Hey MCC Theater, can you please cool it with the awesomeness?!?
The Off-Broadway theater company keeps putting up homerun after homerun, most recently Charm. This time it's School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a comedy about teenage girls at a boarding school in Ghana.
5 REASONS IT'S AWESOME:
1. Jocelyn Bioh's writing. In addition to making a name for herself Off-Broadway recently as an actress, Jocelyn is now setting the stage as a playwright with a big, bright future ahead of her, too. Her delicious writing is refreshingly earnest and heartfelt with robust, yet very accessible, characters. She accomplishes that very rare thing of making you laugh and cry at the same time...but mostly laugh!
2. Zainab Jah. Quite simply, there's something magical about her. You won't be able to keep your eyes off of her when she's on the stage as she delivers a pitch perfect performance as a former beauty queen who now recruits young women for pageants. Expect theater awards committees to take note of this incredibly special actress.
3. The Whitney Houston moment. Without ruining the surprise, the girls perform a Whitney Houston song in a ridiculous scene that brings down the house. You'll be doubled over in laughter at and in utter disbelief at how well this moment is pulled off.
Photos: Joan Marcus
4. Nabiyah Be. She. Goes. In! After wowing NYC in the original production of Hadestown at New York Theater Workshop, Nabiyah shines and sparkles onstage in School Girls. You won't soon forget her big moment, when tears are streaming from her eyes Ben Platt-style as she confronts the meanest girl in the school. Nabiyah 4 Prez!
5. Rebecca Taichman's direction. It's no wonder she won a Tony Award® for directing last season's Indecent. Rebecca finds the power in quiet and tender moments behind the main action that make the story robust and full of life without taking away from what's happening front and center. Yes, yes, and more yes to Rebecca Taichman!
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play runs through December 31.
Photos: We stopped into a rehearsal a few weeks ago and asked the cast, director, and playwright:
What would you say to your teenage self right now?
"Shine bright, girl! Do not dim your light because your shine will encourage other people around you to shine."
"Prepare to be surprised. Be open...you never know. There's so much you're going to experience and enjoy."
"It's pretty simple: You are enough. You got this, girl!"
"Don't be afraid to be bold and claim who you are, whatever that means at the time."
"Enjoy being a teenager. Enjoy being a kid. Spend time with your family and spend time with your friends. Don't let anyone deter you from who you are because that's whats gonna make you you when you're older."
"Breathe. You know more than you think you know, but also you don't know shit! Listen to yourself...and to your mother a little more."
"It's gonna be okay. Don't take it so hard. Let it roll off, let it roll off. Give yourself a little love and a little tenderness and a little faith that this, too, shall change."
"Don't be so hard on yourself. You're doing it right! Also, you should definitely listen to your mom more."
"One word: Relax!"
"There will be many ups and there will be many downs, but the valleys make the peaks worth it. You wouldn't be who you are without all of the good and the bad and it's going to be AOK."
Another MCC Theater trifecta: A+ acting, A+ direction, and A+ writing.
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