Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon

This is a limited engagement through Sunday, July 21, 2024 at the Todd Haimes Theatre on Broadway.

By: Jun. 05, 2024
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Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon
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Home opens at the Todd Haimes Theatre on Broadway tonight, directed by Kenny Leon. Read the reviews!

The cast features Tory Kittles as “Cephus Miles,” Brittany Inge as “Woman One / Pattie Mae Wells,” and Stori Ayers as “Woman Two”—all in their Roundabout Theatre Company debuts.

“Cephus Miles had a girl that he loved...” Home, the landmark new Broadway event, is a powerfully uplifting coming-of-age story. Reeling from the loss of both his North Carolina farm and his childhood sweetheart, Cephus heads to the big city to find something new to give his life meaning. Featuring transformative performances by Tory Kittles (“The Equalizer”), Brittany Inge, and Stori Ayers, playing over 40 unforgettable characters in 90 thrilling minutes, Home gives a lyrical voice to the unbreakable spirit of all Americans who have been searching for a place to belong.

The design team includes Arnulfo Maldonado (Set), Dede Ayite (Costumes), Allen Lee Hughes (Lighting), and Justin Ellington (Sound).

This is a limited engagement through Sunday, July 21, 2024 at the Todd Haimes Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd Street).

The cast features Tory Kittles as “Cephus Miles,” Brittany Inge as “Woman One / Pattie Mae Wells,” and Stori Ayers as “Woman Two”—all in their Roundabout Theatre Company debuts.

Home, the landmark new Broadway event, is a powerfully uplifting coming-of-age story. Reeling from the loss of both his North Carolina farm and his childhood sweetheart, Cephus heads to the big city to find something new to give his life meaning. Featuring transformative performances by Tory Kittles (“The Equalizer”), Brittany Inge, and Stori Ayers, playing over 40 unforgettable characters in 90 thrilling minutes, Home gives a lyrical voice to the unbreakable spirit of all Americans who have been searching for a place to belong.

The design team includes Arnulfo Maldonado (Set), Dede Ayite (Costumes), Allen Lee Hughes (Lighting), and Justin Ellington (Sound).

