Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rain Pryor's "Fried Chicken and Latkes"

Some time back, I saw a flyer for a special presentation of Rain Pryor's one woman autobiographical show about growing up black and Jewish at the Abingdon Theatre. Hmmm, I thought, this could be interesting. I immediately recalled the actress from the 1980s sitcom Head of the Class and wondered what interesting stories she might have about her father, comic/actor Richard Pryor (1940-2005). When I looked at the dates on the flyer, I was disappointed to see that I had missed the show. 

When the show later moved to the Actor's Temple in midtown, my interest was renewed. But with ticket prices as high as $70, I was again disappointed and never went to see the show...until now. Thanks to 20at20, I finally saw Fried Chicken and Latkes on Sunday. 

Surprisingly, the theater was only about 30-40% full. Even in this slow Broadway/Off Broadway period, attendance seemed unusually sparse. A decent review from the NYT hasn't helped? Ticket prices too high? Lack of interest? Poor marketing? Who knows.

Despite the small audience, 43-year old Ms. Pryor, tamed haired and backed by a 3 piece ban
d, gave us her all in a 60 minute show comprised of monologues and songs about growing up the daughter of a militant Jewish mother and a comic genius father. Absent living in Beverly Hills, Ms. Pryor's show initially offers nothing new about the biracial experience in America. Not fitting in...n-word...puffy hair...yawn, heard all that before. But, lo and behold, when she invokes her father, things changed and it is captivating to watch. Her resemblance to her dad...the way she captures his cadence...briefly remembering the complex legend. Simply amazing for a precious few minutes!

Fans of Richard Pryor and those interested in the biracial experience, if you can score a discount ticket, Fried Chicken and Latkes may be worth squeezing into your schedule. It plays Saturdays through Mondays at the Actors Temple.

Program selections from Fried Chicken and Latkes
  • Song "Life is Fried Chicken & Latkes Too"
  • Rain's Birth
  • Bernice/Bubbe
  • Hair
  • Rain's Mom 1970
  • Ni**er
  • Rain's Mom Tells on Principle [sic?]
  • 1984 High School Bathroom
  • Wanita 
  • Song "I Got It" 
  • Suicide Kinda
  • Mama
  • Song "Mama's Whore House Blues"
  • Richard Pryor
  • The Funeral
  • Preacher Man 
  • [Song] "His Eye is on the Sparrow"
  • Wizard of Oz 
  • We are Junes One Race...Human
  • Song "God Bess the Child"

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