Stage Review

Seven Guitars (2006)

EW's GRADE
C+

Details Opening Date: Aug 24, 2006; Lead Performances: Kevin Carroll, Cassandra Freeman, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Brenda Pressley and Lance Reddick...; Writer: August Wilson; Director: Ruben Santiago-Hudson

In its first New York revival, August Wilson's Seven Guitars (the '40s entry in the late dramatist's 10-play, 100-year chronicle of black life in 20th-century America) unspools in what feels like geologic time, sometimes with the muddy luxuriance of a blues solo, often with the ponderous noodling of a bad blues solo. The story — in which success spells doom for ambitious guitarist Floyd ''Schoolboy'' Barton (inhabited cadaverously by The Wire's Lance Reddick) — is a series of riffs, but grand opera is what director Ruben Santiago-Hudson has in mind. The result is an epic mismatch.

Originally posted Aug 25, 2006 Published in issue #894 Sep 01, 2006 Order article reprints
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