Tuesday, November 14, 2023



Seikou Laidlow, Sebastian Arroyo, Katherine George and Quinn M. Johnson(photo credit: Jamie-Kraus-Photography)


A Pennsylvania truck stop called Clyde’s is the setting for this ‘most popular play’ to have been created by playwright Lynn Nottage. 

     This playwright is the first woman to have received not one, but two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. She received the first for “Ruined” and the second for “Sweat.”    

     “Ruined” describes the struggles of Congolese women during war. 

     “Sweat” revolves around a group of friends who have spent their lives working at the factory, who find themselves at odds with one another when a strike breaks out. 

     Nottage also wrote the book for “MJ, the Musical,” on Broadway. It’s a jukebox musical which features the music of Michael Jackson, and which plays the Buell Theatre next April.   Nottage was previously best known for her play, “Intimate Apparel,” that’s about a black seamstress in the early 1900s.

     This production of Clyde’s owes much to the technical staff at the DCPA.  The kitchen of this truck stop/diner is given a realistic look, feel and even smell by scenic designers Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay!  The employees of Clyde’s cook sandwiches on the grill that steam and sputter throughout the show. 

     Sound designer Chris Lane’s choices for the musical bridges between scenes, provide the superlative heartbeat of the play! 

     The lighting design of maestro Charles R. MacLeod, who has designed over 300 DCPA productions since 1983, electrifies!

     Samantha C. Jones’ costume design is spot on!

     Brianna Buckley plays Clyde, the raunchy and abusive manager of this diner. As Clyde Ms. Buckley is sexy and demanding. However… one might wish that their portrayal of this character had more ‘teeth!’ 

     Quinn M. Johnson plays Jason, a walking powder keg, who recently released from prison, has a tattooed body that shouts ‘white supremacist.’ Although all of the characters have their ‘moments,’ Johnson’s performance in the role of Jason, is the most consistently riveting.

    Sebastian Arroyo’s portrayal of Rafael really makes us feel his rage! Mr. Arroyo is at his best in a scene in which he has been ‘stood up’ by Katherine George’s amiable Letitia , and who resorts to addictive behavior to soften the blow!

      Katherine George gives a solid performance as Letitia, the only female worker in the kitchen.

     The heart-opening performance of Sekou Laidlow in the role of Montrellous is the placid voice of gentle reason at the heart of the play. 

     The goal of constantly trying to create the ‘most delicious sandwich’ is an excellent metaphor for these characters’ trying to lift themselves out of a life of lack and degradation. It allows us to see, smell and almost taste these characters’ passion to free themselves from the drudgery and abuse of CLYDE’S.

     Though not the best of this season’s productions so far, it’s worth a peek. 


For tickets call 303-893-4100 or go online to denvercenter.org