Saturday, January 12, 2019

Theatre Review: Raising a Joyful New Voice in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ‘Choir Boy’

By Jesse Green
The Broadway premiere of Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney's acclaimed drama.
You haven’t seen a character like Pharus before. Certainly not on Broadway. It’s not just that he’s “an effeminate young man of color,” as Tarell Alvin McCraney thumbnails him in the script for “Choir Boy.” But by the time Jeremy Pope, making a sensational Broadway debut in the role, gets through with him, that sketch has been filled in, roughed up and turned inside out — and with it a world of tired ideas about what it means for a man to be strong. When “Choir Boy,” which opened on Tuesday at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, sticks to that idea, focusing on Pharus’s discovery, through exuberant music, of the brawn inside his perceived weakness, it is captivating and fresh. [More]
John Clay III gives Mr. Pope a haircut in one of the play’s most affecting scenes.CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times
Jeremy Pope, center, as the outspoken and talented Pharus, with fellow private school students in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy.”CreditCreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times