Controversial comedian Chris Rock is learning restraint as he makes his Broadway debut.
“When you do stand up or even a movie, it’s like jazz music. With a play, it’s the world of the playwright, so you’re really trying to knock this stuff out. It’s classical music as opposed to jazz,” says Rock, star of “The Motherf**ker With the Hat,” of adjusting to the theatrical stage.
Opening last night for a limited run of 15 weeks at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, the new play by Stephen Adly Guirgis is an explicit and vibrant piece that centers on five characters, each touched in some way by the effects of drugs and alcohol. But don’t let the colorful language of the title mislead you; while it may be funny and filled with drama, the playwright wants the audience “to see some piece of themselves in these characters.”
Under the direction of Broadway veteran Anna D. Shapiro (“August:?Osage County”), Bobby Cannavale, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Annabella Sciorra and Yul Vazquez star alongside Rock in bringing those characters to life. “Initially, you judge these people, but by the end, you have hope for them and you feel like you know all of them,” Rodriguez says.
Vazquez notes that the work involved in bringing to life such complex characters was intense. “To me, the most interesting thing is watching people trying to work out their inner lives,” she says. “It’s also the most difficult to act, because there’s nothing to hide behind.”
It’s a lot of work, Rock agrees: “It’s probably the most work I’ve done in 20 years.” Still, the comedian was drawn to the play because he “could be the first person to do this and be a part of something new.”
Metro also has a review of Chris Rock’s new play, “The Motherf**ker With the Hat.”