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LA BARBERIA OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: February 17, 2011
Synopsis: When Beny Acevedo, landlord and proprietor of a bustling Washington Heights barbershop, gets a multi-million dollar offer to sell his building, he faces the toughest decision of his life. Set against a score of original contemporary Latin music emanating from the airwaves, La Barbería is a comedic and wistful portrait of a neighborhood in flux and a tribute to the strength of a community.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"You know this place, even if you don’t know the language. It’s the wacky small business where little business gets done but where an eclectic group of people gather to crack wise and occasionally say something pithy, and it has been a staple of American sitcoms over the years: a general store, a diner, a neighborhood bar, a taxi garage, a barbershop. "
"It's nothing new, the idea of the classic urban barbershop as something more than just a place to get a haircut. You know the one. It's open late, always crowded and something of a community forum to pontificate on just about anything from politics to sports to whatever. It turns out the urban barbershop also makes an ideal setting for theater, as evidenced by the new, mostly Spanish-language play "La Barberia," which opened Thursday at off-Broadway's New World Stages."
"Theatergoers needn't have a fluency in Spanish to appreciate the tremendous heart and humor that lies at the center of David Maldonado and Arí Maniel Cruz's La Barbería, now playing at New World Stages. At the same time, though, one needn't know the language to wince at some of the writers' contrivances and dramaturgical missteps, which are mitigated by director Waddys Jáquez's often inventive staging and some truly appealing performances. "
"What David Maldonado and Ari Maniel Cruz’s La Barberia lacks in originality it makes up for with absolute joy, exuberance, and an extremely charismatic cast. One can forgive that the story is familiar—a young man with a family business in Washington Heights tries his best to leave it for greener pastures, only to discover where his roots and his dreams truly are. We’ve seen this story before: barber shops are popular settings for all types of plays and films, we’ve seen these dreamers in In The Heights, the Tony Award-winning musical that rocked Broadway and brought Latin culture to the Broadway stage in a realistic manner that had never been seen before. (I will get into an argument with anyone who tries to say West Side Story did it first! That was someone’s version of what our culture was, but not our version.)"
"Beny owns a barbershop in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, but he is tempted to accept an offer to buy the building. His sister Nurys, a student, doesn't want him to sell, and neither do any of the others who hang around the shop—colorful characters who love the neighborhood despite their struggles and who occasionally break into Latin song and hip-hop dance. If "La Barbería (The Barbershop)" sounds a lot like "In the Heights," it's not. There are huge differences between that hit Broadway musical and this more modest Off-Broadway play."
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