BWW Review: Crossroads Theatre Presents a Stunning Production of PAUL ROBESON Through 9/15
The Crossroads Theatre Company opens their 2019/2020 Season at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) with a stunning production of Paul Robeson, written by Phillip Hayes Dean. The show is wonderfully directed by the Theatre's Producing Artistic Director, Marshall Jones III and the role of Robeson is mastered by accomplished actor, Nathaniel Stampley. His powerful performance is complemented by the outstanding musicianship of Nat Adderley Jr. This is a timely production with the centennial celebration of Paul Robeson's graduation from Rutgers University.
The story of Paul Robeson's life is fascinating. He was a muliti-talented, determined individual who overcame racial prejudice and broke down many barriers for people of color. The show chronicles Robeson's life from 1915 to 1975. It depicts his youth as the son of a minister in Somerville, undergraduate years at Rutgers University, education at Columbia Law School, and his career as an actor and concert vocalist. Robeson was a renowned scholar, athlete, entertainer, and activist. His accomplishments were impressive, at times controversial, but always inspiring.
The two hours of the show fly by as Nathaniel Stampley deftly portrays many moments of Paul Robeson's personal and professional life along with his travels. He incorporates multiple characters in the presentation including Robeson's father, siblings, football coach, wife, and the many people he met while performing worldwide. Stampley beautifully performs songs that include "Ol' Man River," "Congo Lullabye," "Old Black Joe," and others.
The Creative team has done a top job of bringing Paul Robeson to the New Brunswick stage. They include scenic design by Elizabeth C. Nelson; lighting design by Timothy Cook; costume design by Ramaj Jamar; and sound design by Joel Abbott. The Props Master is Sadae Hori; Choreographer is Dianne McIntyre; and the Production Stage Manager is Brian Westmoreland.
In his opening night address, Marshall Jones III welcomed the audience to NBPAC calling it a "brand new gorgeous facility" that is now the home for Crossroads Theatre Company. And it was indeed a pleasure for Broadwayworld.com to attend to one of the Center's first performance events. Paul Robeson is an excellent show that will appeal to a broad audience of theatergoers. Get your tickets and enjoy.
The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center is located at 11 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick in the heart of the city's arts and restaurant district. The Center is very convenient to mass transit and there is plenty of local parking.
Photo Credit: J.F. Allen