Because of the staged reading I directed this weekend (read my director's note if you missed it) I was disappointed that I couldn't attend Darknight Productions' latest entry in its extremely popular What I Always Wanted to Do series. This one was a musical too, and those are always my favorites. Lucky for me -- and lucky for you, faithful readers -- my good friend Elliott Robinson was there. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on the Saturday night performance. Read all about it and be sure to catch the next show that the talented folks at Darknight put up.
Hot Time! Summer in the City!
Last night, had the opportunity to see Darknight Productions’ What I Always Wanted to Do – The Musical: Block Party!
I grew up in a Bronx neighborhood where every summer we had block parties. People would come out and sit on their stoops, trying to stay cool with lemonade and fire hydrants. We kids played, the moms caught up on the gossip of the past few weeks, the dads barbequed hot dogs and chicken, drank beer and smoked, and talked about sports. There was a lot of diversity, black, white, Hispanic, young and old, sharing a commonality of spirit; the sense of community, and the having of a good time.
Darknight captured this spirit of diversity and commonality. They’ve done these shows before, and typically there is an underlying theme to the material chosen by the participants, usually pulled together with ingenuity and style by their mistress of ceremonies, Danielle Nichole Tyler. Not this year. There were a few common themes – love, loss, humor, religion (two hilarious numbers from The Book of Mormon were presented), but no one definitive course was chosen here. And it made for an incredible night of theater.
I cannot single out any one particular performance; it just wouldn’t be fair, nor do I have space on this blog to extol the virtues of each stellar offering, but trust me, I’d like to. Everyone on the block brought forth their creative and artistic A-game. And we, the audience, sat on our stoops and whooped and hollered, laughed and good-naturedly heckled, and even made our way down to the stage to join the cast in a rousing rendition of the Bee Gees “You Should Be Dancing.” We became as much a part of the action as those performing. Which, I suspect, was exactly their intention all along. I’ve seen several of the installments of this series, but I have to say, this, without a doubt, was their finest hour.
Kudos to the company: Danielle Nichole Tyler, Olivia Mesquita, Luisa A. Fuentes, Nic Anthony Calabro, John L. Rodriguez, Traci Timmons, MariaJesus Valdes, James M. Ernst, Josh Miller, George Domenick, Sydia Cedeño, Jeanine Marie Conrad, Caitlin Wickner, Carson Jones, David Ryan, Ignacio Velez, and – making his first appearance SINGING for WIAWTD, their fearless leader, Kevin Clancy. Exceptional performances, all!
Side note: Darknight recently began its 11th season. They just get better with age.