I am always inspired by stage performances, especially when the performance calls for true grit and emotion from a talented ensemble cast. Between Riverside and Crazy did just that as I witnessed distinct characters unleash their passions and fears and this past Friday at the Second Stage Theatre (New York).
The Off-Broadway play by Stephen Adly Guirgis stars the fan-favorite and Tony nominated Stephen McKinley Henderson, and is based on his character, Walter “Pops” Washington. Pops is a recent widower and retired cop who tries to hold on to his rent-stabilized Manhattan apartment (along Riverside Drive, of course), in spite of City Hall and his former cop comrade.
His tenancy is threatened as part of an eight-year long legal battle against the City, where Pops remains adamant in his exaggerated case of police brutality (yes, a cop alleging violence against another cop) in an effort to get more money in his lawsuit against the City.
Self-pity is the day-to-day for Pops and, in his old age, he’s rather eager to kick the bucket. He plays host to his ex-con son and his sketchy friends—all of whom refer to him as ‘Dad’— and cares for each of them in his own unique and cold-hearted way.
Oswaldo, played by longtime New Yorker, Victor Almanzar, shares the opening scene with Pops and he turns out to be one of the characters I found most interesting. Oswaldo is an emotional, but hurt, being that expresses an almost child-like love and admiration for Pops. With an absent father and criminal past, Oswaldo confides in Pops and, without giving too much away, turns to violence triggered by the pain and rejection from his real father.
Between Riverside and Crazy features a culturally diverse cast and touches on relatable issues of morality, love and friendship. I enjoyed the performance and would highly recommend you check out the play, which runs through March 22, 2015 at the Second Stage Theatre, located at 307 West 43 St. at 8th Ave. in New York City.
If you’re under the age of 30 you can secure for Youth priced tickets at this venue, so be sure to purchase tickets directly from the theatre’s site for the best deal.
Enjoy this preview, and hopefully the show!
UPDATE: Off-Broadway Week is coming soon! From February 23 through March 8 get 2-for-1 tickets to Between Riverside and Crazy, and other Off-Broadway plays.