Flora Lynn Isaacson

Reviews

JAZZ– at MTC– All-the-Way-Live-Production


Whether we’re talking about this stellar adaptation by Nambi E. Kelley or stellar performances by the natural artists in the cast or the original score composed by Marcus Shelby JAZZ at MTC is not to be missed! This production is fabulous! Plan to spend an hour and 45 minutes immersed in Harlem life for one neighborhood in Harlem at the turn of the century.

Whether kudos ultimately go to Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis; Stage Director Awoye Timpo and Assistant Director Olivia Dillon or to Composer Marcus Shelby or to Choreographer Joanna Haigood and Assistant to the Choreographer, Whitney Stone – the Jazz performance on May 12, 2019, had the audience riveted from the get go!

Kudos to the cast/artists: Paige Mayes (Parrot) owned the stage with her intricate/lithe bird-like dance/body action, exquisite costume, and the dulcet tones of her beautiful vocals; C. Kelly Wright (riveting performance as the long-suffering wife, Violet); Margot Hall (wonderful as Alice); Lisa Lacy (the convincing gossip Malvonne); Dezi Solèy (excellent as Wild and the vulnerable Dorcas); Michael Gene Sullivan (totally believable as the love-crazed Joe Trace); Tiffany Tenille (fine nuances as Felice, Cigarette Girl, and Wild’s Shadow); and Dane Troy (the sensitive and handsome Numbers Runner).

Whether we point to the perfect timing of the music, the vocals, the choreography, the dialogue give and take, or the action, there wasn’t one missed beat or weak link. Whether we listened most closely to the complicated rhythms of the jazz or the complicated intimate relationships combined with the emotional harmonies of the blues or the rich resonance of the Parrot’s constant humming – we cannot find fault with any action, overall set design, sound or interaction.

The entire Creative Team and Production Crew are commended on their flawless teamwork:  Scenic Designer, Kimie Nishikawa who told us so much with such understated elegance; Costume Designer, the very imaginative Karen Perry with Noelle Clary, Corrinda Carr, Kathleen Lanphier, Claire Harper, Naomi Arnst, and Jessica Carter; Dialect Coach Jerome Butler; Lighting Designer Jeff Rowlings; Electricians Jessica Bertine, Nathanael Card, Melissa Ramirez, Minerva Ramirez, and Matt Sykes; Videographer Jeff Berlin; Sound Designer Gregory Robinson; Board Operator, Patrick Mahoney; Props Artisans Rachel Hurado and Liam Rudisill; Carpenter Mike Ferrell with Painters Jenny Yang, Olivia Carter, Caitlin Enwright, Holly Bobisuthi, and Eva Restad.

By Elle Alexa Simon on behalf of Flora Lynn Isaacson, Theater Critic, San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle

 

NOTE: At this writing TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR 7:30 PM performances on Thursday, May 16; Friday, May 17; and Saturday, May 18; as well as final matinee performances at 2:00 PM:  Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, . See www.MarinTheatre.org for tickets, or telephone 415-388-5208.

COMING UP NEXT AT MTC starting June 13 through July 7, 2019: WINK – World Premiere by Jen Silverman and directed by Mike Donahue, at the home of Marin Theatre Company: Boyer Theatre, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley 94941.

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