A revival of the “choreopoem” for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf opened at the Booth Theater to nearly universal rave reviews. Enlivened by brilliant choreography, creatively remixed sound, colorful projections, and centered around the gripping performances of a phenomenal cast (especially by Okwui Okpokwasili and D. Woods), this piece about Black womanhood delivers a captivating night at the theatre.
New York Times Review of for colored girls
Don’t be fooled by the scaffolding that wraps around the exterior of the Booth Theater, doing its dour best to look uninviting. Inside is a Broadway homecoming celebration that you will not want to miss: the triumphant return of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf” to the stage where it was a hit in 1976. Triumphant, that is, because the director-choreographer Camille A. Brown’s thrilling and exuberant revival breathes warm, kinetic life into a canonical work that has been known to suffer from being treated — as it was at the Public Theater two seasons back — with a well intended but stifling reverence. Brown’s staging is so attuned to the words and cadences of Shange’s choreopoem, yet so confident in its own interpretive vision, that the characters blossom into their full vibrancy. If you’ve never thought of “For Colored Girls” as a funny show, be prepared for Brown’s seven splendid performers to persuade you otherwise. They will also pierce your heart, because this production does not shy from the emotional and existential lows that coexist with the play’s highs. Yet this sensual revival leads with joy. … Brown’s production is completely new, but it is shocking nonetheless how much fresher, and more of a whole, her invigorated iteration feels — and how beautifully it manages to embrace the audience, even from a proscenium stage in a considerably larger house.
Time Out Review of for colored girls
After for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf received a beautiful (if bursting-at-the-seams) 2019 revival at the Public Theater, where it played in 1976, how fitting that Ntozake Shange’s theatrical tone poem should now circle back to Broadway’s Booth Theatre, to which it originally moved and ran for nearly 750 performances. … Almost from the start, the show is in constant motion. “We gotta dance to keep from cryin,” says Lady in Yellow (D. Woods); “we gotta dance to keep from dyin,” echoes Lady in Brown (Tendayi Kuumba). The staging by Camille A. Brown (Once On This Island) takes those words to heart, stopping the flow only to underscore the text’s most serious moments. … This version of for colored girls truly does feel like a choreopoem, Shange’s term for her amalgamation of words, motion and music. (The percussive original score is by Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby). The seven women on stage are barefoot, and their movement—which draws on African-American traditions including juba, stepping and social dance—feels organic, natural and triumphant.
Deadline colored girls
Director and choreographer Camille A. Brown and her cast of seven female singer-dancer-actors breathe life and vitality into Ntozake Shange’s still-potent mid-1970s touchstone for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf. Opening tonight at the Booth Theatre on Broadway, Shange’s fantasia of poetry, dance and stories of confession, defiance, sisterhood and, above all, perseverance, holds a power that’s not been weakened either by decades or the loss of a once startling newness. … For such a seminal work, for colored girls feels like anything but a museum piece under the guidance of Brown, her each and every cast member, and a design team – sets by Myung Hee Cho, costumes by Sarafina Bush, lights by Jiyoun Chang, sound by Justin Ellington, projections by Aaron Rhyne, and hair & wig by Cookie Jordan – that combine into a sumptuous whole.
New York Post Review of for colored girls
The sluggish revival of the 1976 drama, which opened Wednesday night on Broadway, doesn’t make a particularly compelling case for its up-to-the-minute-ness. The play comes across, unfortunately, as an antiquated time machine that’s at odds with the current conversation. Being a glimpse into a specific, different era would be OK — plenty of revivals fit that bill — but “for colored girls” seems awfully intent on speaking forcefully to the present moment. A strong connection to today, however, is nowhere to be found. … Still, the cast is tight knit and vivacious. … The liveliest sections of the production are non-verbal. Director Camille A. Brown’s brightly choreographed dance transitions brings celebration to a play that’s often a sequence of airing of grievances, although it has its funny bits. There is a triumphant power in the women’s movement to music that draws us in spectacularly. That’s because, unlike the play, the dance is new and fresh.
Hollywood Reporter Review of for colored girls
The production, which opens April 20, takes the task of revival seriously — it’s a joy to witness. … When for colored girls opened at Booth for the first time in 1976, it jolted the theater world with the frank and experimental way it approached the subject of Black womanhood. … It ran for two years. One hopes this version does just as well. Brown’s version of the production injects Shange’s already electrifying work with a distinctive and vivid energy. She has kept much of the original choreopoem (a term coined by Shange to describe this piece’s combination of poetry, narrative, dance and music) intact, but with the help of her dynamic cast, Brown, who both directs and choreographs this revival, remixes for colored girls, manipulating sound and movement to reveal even deeper layers. … Stories, in the right hands, can be intoxicating, and for colored girls takes advantage of that. Brown’s cast possesses such an intimate understanding of their characters that even the least subtle of the performances captivates.