JITNEY (SOUTH COAST REP/PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 78% – SWEET

Charlie Robinson in August Wilson’s “Jitney” at South Coast Repertory. Credit: Henry DiRocco.

SWEET
Director Ron OJ Parson’s near-optimum current staging at South Coast Repertory unearths the rich humor, mingled with nearly unbearable poignance, that is also typical of Wilson’s work.
F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times

SWEET
At South Coast Repertory, director Ron OJ Parson’s “Jitney” is more somber and less flamboyant than McClinton’s was, but it is equally effective.
Paul Hodgins – Backstage

SWEET
As far as JITNEY is concerned, South Coast Repertory has chosen a perfectly dynamic way to end their 2011-2012 season, courtesy of a top-notch cast, led by SCR vet Charlie Robinson.
Peter A. Balaskas – LASplash

SWEET
There’s a father-son conflict at the heart of “Jitney,” as in Wilson’s “Fences,” which SCR revived in 2010. If the former ultimately packs less of an emotional wallop than the latter, don’t sell it short; there is much to savor under Ron OJ Parson’s sharp direction. Charlie Robinson and Larry Bates, who co-starred here in ‘Fences,” display their chemistry once more; Ellis E. Williams almost steals the show as a gossipy old man.
Jordan Young – LA Examiner

SWEET
There’s beautiful language here and powerful emotion that shines through within the lives of these men.
Brian – OutWestArts

SWEET
In August Wilson’s play-per-decade journey through the 20th Century, Jitney is the only one of the ten scripts set at the time it was written. The currency that gives the dialogue and characters is echoed in director Ron OJ Parson’s respectful, respectable production on South Coast Repertory’s main stage (through June 10).
Cristofer Gross – TheaterTimes

BITTER
As a play, August Wilson’s Jitney has genuine sizzle, maybe even greatness within its reach. It would be wonderful to see its greatness revealed. Here, admittedly, it gets somewhat better as it moves towards its hopeful but touching conclusion, but, in stubbornly resisting its potential, it is, alas, a fizzle
Harvey Perr – Stage and Cinema

BITTERSWEET
Prior to the opening night performance, artistic director Sheldon Epps and a colleague celebrated their “diversity program” as a reason why Jitney was produced. Times are tough, but wouldn’t a new production or a new play have been more celebratory? It isn’t as if August Wilson is already an acclaimed and well-produced playwright. Oh, that’s right. It’s the economy, stupid.
Macho Show Queen – Los Angeles Magazine

SWEET
The result is an astute and detailed character study that dramatizes the lives of men hustling to make a living as cab drivers in a poor part of town. It’s also a superbly entertaining drama, its language rich with the unique idiom of the day.
Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

SWEET
This Jitney should catch on.
Don Shirley – LA Stage Times

BITTERSWEET
Overall, the show plays like an episode of a Norman Lear sitcom of the same era, and – judging by the enthusiastic laughter from the audience on opening night – maybe it achieves that goal.
Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics

SWEET
The ensemble cast is a joy to watch as every situation is relatable, young lovers trying to gain a better life but dealing with issues of trust and not spending enough time together, co-workers not getting along but having to work side by side, alcoholism and issues between father and son.
Phyllis Thomas – LA Examiner

SWEET
“Jitney” is warm, charming, funny, direct, angry, wrenching, and as deeply satisfying a play as one will find.
Frances Baum Nicholson – The Stage Struck Review

SWEET
It was well worth staying up late on a Thursday night.
Deborah Howell – Topanga Studios

SWEET
This humorous production at the Pasadena Playhouse until 15 July 2012 originally opened at South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa and is a welcome educational flashback to a poignant past.
Jana Monji – LA Examiner

BITTER
Opening night audience was in for the long haul, but the very real pain of the length of the show makes for less than a fun evening. Bring a pillow.
Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles

BITTERSWEET
And while the South Coast production nails the tone, it struggles to handle this weight and the emotional depth of the conflict between Becker and his son. Wilson’s words feel leaden and the mercurial shifts from anger to love to betrayal don’t have the dynamic punch required.
Anthony Byrnes – KCRW

SWEET
Filled with the gritty textures of its time, the play does something today’s artists should emulate — reveal just how rooted we are in our uniquely styled moment of history.
Charles McNulty – LA Times

JITNEY
South Coast Repertory’s Segerstrom Stage
655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m.
Saturdays; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays; Ends June 10, 2012
Tickets: $20-$68; (714) 708-5555
Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

At the Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena.
June 21 through July 15, 2012; 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: $20-$100; (626) 356-7529

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