo system — complete with a record changer — and a barstool, set against a backdrop of rickety basement stairs and the detritus of urban life found belowstairs of many a house.

As he moves onstage, the lights go down and the music goes up. And the crowd grows quiet — even though it won’t stay that way for long.

Welcome to A Boy and His Soul, a tale of growing up black and gay in West Philadelphia in the late 1970s. It’s Colman’s very personal, very moving and very musical tale. Coleman, who works with his childhood nickname “J.J.” (which his sister will turn into “Gay Gay” before the final curtain), portrays multiple characters. He flows from J. J. to his mother, his stepdad, his sister, his brother and more — with deft changes of posture, facial expression and tone.

With little apparent effort, he manages to transport the audience to another world, all supported by a seamless soundtrack of soul music — Smokey Robinson, Earth, Wind and Fire, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin and many, many more.

This is the same Colman Domingo who made such a powerful impression in Passing Strange in its off-Broadway and Broadway incarnations. From this show you can see clearly that Colman’s Passing Strange characters were thoroughly informed by his forthright, warm personality. Yes, he’s acting in Boy, portraying a character, but he’s playing himself.

The heartwarming, very real show is filled with love and loss and will make you laugh and cry — often simultaneously. It will put a little soul in your stroll n matter what your age, sex or ethnicity.

Colman has graduated from the orange Adidas track suit he wore in previous versions of Boy in San Francisco and at NYC's Joe's Pub.

Colman has traded in this orange Adidas track suit for a spiffy patchwork blazer. But the louver-fronted wood entertainment center, with its old-school record changer, survived.

Click here to read Colman’s story of the inspiration for his show. And check out this revealing interview in The New York Times.

The house wan’t quite sold out when I saw it on Sunday. But it should have been. And with any luck it will sell out and run well beyond it’s announced closing date of Oct. 18.

Tickets are $55, and every seat in this house is good. But through this Thurday, Sept. 24, you can get seats for $35 by using the discount code TM35SOUL online or over the phone at (212) 353-0303.