The play’s title clearly expresses that generalizing intention. And for the first time I can recall, a thunderstorm recreated onstage actually seems like a thunderstorm instead of a comment. [What’s new onstage and off: Sign up for our Theater Update newsletter]. They’ve made a commitment to love.

“I thought it was a fresh take, and I thought, ‘WOW, THIS IS A PLAY I WANT TO SEE! In the final scene, Scott exclaims "I can't breathe! Rodney Banks, a black police officer, witnessed the exchange and stopped the car. But the great performance Kerry Washington is giving in “American Son,” which opened on Sunday at the Booth Theater on Broadway, features no such decoration. Scott says that Jamal should not have been hanging out with these men in the first place, prompting Kendra to reveal that Jamal was angry at Scott for leaving him, which is why he placed the bumper sticker on his car. Offering a reverse angle on the standard procedural, “American Son” takes place entirely in the waiting room of a South Florida police station, where in the middle of a stormy night Kendra and her estranged husband, Scott, await news of their missing 18-year-old son, Jamal. “American Son” is not a subtle play; it barely feels like a play at all. The video sends Scott over the edge, physically threatening Larkin to know where his son is. But to love and to parent together. It would be hard for any parent not to be harrowed by the terror both Kendra and Scott express, in their own ways, about the disappearance of their child. Stokes is able to obtain a full report of the incident: Bell, Rolle, and Jamal were driving around in Liberty City, where Bell (who was driving the car) stopped to purchase a nickel bag of marijuana. Kerry Washington (“Scandal”, Race) returns to the Broadway stage alongside Steven Pasquale (“American Crime Story,” Junk), Eugene Lee (Gem of the Ocean), and Jeremy Jordan (“Supergirl,” Newsies), in the riveting new play, AMERICAN SON. The cast manages a similar feat of naturalism: These are big but nuanced performances. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who found its message about race "heavy handed". All she has is a torrent of words, barely containing her rage at everything: at her son for slapping a provocative bumper sticker on his car, at her husband for leaving them, at the police for stonewalling her and at history itself.

As Kerry Washington prepared for her starring role in American Son, she invited several friends and colleagues to join the producing team. “American Son,” by Christopher Demos-Brown, is part of a wave of new plays that consider the vulnerability of young black men in their dealings with the police.

His real aim, evidently, is to shift the narrative about police and young black men from individual cases to universal feelings. (Listen, if you can, for his devastating last lines.) Kerry Washington (“Scandal”, Race) returns to the Broadway stage alongside Steven Pasquale (“American Crime Story,” Junk), Eugene Lee (Gem of the Ocean), and Jeremy Jordan (“Supergirl,” Newsies), in the riveting new play, AMERICAN SON. Is that why he is so much more effective at dislodging information from Officer Paul Larkin, the policeman on duty? The play’s schematic setup allows Mr. Demos-Brown to demonstrate how the tendrils of prejudice creep everywhere, even into the cracks of a marriage. Not to just coexist.

“I know that when audiences come see this, it will be meaningful.”, Union-Wade adds, “American Son is entertaining in the way it reaches you. "[6], "With American Son, Netflix brings Broadway to the screen in an intriguing new way", "Kerry Washington on How 'American Son' Explores Motherhood, Race, Identity", "2020 Primetime Emmy® Awards – Nomination Press Release",, Short description is different from Wikidata, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 October 2020, at 16:46. I can't breathe!" I want to be part of this transformative piece. [2][3] The film stars Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee. Some involve crackerjack timing or floods of tears. Or is it because of his lack of apparent hostility? Marking the Broadway debut of playwright Christopher Demos-Brown and directed by Tony Award® winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, Fences), AMERICAN SON is a gripping tale about who we are as a nation, and how we deal with family relationships, love, loss, and identity.

Though I could quibble with some of the staging, which sometimes seems to get stuck behind furniture, this is the director Kenny Leon’s best work to date: incisive and breakneck. Its abrupt ending doesn’t even offer a chance for catharsis; it just spits you out. After both Bell and Rolle exited the vehicle to confront Banks, Bell fled after Banks had trained his gun on both men. Larkin is able to tell Scott that Jamal and two other black men were pulled over by police but is unable to tell them anything further, other than the fact that Jamal's car had a provocative bumper sticker about violence against cops. For Jada Pinkett Smith, it matters that the play lets so many types of people speak their minds. Would he have asked a white woman, as he asks Kendra, whether her son, despite acing A.P. Speaking about the interracial marriage at the center of the story, she says, “There is something about these two people loving each other and choosing to enter this adventure of raising a young black boy together that is unique to today. Larkin returns and says that Jamal was with two black friends, one of whom has a warrant for misdemeanor drug possession.

It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2019, and was released on Netflix on November 1, 2019. in an apparent allusion to the killing of Eric Garner. It is not a pretty role, and properly so; why should Kendra have to be ingratiating to be sympathetic? Indeed, after the first few minutes we don’t learn much more about what’s happened to Jamal until the final curtain. It’s about the American family.”, Washington herself is drawn to the way families are portrayed in the show. This revelation devolves into a long argument between Kendra and Scott, where the two confront their tumultuous marriage and their experiences raising a biracial son in a privileged community.

That changes the story.”, Union-Wade sees a similar power. An edge-of-your-seat thriller about two parents seeking information about their child, American Son is certainly the kind of play that keeps us talking. Soon enough, Gabrielle Union-Wade, Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Dwyane Wade, and Steve Stoute were among those lending their support to this new Broadway play. If the police station set by Derek McLane is a bit grand in scale, it fills the Booth nicely and emphasizes Kendra’s powerlessness.

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