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Thursday, 23 May 2013 17:00

Theatre Review >> Cooperstown

Written by Nancy Bianconi, Editor
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On Friday, May 17, The Road Theatre Company officially opened its second space "The Road on Magnolia" located at NoHo Senior Arts Colony 10747 Magnolia Blvd.

They will continue to have productions at their theatre at Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim - now renamed "The Road on Lankershim." As Talyor Gilbert and Sam Anderson, Co-Artistic Directors of the Road Theatre Company cleverly stated: ONE ROAD - TWO DESTINATIONS. NoHo is proud to have one of the best theatre companies in Los Angeles. The Road has continued to lead L.A.'s theatre community in the creation of new work and fostering of emerging artists.

The Road on Magnolia officially opened its season with the West Coast Premiere of "Cooperstown" written by Brian Golden and directed by Darryl Johnson. The audience was taken back to the summer of 1962 when Jackie Robinson is about to be the first African American inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame is Cooperstown, New York. Playwright Brian Golden has written a play that is powerful and poignant whether we are living in the 60s or in 2013. The play skillfully weaves its way into social challenges of the 60s from racial tensions, to complicated love to untangling life's hurdles.

The cast delivers heartwarming and powerful performances. Characters were believable and multi-layered with great subplots. I must applaud director Darryl Johnson who brought this show home with the delicate balance of history and drama. Darryl guided the show so that each actor had the opportunity to shine in their role.

Cecil Burroughs plays the the role of Junior, a black coffee shop manager who desperately wants a promotion and plays by the rules. His performance was tender, powerful and drove the story home.

Jamye Grants plays Sharree, a young black women dealing with coming of age and being torn by racial inequality. Jamye plays her role with passion which gives the audience a true prospective on how it was to be a young black woman in the 60s.

Alexa Shoemaker plays Dylan, a firecracker baseball fan who falls for Huck. Alexa plays a difficult role with skill, a nice balance of toughness and sweetness.

Huck is played by T.J. McNeill and is an extremely interesting character. T.J. plays the "out of towner" and, like all of the play's characters, he is not perfect and has flaws. I must commend T.J. for his fabulous comedic flare. He was charismatic with a down home charm.

Grace is played by Ann Hu who gives a striking performance of a woman trapped in an abusive marriage and a pure forbidden love.

Set Designer Desma Murphy created a very authentic 60s style coffee shop, including a jukebox filled with the great hits of Bob Dylan. Costume designer Jocelyn Hublau Parker paid close attention to the fasihion of the 60s down to Grace's pearl necklace.

Due to the seamless direction by Darryl Johnson and strong performances by all actors, it won't matter if you dislike baseball or Dylan music or if you are white or black, you will enjoy and resonate with the humanism of this play. "Cooperstown" is a hit that is out of the ball park. Don't miss this one.

Cecil Burroughs, TJ McNeill and Alexa Shoemaker star in the West Coast Premiere of the Road Theatre Company's production of "COOPERSTOWN," written by Brian Golden, directed by Darryl Johnson and now playing at the Road Theatre Company's second home, The Road on Magnolia.

Deverill Weekes


Read 3417 times Last modified on Monday, 10 June 2013 04:03