by John Stoltenberg
This beautiful play with this fine cast needs to be seen to be believed. It is powerful and poignant, sexy and sad, searing and profound—and it requires a theatrical run and a national tour immediately.
The extraordinary company of actors and shoestring production came down from NYC to DC for one night only, part of the DC Black Theatre Festival—coincidentally on the day that the other Supremes undid DOMA. But even had that headline not happened, the sold-out crowd in Howard University’s Ira Aldridge Theater would have had plenty grounds for celebration, because right there on-stage, in the sometimes-shirtless flesh, same-gender-loving passion was what ruled.
As adapted for the stage by James Earl Hardy (from his beloved novel) and directed by Stanley Bennett Clay, B-Boy Blues unfolds in scenes that are so surprising, cinematically succinct, and overflowing with emotion that each interstitial blackout becomes its own drama of anticipation. The main narrative arc is a provocatively complex love story between two hot young men: a buppie—Mitchell “Little Bit” Crawford (the captivating Aundra Goodrum)—and a brutha—Raheim “Pooquie” Rivers (the arresting Jas Anderson). We meet seven other compelling and distinctly drawn SGL characters in their circle; Mitchell’s straight coworker and close friend Michelle (the endearing Jacqueline King-howell); and Raheim’s wise and knowing mother, Mrs. Rivers (the astounding Jennifer Fouché, who at one point belts out a song that stops the show). When this director was casting B-Boy Blues, he was blessed with crazy karma.
Dymir Arthur, in a piece for Mused Online Magazine, explains better than I can “Why You Must See James Earl Hardy’s ‘B-Boy Blues.’ “
I will simply add that contrary to what the term b-boy might suggest, the show actually has no breakdancing. But a little past the middle there’s a heartbreaking dance that will take your breath away. And it changes everything.