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BWW Review: AMERICAN SON at GSP is Powerful, Poignant Drama

George Street Playhouse (GSP) continues their successful season with a powerful contemporary drama, American Son now being performed through February 26th. Written by Christopher Demos-Brown and directed by The Playhouse's Artistic Director David Saint, this superb play addresses the crucial issues of race relations and policing along with their profound effects on individuals. The show provides audience members with multiple perspectives and encourages a conversation about bridging the divide that exists in our country today. The play has the distinct honor of being the recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for a new play by an emerging playwright.

In American Son, 18 year-old Jamal's car has been pulled over in the middle of the night. The teen's distraught mother, Kendra Ellis-Connor and her estranged husband, Scott Connor rush to the police station for information about their son's whereabouts. But they are given very few details of the incident by rookie officer Paul Larken and Lieutenant John Stokes. Jamal is a young bi-racial man that has had the finest schooling and will soon be attending West Point. Yet, he has been rebelling since his parents' recent separation. As they become increasingly anxious, Scott and Kendra have a series of explosive confrontations with each other and the officers. The show offers a rare, close-up perspective of an extremely unfortunate situation that is far too common.

The four extraordinary actors in American Son capture the essence of their roles. The cast includes John Bolger as Scott Connor; SuzzAnne Douglas as Kendra Ellis-Connor; Mark Junek as Paul Larkin and Mark Kenneth Smaltz as Lieutenant John Stokes. The company brings the startling reality of the story to life before your eyes.

The Creative Team has done a wonderful job of bringing the show to the GSP with scenic design by Jason Simms; costumes by David Murin; lighting design by Tyler Micoleau; sound design by Christopher J. Bailey. The Production Stage Manager is Thomas Clewell; Production Manager is Christopher J. Bailey and casting is by McCorkle Casting, Ltd.

American Son is an emotionally charged play that must be seen. Bravo to George Street Playhouse for providing metro area audiences with the opportunity to witness this excellent piece of theatre on the New Brunswick stage.

American Son runs for 90 minutes with no information. It will be performed at George Street Playhouse thorough February 26th. The Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick in the heart of the city's vibrant arts district with convenient parking and mass transit options. For tickets, call 732.246.7717 or visit

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

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From This Author Marina Kennedy