One monkey in a comedy stew

Nia Seward Arrington and Juaquin Bennett in “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show.”
Steven Schnur

The Harlem School of Arts Theatre Department is launching “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” a consistently hilarious, emotionally stirring and beautifully written satirical comedy directed by Artistic Director Alfred Preisser. Written by Donald Evans, “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” is a hilarious foray into 1970 Philadelphia, mixing romance, religion and the declining jazz scene into a completely unique comedic stew. This not-to-be-missed production drama stars HSA’s Young Theatre Alliance Company.

The performance will run from May 13 through 15 at 7 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 3 pm on Saturday and Sundayat the Harlem School of the Arts, The Herb Alpert Center, HSA Theatre, 645 Saint Nicholas Avenue New York, NY 10030. Tickets go on sale April 20, 2016 ($20 in advance, $25 at the door; $18 Group Rates; $10 Students & Seniors). The production is open to the public and suitable for ages 12 and up.

“‘One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show’ is an enthralling, under-produced comic masterpiece animated by quick one-liners that give light to 1970s-era gender and racial stereotypes. Our entire cast and crew are excited to be giving the first production of it in New York in many years,” stated Alfred Preisser, HSA’ artistic director and chair of the Theatre Department.

The action takes place in suburban Philadelphia, where the Reverend Avery Harrison, a Baptist preacher, clings tenaciously to his position in the local black elite. His upwardly mobile philosophy is avidly shared by his wife, Myra whose hilarious malapropisms, continually betray her impoverished origins and by his son, Felix, a private school product. Another jarring note is struck when the Reverend’s countrified niece Beverly, the only daughter of his lately demised brother, arrives from the rural South with the news that she has been left in the custody of Caleb Johnson, a jive-talking, fast-living, macho type who was the partner of Beverly’s father in a disreputable local nightclub. This is a comic force that explores marriage, teen pregnancy, and class warfare in downtown Philly.

Alfred Preisser, New York based writer, director and producer’s credits include, “Archibishop Supreme Tartuffe” starring André De Shields; Melvin Van Peebles’ “Ain’t Supposed To Die a Natural Death,” “King Lear at The Folger Shakespeare Theatre,” and more than 50 professional shows in New York, regionally and Europe.

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