Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Nun to Be Found: Our Lady of 121st Street Spotlights Strong Actors and a Play That's Funny despite Its Flaws. (Theater Review)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Nun to Be Found: Our Lady of 121st Street Spotlights Strong Actors and a Play That's Funny despite Its Flaws. (Theater Review)

Article excerpt

Our Lady of 121st Street * Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis * Directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman * Union Square Theatre, New York City (open run)

Sister Rose was a mean drunk of an Irish nun schoolteacher in Harlem when she fell in the gutter and died. But she'd done so much selfless service in her life that all the kids she ever taught remember her fondly and show up at the funeral home to pay their respects. Only thing is, somebody has stolen the body.

That's where Stephen Adly Guirgis's Our Lady of 121st Street begins. And the play riotously tracks the next 24 hours in the lives of a vaudevillian parade of over-the-top characters, kids from a tough neighborhood having an unscheduled reunion as adults. Rooftop (Ron Cephas Jones) is a successful Los Angeles radio personality who's come back for the funeral mostly hoping to reconnect with his ex-wife, Inez (Portia), who's remarried and has no time for his jive-ass bullshit. Flip (Russell G. Jones) is a lawyer who flies in from Wisconsin, accompanied by his hysterical white actor wanna-be boyfriend, Gail (Scott Hudson). Balthazar (Felix Solis) is a brooding cop with troubles of his own who has stuck close to the hood and is investigating the disappearance of Sister Rose's body. His suspicions focus on "Nasty" Norca (Liza Colon-Zayas), who vividly lives up to her nickname. Rose's niece Marcia (Elizabeth Canavan) shows up and instantly hooks her high-strung neurotic attachment on building superintendent Edwin (David Zayas), whose life revolves around taking care of his brother Pinky (Al Roffe), whom he accidentally beaned with a brick as a kid, leaving him an effusively loving simpleton. …

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