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CQ/CX OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: February 15, 2012
Synopsis: In the world premiere of Gabe McKinley's CQ/CX, an up-and-coming black reporter at The New York Times sees his dreams of becoming a famous journalist come crashing down when he finds himself at the center of a plagiarism scandal. Drawing on his own experience as a newsman, McKinley weaves a revealing and complex story about the collateral damage of unchecked ambition and compounded lies. In this new play inspired by real events, truth becomes slippery and racial tensions reach a boiling point. CQ/CX raises difficult questions about the state of our media culture, and the meaning and price of journalistic integrity.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"“CQ/CX,” a new play by Gabe McKinley depicting the Jayson Blair scandal at The New York Times, is less “Front Page” than “Front Page Correction” — a straightforward dramatization and a cautionary tale of ambition, deception and hubris."
"What if your whole career was built on a lie, and you had to keep inventing new lies almost daily to sustain your momentum? That's the stressful situation faced by overly ambitious, young New York Times reporter Jay Bennett, in Gabe McKinley's stylish new play "CQ/CX.""
"It had all the elements of a great thriller. A con man abuses the trust of his friends and colleagues at a big newspaper, lies about everything from his upbringing to his résumé to his sources, boozes and gets high, then shakes the entire institution to its core."
"Gabe McKinley's "CQ/CX" is a thinly veiled fictionalization of the 2003 Jayson Blair affair at The New York Times, in which a young African-American reporter was found to have plagiarized and fabricated numerous news stories. Revelation of the scandal led to charges of affirmative-action hiring and editors looking the other way at warning signs. It was resolved with Blair's firing and a long front-page article that laid bare his misdeeds, accepted responsibility, and amounted to a public mea culpa. All this is there in McKinley's script, but it rarely dips beneath the surface, playing more like an extended TV-drama episode than a thoughtful theater work."
"Few journalistic scandals in recent memory have been as riveting as that of Jayson Blair. Really, it had everything. Blair was a young reporter, apparently likeable and definitely hard-working, yet discovered in 2003 to have fabricated many articles during his several years on the job. His paper was none other than the august New York Times, which was struggling itself under the weight of enhanced public scrutiny and the difficulty of finding its footing in an increasingly digital world. Then there were all the eye-popping recriminations and resignations, to say nothing of the torpedoed trust the publication endured as a result. And, oh yes, there was also the small matter of Blair being an African-American, and the roiling suggestions that he had been allowed to obtain and retain his position because of race. Does this kind of thing get any juicier?"
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