The Broadway musical Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk has been described as a tap-dance revue, as a prime piece of performance art, as a boldly revisionist history lesson showing African-American history from the feet up.
With the cast album released on RCA Victor, Playbill On-Line recently asked theatre fans everywhere to share their thoughts on what the Savion Glover/George C. Wolfe musical means to them.
Here is a selection of the results:
From Anthony Braxton:
I wondered if it would work. Would it be another piece of high brow, out
there performance art? Wrong. It worked. Da Noise means that our history
is now heard - it is understood. I wonder about the historical accuracy of
the role of tap in Black history -- but who cares. It moves a person. It
moved me. To sum it up - Da Funk means an audience that didn't know about
the resiliancy of African-Americans in our nation. Da Funk means confrontation
-- confronting an unaware or possibly unwilling audience with
the reality of the skewed representation of a people's history. Da Noise
means celebration -- jubilation. We know the story and the feelings behind
the story as African Americans -- now we celebrate that on a national
That's Da Funk and Da Noise.
From Richard Oliver:
Whether you call it a revue or performance piece, Bring In Da Noise, Bring
In Da Funk is one of the most invigorating musicals I've experienced in a
very long time. Within moments of its opening number, one gets caught up in
the passion and feelings of the piece. There's a whole lot of honest love up
on that stage which sweeps the audience into this invigorating experience and
never lets you go. While other musicals, and a musical it is, spend a lot of
time building to that emotional climax and sometimes succeed, Noise Funk
takes the audience along on a ride one never forgets. Why? Because it's genu
inely full of a whole lot of heart and soul -- and talent. After its
conclusion, it reminded me (after many recent disappointments) why I believe
in the force and joy of musical theatre.
From Jessica Dunning:
I loved the energy and visceral excitement of Noise/Funk, but I wasn't
overwhelmed by the show as most others have been. I'm a great admirer of
George C. Wolfe's work, but Noise/Funk seemed derivative of his earlier Colored
Museum (vignettes of contemporary black experience) and Jelly's Last Jam
(recounting the story of jazz via music and tap dance).
Despite the heroic performances by Savion Glover and the rest of the cast,
Noise/Funk just didn't connect with me emotionally until near the end when the
dancers spoke about their love for tap dancing. This may be partly due to the
show's revue format (not my favorite), but at the same time, the propulsive
dance numbers lacked what one might crassly term as "heart".
I wish I liked the show more; the performances and design elements were simply
From Brad Baker:
Along with Rent, Noise/Funk is the most important piece of theatre to hit
Broadway in decades. Why? I only pray that future seasons will produce
such vibrant, beautiful and breathtaking performances by young artists as
these two shows have offered up. Can you imagine another season which
introduced the mainstream Broadway patrons to performances as raw or as
spirit-filled as those of Savion Glover, Baakari Wilder, Jimmy Tate, Ann
Duquesnay, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, and the
incomparable Daphne Rubin-Vega? These two shows are as historic as they
Enough of the Tony Roberts of the world! Noise/Fun and Rent are the
future and, thank God!, the present of the Broadway theatre! Long live
passion in the theatre!
Yet another introspective view of the African-American influence on the arts
has arrived, courtesy of George C. Wolfe, who jammed Jelly and walked us
through the colored museum before that. This time, Wolfe brings along tap
genuis Savion Glover, and the combination can often be exciting and
unsettling. While the dancing is superb, and the showmanship and energy
evident, much of the show feels misguided, and by the end, among many
inappropriate whoops and hollers (cheers for overt discrimination?), a
chilled blanket settled over some of the audience, this viewer included.
From Philip Stetson:
My wife and I saw the show Friday, August 2nd. It was one of the most
entertaining shows we have seen in years (we see approximately 8 to 10
Broadway and Off Broadway shows per year).
We now have to take our three sons.