Friday, April 25, 2008

Go See Lawrence Fishburne in Thurgood on Broadway

I may be in the Broadway theatre ticket business for over 31 years now, but I seem to be going to see more shows than ever. This is most likely due to the benefits we enjoy being "in the business" and getting invited to most new plays and musicals. This week, our office at Applause Theatre Service in New York City was invited to 5 new Broadway shows. These productions are trying to open in time to be eligible to win some Tony Awards for "excellence in the Broadway Theatre". The award nominations are announced on May 13, 2008 and the Tony Awards take place on June 15 , 2008.

In the days ahead I will be blogging on my experience at these newer shows but for now I wanted to talk about Thurgood, a new play that stars Lawrence Fishburne, in a one man show. I saw it Tuesday night and to be honest, I don't remember ever before enjoying "one man or one woman shows" before. This time, however, I must say that I really enjoyed myself at the Booth theater. let me share with you why the night was a special one.

I remember back in school having to do a large research paper on Thurgood Marshall, the former Supreme Court Justice. The project required lots of research and study time and I felt that I really needed to attend this show, even if just to recall the subject matter.

Prior to his starring role in this production on Broadway, Lawrence Fishburne was seen on Broadway earlier in his career in 1992. The show was August Wilson's Two Trains Running for which Mr. Fisburne won a best acting award.

The other night, my wife and I were sitting in the front of the orchestra and enjoyed seeing Lawrence Fishburne's "storytelling" of Thurgood Marshall, who was the first black member of the U.S. Supreme Court . Justice Marshall died in 1993.

This show was written extremely well by George Stevens Jr. and officially opens to critic's reviews on April 30, 2008, in time for the Tony Awards nominations. The shows director is Leonard Foglia.

Thurgood tells the story of a young man who came from the streets of Baltimore and after overcoming several obstacles in his career, personal life and other issues regarding blacks in society at the time, manges to rise to become the first black Supreme Court Justice of the United States. Mr. Fishburne does a fine job in simply telling us who Thurgood Marshall really was as he stands in the front of the stage telling us many stories of his life.

He talks about his personal life, first wife "Buster" who died from cancer after 25 years of marriage, also having to have gone through three miscarriages as well. He remarries Cissy and they had three children together, one being Thurgood Marshall Jr. who became a top aide to former President Clinton. Another son was the Director of the U.S Marshall Service.

Justice Marshall's life long goal was to try to "stamp out" the segregation that had existed between whites and blacks. Although he was denied admission to the University of Maryland Law School, he attended Howard University and after graduation manged to defend a client who was denied admission to The University of Maryland also. He won that case as a professional attorney and managed to have a career where he sued the government and won 14 of 19 cases, the most by any lawyer.

Some years down the road, Mr. Fishburne still eagerly sharing his busy life stories with us, tells of a phone call he received from President Lyndon Johnson asking him to becoming Solicitor General of the United States. This, of course was Johnson's steppng stone approach to getting Justice Marshall on the road to become the first black Supreme Court Justice of the United States. Just imagine, you start out in life as the grandson of a slave and then one day you become promoted to become the nation's first black Justice of the Supreme Court.

Most people that know me, also know that I enjoy all types of theatre-plays, musicals, comedies, just about anything at all really. That may be true but I often think that lots of theatre-goers simply want to see a famous actor or maybe the show that everyone is talking about. You know, Wicked or Jersey Boys or the up and coming import from London that is the next year's anticipated smash hit already called Billy Elliot.

Most of our customers at Applause Theatre Service may want these "flashy shows" but my suggestion is to consider buying yourself a ticket for a really unique show like Thurgood. Thurgood is a very brief 90 minutes with no intermission and you get to be wiitness to Lawrence Fishburne, an extremely talented film and stage actor portraying Justice Marshall's dynamic life and in a very dramatic fasion as well.

Ordinarily I might not have been interested in seeing this one man show but I kept thinking about that research paper I mentioned I had to write in school. I recalled how this man changed life for so many that were affected by segregation and when you see all of this playing out on stage, it really had an impact on me, all over again. Could things have really been so "out of sync" in those times? Thanks to Thurgood Marshall for bringing about equal rights for people.

And thanks to Lawrence Fishburne for taking the time out of his busy film schedule and personal life to bring this "play to life" on Broadway. I really enjoyed my night at the theatre and I know you will as well.

If I can help you with tickets for Thurgood, give me a call at 212-307-7050 or toll free at 1-800-451-9930. If you prefer email, mine is Simply ask for Rich Gladstone, the ticket guy, not to be confused with Rich Gladstone, the "critic" who just loves going to the theatre.

Stay tuned for my next review of The Country Girl, starring Morgan Freemen, Peter Gallagher and Frances McDormand. Coming soon.

Talk to you soon theatre friends.

Rich Gladstone/Applause Theatre Service
311 west 43rd street, suite 601
NY, NY 10036

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