Entertainment

Challenges of Black America Addressed in Satiric Comedy

When The Second City and Woolly Mammoth first collaborated in 2009 with a production of “Barack Stars,” D.C. audiences loved the result.

Now, the long-running, hugely-successful partnership continues in a show that uses satire in order to shed light on “a nation eclipsed by its own divisiveness.”

“Black Side of the Moon” opened on Nov. 12th and continues through January 1st at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Northwest – the third production of its 37th season.

And given the recent election where insults, attacks and derogatory tirades quickly became the norm, this newest production may be just what people need as our divided country seeks ways to both heal and find common ground.

The sketch and stand-up artists featured in the production deconstruct and reconstruct Blackness, employing comedy to illuminate the challenges of the past and the promises of the future while also addressing questions like “where are we headed as a country?”

Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz says the show tackles new ground for the two companies.

“’Black Side of the Moon’ heralds a new direction for The Second City as they shine a spotlight on this rising generation of Black comedians,” Shalwitz said. “We are extremely excited to showcase these young performers and get to know and hear how they navigate their lives and the American political and cultural landscape through a mixture of stand-up and sketch comedy routines.”

“This couldn’t be a more fitting time to have audiences experience this raw and honest snapshot of blackness in America,” he added.

The production looks to Billy Bungeroth who serves as the director and returns to Woolly after previously being involved as part of the writing/directing team for “Let Them Eat Chaos.”

Ensemble members, all new to the Woolly Mammoth stage, include Sonia Denis, Dave Helem, Dewayne Perkins, Torian Miller and Felonius Monk.

Denis has secured a dedicated following in Chicago, performing at some of the city’s most popular venues. Helem has also found success in the comedy world, touring with Hannibal Burress and Tony Rock and performing at the 2015 Oddball Comedy Festival.

Perkins, who also creates original shows for his company, Bleep That Bleep, bears the distinction of being the inaugural recipient of Second City’s Bob Curry Fellowship.

Munk appears regularly on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central while Miller often performs as a member of Blood Oath, a sketch comedy and improvisation group, as well as The Cupid Players.

In addition to their Wednesday through Sunday schedule of performances, there will also be a special New Year’s Eve show followed by an “out-of-this-world” VIP party as the audience, cast and crew ring in 2017.

For more information about Woolly’s 37th season and the show, go to www.woollymammoth.net.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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