BWW Reviews: Rock WILK's Gritty BROKE WIDE OPEN Plays 45th Street Theatre
The inimitable Rain Pryor, actress, singer, comedian, director and author of Jokes My Father Never Taught Me, Life Love and Loss with Richard Pryor, is lead producer of BROKE WIDE OPEN, a play about spoken-word artist Rock WILK's emotionally-charged search for his biological mother. This autobiographical solo play, punctuated by WILK'S own hip-hop compositions, is also presented by "500 Names," a grass-roots social media and fundraising effort which is responsible for its New York City premiere coming to fruition. The show currently has an open run at the 45th Street Theatre (354 West 45th Street; Tuesday through Sunday at 8pm). Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets HERE.
Over the past six years, Rock WILK performed BROKE WIDE OPEN in parks, art galleries and on the streets and subways of New York City. BROKE WIDE OPEN is the story of WILK's life in the foster-care system, his subsequent adoption into a Jewish household and his hesitant search for his biological mother. It really is a touching story of love, loss, family, relationships, and discovering one's identity and place in the world. It's an urban "Wizard of Oz" per say.
Pryor notes in the promotional material, "The first time I first saw BROKE WIDE OPEN I was hooked by Rock WILK's prolific poetry and storytelling. I felt as if I was watching a symphony of words and a transformation of the soul. His story and in his signature style of rapid-fire monologue is a powerful must-see." I agree. This is an authentically New York story. It's gritty. It's fast, yet extremely thoughtful and kind hearted. Mr. WILK's story is one you can relate to, one you want to know.
BROKE WIDE OPEN is high-energy, honest and unforgettable. It sticks with you, especially the story about losing his adopted father – the only father figure he ever had in his life. BROKE WIDE OPEN is a poetic unveiling of truth. Not to be glib, but it's "Def Poetry Jam" at its best. BROKE WIDE OPEN takes its viewers on a haunting ride. WILK recounts a life full of impactful decisions and the resulting consequences. A cyclone of well-intentioned chaos, he tests the limits of every relationship in his life. Who doesn't? However, WILK creates a spellbinding wave of emotion as he explores who he is and where he belongs. He is pretty inspiring to his audience to do the same.
I have to say that the bravery to open your soul in a one-person piece is pretty profound. I come into the review rooting for you to win. WILK definitely comes through. In all truthfulness, the show probably could have used to cut the intermission as well as a song or two to pick up the pace but BROKE WIDE OPEN is a wonderful show.
The show's biggest problem is that not enough people know about it. However, if this run keeps going at least through the holidays as it's scheduled to do, that hopefully should change.
Producer Rain Pryor is currently starring in her own critically acclaimed, solo autobiographical show "Fried Chicken and Latkes" and joins director Stephen Bishop Seely ("8 Million Protagonists") on the project. Rock WILK wrote and composed BROKE WIDE OPEN. The design team behind BROKE WIDE OPEN includes: Jason Sisino and Lee Alston (art design), Omayra Garriga Casiano (lighting design), Rock WILK (sound design), and Nivia Marrero Rolon (stage manager). For more information about BROKE WIDE OPEN, visit brokewideopen.com.