It’s always compelling when art imitates life. American Son takes place in a Florida police station in the middle of the night; a mother searching for her missing teenage son. Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale star in a gripping tale of two parents as an interracial couple caught in our national divide, with their worst fears hanging in the balance.
Debuting with previews this month and opening night November 4th, American Son is an American classic play that gives the audience in the Booth Theater a first person view of the journey and experiences four individuals encounter in one night they all will never forget. Running until January 27th if you choose you have enough time to see it more than once.
UBCTV’s new show; Urban Access got an opportunity to interview the cast, director and screen writer on their take of what to expect when we come to experience American Son. Our first interview was with Tony Award Winning director: Kenny Leon. When I asked him what was the main reason why people should come to see American Son he replied: “Outside of a great story written by playwright Christopher Demos-Brown there are four main reasons that is going to make this play a success….Jeremy Jordan, Eugene Lee, Steven Pasquale and Kerry Washington. ” He went on to explain his excitement to direct this play due to the subject matter and as a director his opportunity to insight dialogue and contemplation on a pressing social issue through art.
Next we spoke with the playwright Christopher Demos-Brown. He explained that, “American Son” is a story that derived from the state of American life and dinner conversations. He has had friends who have had to deal with the issues of parents portrayed in the play. He further explained that this American classic is not only timely but also expressive in that the audience gets an opportunity to see different perspectives not just that of the main characters. Already awarded the 2016 Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play by an Emerging Playwright, American Son is prepped to make its mark in Broadway history.
One of the most fun interviews that day was with Eugene Lee. Its always great to have an opportunity to speak with experience. His posture and ease with the interview gave you insight on this seasoned veteran thespian. He spoke about how talent and a good story makes for greatness. He expounded on how the more they rehearse the more the story and characters are coming alive. He went on to express his exuberance and how he can’t wait until the final ingredient to a stellar performance… the audience.
The interview with Jeremy Jordan was like none other. I guess due to his role/character Jeremy gave us more insight on the conflict and the struggle his character and anyone in his position goes through to find balance. He went on to explain that this play is a must see because American Son touches you. He eluded that if you have any sense of humanity this story line will leave with you when you leave the theater. I can’t wait to see it.
Yet not because of who she is … nor the mere fact that I am a HUGE fan… Kerry Washington made you reflect on what it means to be black and a woman in American not to mention a mother. She went on to explain that Kendra her character is a women we all know. Her struggle is a daily struggle that the resolution to her dilemma is still unresolved. During the interview she made it clear that theater is different that TV. She explained that theater uses her whole body and there are no takes. Translated to delivery it’s total immersion and concentration compounded with a rigorous schedule. She went on to say that doing this play was a welcomed challenge. Yet the highlight of the interview for me was when Kerry spoke about her being a Bronx born lady and the history that borough created as the birthplace of hip hop. She explained that the hip hop pioneers showed by being resourceful and how utilizing that level of creativity inspired her and let her know as a creative it’s possible.
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