Student Review: Jitney

April 7, 2017

In March, Professor Butchy’s Modern Drama classes attended the Broadway play Jitney by award-winning playwright August Wilson. Students Dajah McDonald and Sharon Wilson share their reviews of the play below.

Sharon Wilson: Music, lights, and action! As the music stopped and the lights dimmed, the stage unfolded with the life of a cab service company and its workers.

Dajah McDonald: Jitney was an amazing play from beginning to end. I liked the parts when Booster (played by Brandon J. Dirden) and Becker (played by John Douglas Thompson) talked about their relationship as father and son, and the whole situation with Booster and why his father Becker has a lot of resentment towards him. My favorite character in the play was Turnbo, played by Michael Potts. He was the comic relief in such a serious play. He is an excellent actor. His facial expressions just make what he says even funnier.

Sharon Wilson: Potts is a graduate from Yale School of Drama. He's an acclaimed actor with roles in The Wire, True Detective, Gotham, and Nurse Jackie. He gave a riveting performance in Jitney. He's colorful, funny, witty, nosey, and gave excitement to the play. The way he spoke and his comedic gestures were amazing. He had a few serious lines in the play, also. When he spoke about the younger generation having no respect for their parents, the elderly, and even themselves, he wasn't lying about that.

Dajah McDonald: Another character in the play that I loved is Doub, played by Keith Randolph Smith. He was also funny. I feel he was the middle man in situations. He tried to make things better, giving advice on how to save the cab service.

Sharon Wilson: The architecture of the cab service and the structure of the inside were also well done. Scenic designer David Gallo did an awesome job with the stage design. The building was so tall and leaned a little with broken windows; some windows had no curtains and some were boarded up, showing real life of the 1970s. I especially liked the arch over the windows and door. It looked old but strong.

Dajah McDonald: Another thing I loved about the play was the lighting by Jane Cox. There was a part in the play when it looked like morning, and Youngblood (played by Andre Holland) was looking out the window, and this yellow-orange tint of light hit him through the window. That ray of light shining was so pretty. Also, the little breaks in between scenes had dramatic purple and bluish lighting. The jazz music by Bill Sims Jr. was also amazing and really went hand in hand with the play.

Sharon Wilson: This play is touching, it’s funny, and its true to life stories will make you think twice about decisions you make. And it ends with a bang.

Dajah McDonald: “Car service” were the last words said in the play. Without giving away the ending, those words made me feel emotional, but in a happy way because of the way the actor performed it. He said those words with so much pride and hope. Jitney was amazing. You’ll laugh, cry, and get angry. I would give this play a ten.

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