Monday, February 6, 2017


A talented trio of fine actors bring to life a raw, riveting and ultimately redemptive drama "Sunset Baby" by Dominique Morisseau at Hartford TheaterWorks until Sunday, February 19. Brittany Bellizeare's Nina has spent decades resenting her father Kenyatta for abandoning her and her mother in favor of a cause.  Now that her mother has died from her addiction to drugs, Nina can't forgive the man she holds responsible.  Her legacy from her mom is a cache of letters written by her mother to her father but never sent and they suddenly have a street value that could change Nina's life forever.

To Nina, the letters are personal and precious.  To her boyfriend Damon, an intense Carlton Byrd, they represent freedom and choice.  By selling them to the highest bidder, he can pay back child support for his seven year old son and then be free to take Nina away to London or wherever she wishes to go, to find sand, seashores and sunsets, a simple life she craves.  Tony Todd's Kenyatta is suddenly at Nina's apartment.  He wants absolution and forgiveness and he wants his wife's letters.

The three circle and lunge, swipe words and punches, scream and cajole, persuade and argue, each with his or her own agenda. The interaction is visceral and violent.  Who will win, everyone or no one?  As real African-American individuals they stand for revolution and change, for parenthood and family, for love and forgiveness. Their story is deep and complex and real and it is felt in every syllable of every word.  Each has made difficult choices and now must face the consequences for those selections.  Reginald L. Douglas directs this darkly textured tale about activism for a revolutionary cause, even if it means sacrifice, prison or even death.

For tickets ($40-65, seniors at Saturday matinee $35, student rush $15 if available), call TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at  Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m.

You will not soon forget the intensity of the struggle between father and daughter and the ocean of conflict that separate them as they frantically swim for shore and safety.

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