Catching the tail end of black history month, Theatre Outrageous finishes the New York premiere of Tracey Wilson's satire on stereotypes, Exhibit No. 9 on March 16. The show was supposed to run until March 18, but the death of the father of actor Regge Allan Bruce forced the company to close the show two days early. Performances began Feb. 25 at the West End Theatre, with Lenora Pace directing. Bruce will be in the final show but has to leave town after that for the funeral.
Exhibit No. 9 is the over-achieving James clan, the "perfect black family" as matriach Betty, a combination Claire Huxtable/Lady Macbeth type, wishes them to be billed. But the cracks in the squeaky-clean veneer are there: Jason, their son, is a law school dropout with sitcom stardom on his mind, while daughter Melissa slips slowly out of reality. And father Eddie, Sr. hides the biggest secret of all. A Greek chorus of ethnic stereotypes throughout time interact with the family.
Wilson's Leader of the People was produced by New Georges Theatre in spring 1999. She also collaborated with director Pace on I Don't Know Why That Caged Bird Won't Shut Up.
The cast features Jeanine T. Abraham, Keith Adkins, Christopher Kirk Allen, Sarah Brockus, Regge Allan Bruce, Magaly Colimon, Jeff Croteau, Patricia R. Floyd, H. Howard Heard, Jamie Heilein, Mike Hodge, Tracey A. Leigh, LaDonna Mabry, Karim Sekou, Michael Thibeault and L. Trey Wilson.
Designing Exhibit No. 9 are Sebastien Grouard (sets), Melissa Anne Blizzard (costumes) and Brendan Gray (lighting). Tickets are $12. The West End Theatre 263 West 86th Street. For reservations, call (212) 726-3588.
-- By Christine Ehren