Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The first production from LCT3, Lincoln Center's initiative to offer new works from emerging artists at commonly affordable prices ($20), is a solo hip-hop musical by and performed by 24 year-old Matt Sax. I wish I liked it more. Or, frankly, at all. While LCT should be commended for stepping outside the cultural box, and Sax clearly has a talent for bustin' rhymes, Clay is deficient as a piece of theatrical writing, lacking discernible conflict until halfway through the show. Sax isn't especially accomplished at delineating character either, and the story he means to tell here of a dysfunctional suburban home life comes off rather whiny when set to a music form that grew out of urban marginalization. While the piece has been given the best staging that could be hoped for (under Eric Rosen's direction) the show's only urgency comes from the hope that its hip-hop music is potential bait for new audiences. But it'd been far better if said new audiences had seen BASH'd earlier this year, a show which ably put rap and hip-hop to stageworthy use in service of legitimate, well-crafted musical theatre.