REVIEWS & NEWS
By STEVEN OXMAN - Friday, June 15th, 2012
Stovall smartly wastes little time in getting his story moving. Jesse (Phillip James Brannon) comes home for the wedding of his youngest brother Tony (Kamal Angelo Bolden). He has offered the services of his Swedish "friend" Kristian (Patrick Sarb) as photographer. With the urging of his half-sister Ronnie (Cynda Williams), the living embodiment of their father's own secret flaws, and lesbian neighbor and wise-cracking sidekick Nina (J. Nicole Brooks), Jesse goes about informing Tony and then Evy about his real relationship with Kristian.
TIME OUT CHICAGO
By Kris Vire
An impending wedding brings together four adult siblings at their Hyde Park family home in Paul Oakley Stovall’s smart new situation dramedy, which cleverly deals in evolving ideas of marriage and family. Youngest brother Tony (Kamal Angelo Bolden) is the groom-to-be, but the play’s main focus is on middle sib Jesse (Phillip James Brannon), returning home for the first time in years. Jesse, who hasn’t come out to Tony or older sister Evy (Shanésia Davis), is bringing boyfriend Kristian (Patrick Sarb)—in the guise of a wedding photographer.
Chris Jones - June 11th, 2012
And Phylicia Rashad, who played that show's Clair Huxtable, shows a laudable insistence on high stakes, a fast-paced, rich comic business and characters into which stellar Chicago actors can sink their talents. She directs this show with a rich focus on the complexities of love and the most striking comedic vivacity. "Immediate Family," essentially a pre-Broadway tryout staged by commercial producers in rented space at the Goodman Theatre, just bursts with life.
CHICAGO SUN TIMES
By Hedy Weiss - June 10, 2012
In “Immediate Family,” playwright Paul Oakley Stovall zestfully hangs out every last piece of “dirty laundry” belonging to the (mostly) black bourgeois clan who gather for a wedding at their grand home in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
by Kerry Reid
Attention, fans of Lydia Diamond's Stick Fly: Paul Oakley Stovall's Immediate Family delivers more of the same, with a difference. Like Diamond, Stovall sets his dramedy about squabbling black siblings in a well-to-do enclave (Hyde Park), using a biracial relationship and a father's philanderings as flash points. But Stovall also confronts the thorny issue of black homophobia.
NEW CITY CHICAGO
by Zach Freeman
What starts as a rather sitcomy family comedy/drama (complete with John Iacovelli’s appropriately upper-middle class interiors and Ana Kuzmanic’s contemporary costumes) quickly transforms into a much deeper exploration of family, belonging and acceptance. Playwright Paul Oakley Stovall has created a script that is not only relevant to the current political climate but also incredibly entertaining. Under the direction of Phylicia Rashad, the dialogue pops as familial battles (mostly involving racism and marriage equality) play out over the course of this quick ninety-five-minute show.
by John Olson
With a trio of active Broadway producers and direction by Broadway and TV star Phylicia Rashad, this new play by Paul Oakley Stovall has the firepower to support its announced hopes for a Broadway run. And Stovall couldn't ask for better performances, surer direction or a more handsome set to put his play across to audiences.
by Alex Huntsberger
... most importantly, it’s Rashad’s direction that makes the play work. The sense that love is ever present, no matter how bad things get and that a good laugh is always right around the corner, means that while the play might not dig as deep as it wants to, it certainly keeps moving better than it should. Like the fabled Cosby sweaters of old, it’s a little bit ridiculous but it’s also incredibly comfortable.
STAGE & CINEMA
by Dan Zeff
Immediate Family has whiffs of A Raisin in the Sun (which Rashad directed to great acclaim in Los Angeles) and August: Osage County, both admirable role models. As new plays go, there is much to admire in the writing and presentation.
AROUND THE TOWN CHICAGO
by Alan Bresloff
While it does have a sit-com feel to begin with, as we get to meet all the characters, we begin to see the realism of the plot and subplots in Stovall’s tale. The Bryant family is upper middle class, living in a wonderful home in Hyde Park. The matriarch of the family is Evy ( Shanesia Davis). Living in the house with her is brother Tony ( a delightful performance by Kamal Angelo Bolden) who is about to get married. Another brother, Jesse ( deftly handled by Phillip James Brannon) is coming home for the wedding and ha sinvited his friend , a photographer , to come and do the pictures. Next door, is Nina (a delightful J.Nicole Brooks) and another half sister, Ronnie ( a powerful performance by Cynda Williams) has arrived for the nuptials as well.