Do I Look Like Him?

Plenty of people conduct a lifelong search for their missing father. In this country, sometimes it seems like about half of us are wondering where that deadbeat went. So in that sense, playwright W. Allen Taylor is no exception. Both he and his absent parent are exceptionally interesting, though: The father was the first black radio DJ in Cleveland in the 1950s, and the son wrote and stars in a play about the whole shebang. Walkin' Talkin' Bill Hawkins ... In Search of My Father is the result, and its appeal includes the title character's storefront radio station, where he spun wax platters. Like Mister Señor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson) in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, Hawkins talked to the people walking by and blasted his show through a loudspeaker out to everyone waiting at the bus stop out front. His rhyming style and deep roots in his community were well loved, Taylor finds, and were widely imitated. The solo show continues as Taylor searches for the voice of his father -- no known recordings exist -- and plays the many characters he speaks with along the way. You've figured it out already, but the musical accompaniment isn't too shabby on this one, either, with Booker T. & the M.G.s, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, and more.
Feb. 14-March 2, 2008

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