Tag Archives: Isaac Beverly
M Ensemble’s production of Layon Gray’s Cowboy is everything audiences expect of a rousing western, but it’s also an inherent indictment. It is not of little significance that the play is presented with entirely Black actors in a genre that has only recently begun to welcome melanin in its ensembles.
For those assigned to commit James Weldon Johnson’s narratives to memory in their younger days, M Ensemble’s God’s Trombones will wrap them in warm nostalgia. For others, M Ensemble skillful interpretation should elicit praise for introducing, and keeping, this important treasure of cultural history in the public eye.
The Mighty Gents is a poignant moving tale worthy of a Greek tragedy except that the protagonists are members of a street gang from the mid-1960s, emotionally, economically and sociologically lost in a Newark ghetto in 1978.
Music, sometimes tenderly introspective, sometimes upliftingly powerful, is deftly woven throughout the surging triumph of both the rise of the all-black 1939 New York Renaissance basketball team and M Ensemble’s moving recreation of the “Rens” banner year in Layon Gray’s Kings of Harlem.