Downtown Race Riot OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    December 3, 2017
    Closing:
    December 23, 2017

    Theater: Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center / 480 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10019

    Synopsis: 

    On a hot late summer day in 1976, a mob of young men – all white except one – descended on Washington Square Park with pipes and bats, and attacked any people of color they could find. Seth Zvi Rosenfeld’s Downtown Race Riot takes us back to this day, in the cramped Village apartment of Mary Shannon, a strung-out, free-wheeling single mom, as her son Pnut and his Haitian best friend Massive wrestle with their obligation to join the riot. The boys, torn between loyalty to each other and to the neighborhood, grasp for ways to keep the violence from destroying their friendship forever. A snapshot of a time not so different than today, when a new social freedom ran smack into the forces of reaction, and when the stakes were truly life and death.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Downtown Race Riot

    Sleepwalking Through the ’70s in ‘Downtown Race Riot’

    Ben Brantley

    December 3, 2017:

    Do not be alarmed by the title, with its promise of dangerous confrontation and energy run amok. Seth Zvi Rosenfeld’s “Downtown Race Riot,” which opened on Sunday night at the Pershing Square Signature Center, is about as likely to raise your blood pressure as a homeopathic sleeping pill.

    Yes, this New Group production, directed by Scott Elliott, does feature simulated sex and copious drug use and one climactic fight that draws plenty of stage blood. It considers, among other things, the poison of racial hatred, hardly an irrelevant topic these days. And it stars a glamorously bedraggled Chloë Sevigny, whose name has long been a byword for downtown cool, as a drug-glazed single mom of two sexy teenagers.

    What’s more, “Downtown Race Riot” is set in the dirty old New York of the late 1970s, when life (and apartments) were cheap — a time and place resurrected with love and squalor in the current HBO hit “The Deuce.” And true to form for the New Group, which is always precise in its nostalgie de la boue, the production has been designed with a perfectionist’s eye for louche period detail.

    READ THE REVIEW

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