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Jesse Green, The New York Times: But do not fear. This is not the kind of play to abandon you in a dark alley, even if Cephus’s distaste for city life is the most compelling and counterintuitive part of the story. Plot machinations that you will see coming at quite some distance deliver a happy ending and may even elicit a few nonconsensual tears. No matter: They cleanse the soul just the same. Williams, who died a few days before this revival’s first preview, seems to have been willing to go anywhere to free his hero from despair as a way of freeing the rest of us, too.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Charles Isherwood, The Wall Street Journal: It may take a while for audiences to tune in to the play’s rollicking rhythms. Mr. Williams’s language is a dense, clipped, sometimes incantatory vernacular that can be hard to parse, particularly when flung at dizzying velocity in the early going. Trying to appreciate the language’s richness and lyricism is challenging enough; teasing out the thread of the narrative from the onrushing tides of words seems at times nearly impossible, especially as the chronology jumps back and forth. While one can appreciate the desire to bring heated life to Mr. Williams’s vigorous language, which almost seems to prefigure rap, Mr. Leon would have been wise to allow a few pauses for everyone to breathe.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Adam Feldman, Time Out New York: The revivals that Kenny Leon has directed on Broadway form something like a syllabus of modern African-American drama, from Loraine Hansberry to August Wilson to Suzan-Lori Parks. Last season, that project brought him to Purlie Victorious, in which a Black man travels to his birthplace in the South to reclaim his place there in triumph; now Leon follows it with a play in which a different rural homecoming seems less happy, at least at first. But don’t give up too fast: Home, after all, is where the heart is.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: “Home” is opening at a chaotic time of year, filled with Tony Award parties and costly competitions for attention. I hope this unpretentiously and gently staged story of Cephus’ quest doesn’t get lost in the noise; it’s emblematic of what so many of us seek from time at the theater.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: The poetry and staging combine both expansion and contraction; Home only lasts 90 minutes, yet it feels a grander sweep than that. Arnulfo Maldonado’s clever and simple design matches this; as if seen on a cinema screen, the frames of walls shrink and expand to the shapes of home and church.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Greg Evans, Deadline: Williams didn’t live to see the revival, dying peacefully in North Carolina last month at 78. Roundabout and Leon have kept their end of the bargain. Home opens tonight on Broadway at Roundabout’s Todd Haimes Theatre in a top-notch production that serves as a fitting and heartfelt tribute to the author.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater: Samm-Art Williams was born in Burgaw, North Carolina seventy-eight years ago, and died in that same small rural town last month; he liked to tell people he was “just a country boy.” Actually, though, in between his birth and his death, Williams lived large in the big city – an actor in Hollywood movies, executive producer of the hit TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and a playwright who was best-known for “Home,” which was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Play after it transferred from The Negro Ensemble Company to Broadway in 1980. “Home,” a story about a son of the South who not-so-briefly loses his way, is opening tonight on Broadway in a revival directed by Kenny Leon; Williams died four days before its first preview.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Frank Scheck, New York Stage Review: Kenny Leon’s bare-bones staging fails to deliver much in the way of vibrant theatricality, making the intimate play feel somewhat lost in the Todd Haimes Theatre. There’s not much visual stimulation either, with set designer Arnulfo Maldonado providing little more than backdrops depicting a field of corn and an urban landscape, the latter accompanied by a fire escape. Dede Ayite’s costumes and Allen Lee Hughes’ warm lighting design can’t be faulted, however.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Michael Sommers, New York Stage Review: The single flaw to Roundabout’s nice revival is some questionable pacing by Kenny Leon, the director, whose recent Broadway staging of Purlie Victorious was marred by its headlong speed. Here, the lyrical opening passages of Home intended to evoke the long ago rural South are nearly lost in the breakneck speed they are spoken. Other poetic sections tend to rush by, too, suggesting that Leon doesn’t trust the audience to appreciate their beauty. Leon otherwise gives his well-acted production sufficient atmosphere. A longtime collaborator with Leon, the great Allen Lee Hughes expertly designs sunlight and moonlight and passages of time. Simple, painterly settings designed by Arnulfo Maldonado always keep a patch of those homeland fields in view even when Cephus strays far away. Perhaps just as crucial to the production’s impact is how the designer uses simple fabric borders to reduce the expansive size of the proscenium frame of the Todd Haimes Theatre so the actors can commune more closely with the audience.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Brian Scott Lipton, Cititour: The idea of home – as a safe place that one desperately wants to return to – is a powerful concept all-too-present currently on the New York stage, from “The Wiz” to “Breaking the Story.” But nowhere does it feel like a more potent destination than in the late Samm-Art Williams’ powerful, picaresque, poetic -- and aptly named --“Home,” now being given a splendid Broadway revival by the brilliant director Kenny Leon at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s recently rechristened Todd Haimes Theatre.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: Williams’ language is contagiously rhythmic, softer in the South and cynical up North, and the actors deliver dynamic performances, though they breathlessly barrel through the first few scenes. Leon, though always a casting dynamo, typically directs towards the finish line, and the play’s meandering molasses of a dramatic structure coagulates a bit. The production’s tone – especially as seen through Arnulfo Maldonado’s down-home set and Dede Ayite’s nostalgic costumes – is likewise consistent, if to a fault. No part of Cephus’ life is portrayed as having any real danger, no matter how bleak Williams’ observations about incarceration and the prospects available to Black men in this country can be.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Amelia Merrill, Vulture: Home’s edges are softer, and Leon’s production gets stuck in the sentimental. In bringing the play back, he’s proven that there might be plenty in Williams’s work that’s worth re-exploring, but he hasn’t gotten all the spelunking done himself. There are unresolved tensions in Williams’s script that could use some pressure;

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Dan Rubins, Slant Magazine: But even if Leon hasn’t stretched Home to fill the space, there’s a poignancy to spotlighting this playwright at this moment: Williams passed away on May 13, four days before preview performances began. If this revival doesn’t quite constitute a homecoming parade, it’s a cozy, unflashy tribute, perhaps just the way Cephus Miles would have dreamt it.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Amelia Merrill, New York Theatre Guide: This sense of alienation is perhaps intentional, mirroring how Cephus feels, but director Kenny Leon’s production still must bargain for the audience’s attention. Cephus’s return to Cross Roads — to his roots, and to the beautiful simplicity of Maldonado’s earlier set — is a balm not just for the character, but for us all.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon Gloria Oladipo, The Guardian: A hit-and-miss coming-of-age tale from late playwright Samm-Art Williams covers aspects of the Black experience with detail, but uneven direction distracts

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon David Cote, Observer: As he did with the superbly energetic and irreverent revival of Purlie Victorious last year, director Kenny Leon maintains a galloping pace. Home is such a verbal dynamo it could be performed on a bare stage, yet Leon has assembled a valuable design team: Arnulfo Maldonado’s homely yet mythic sets of porch, tobacco field, and a cutaway silhouette of a house; earth-toned and soft-textured costumes by Dede Ayite; and sunny daytimes and jazzy night shades conjured by Allen Lee Hughes. The acting trio makes gorgeous music. Kittles ages up from hellraising teen to weathered old man by graceful degrees, and Inge and Ayers do magnificent character work with dozens of supporting parts—preachers, drug dealers, prison guards, bus drivers. We should mourn the fact that Williams never got to see this luminous production, but it seems he had plans to join that fellow in Miami.

Review Roundup: HOME Opens On Broadway Directed By Kenny Leon
Average Rating: 70.6%


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Comments

Ensemble1718201860 on 6/12/2024

Is HOME sold out for the run of the show???



Ensemble1718201860 on 6/12/2024

I can't access HOME ticket dates for July. Is it sold out???

 




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