5 Reasons To See Pipeline:

1. Brave playwriting with raw and real dialogue shines in this new Off-Broadway play. Even better yet? Playwright Dominique Morisseau gives us a relevant storyline that is extremely accessible for a modern audience that is accustomed to TV and movies. 

2. Excellent acting. Karen Pittman gives a tour-de-force as public high school teacher who has to deal with her son (Namir Smallwood) getting kicked out of the private school he attends. Tasha Lawrence perfectly captures the spirit of a manic inner-city school teacher, stealing the show when the colleagues meet two different times in the teacher's lounge. And an intense 11th hour scene between Namir and Morocco Omari, who plays his father, is as perfectly acted as it gets. 

3. #Representation. Now, *this* is theater that is full of new and fresh perspectives. Pipeline a high-budget Off-Broadway production with people of color in all but one role, with a female playwright of color AND a female director of color, the excellent Lileana Blain-Cruz. More of this in NYC theater, please!

4. Finally, a costume designer who knows how people actually dress! Montana Levi Blanco isn't afraid to bust out some dope Nikes that private school students rock daily and puts the teachers in outfits that look exactly like what public high school teachers wear in 2017. 

5. "Testifying is allowed." Morrisseau's "Playwright's Rules of Engagement", inserted in the program, warms audience members up to the idea that they can (and should) react audibly to her work. The means the play starts with the audience already feeling like they are part of a community for the next 90 minutes. YES!

Pipeline runs through August 27.

Photos: Jeremy Daniel