The Hot Wing King is playing at the Signature Theatre located at 480 West 42nd Street. It runs two hours and twenty minutes with one intermission. The play closes on March 22, 2020.
Emilo Sosa is costume designer. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2013 for Porgy and Bess.
The place is Memphis. The time now.
We are in a home, Cordell (Toussaint Jeanlouise) is cooking wings. The annual Hot Wang Festival is the next day. He plans to be in it. Cordell is cooking different flavors chicken wings. Isom (Sheldon Best) is tasting the different baskets on the kitchen that have the different flavors. He makes comments on the ones he doesn’t like.
Isom acts very feminine.
Cordell asks Big Charles (Nicco Annan) to help but he was to busy watching a game on tv.
Dwayne (Korey Jackson) come into the room. We find out it’s his house.
Cordell tells everyone what they have to do to help him. Isom has to stir the pot counter clock wise for five hours
Outside TJ (Eric B> Robinson Jr.) hands Dwayne a small plastic bag.
Dwayne goes back into the house and gets a call. He has to go back to work give to give a coworker the key to the office. He returns with EJ (Cecil Blutcher) his nephew. His mother killed herself and his dad TJ isn’t the best dad. Cordell has a fight with Dwayne about EJ staying with them. He left his wife and grown sons to be with Dwayne. He didn’t want to start another family.
EJ runs away. Cordell goes looking for him.
While Cordell is gone Isom adds some spice from the shelf into the pot.
Act two Big Charles pack the chicken to take to the festival rest of the cooking. All is well until Cordell taste the chicken. It is hot as hell. Isom put in the pot the hottest spice into the chicken.
As the play goes on, we learn more about Cordell, Dwayne TJ & EJ. No spoilers especially on what happens at the Hot Wang Festival.
The fist half of the first act was going nowhere for me. It was silly but in a stupid way. But as it progresses into the second act it becomes very enjoyable and a delight to watch. The characters have more substance.
The cast was outstanding. Toussaint Jeanlouise, and Sheldon Best shined.
Michael Carnahan set was impressive.
I give it *** ½ stars.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.