The Rolling Stone is playing at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre located at 150 West 65th Street. It runs one hour fifty five minutes with one intermission. The play closes on August 25, 2019.
The play made its world premiere at the Royale Exchange Theatre in England and won the Manchester Theatre Award for best new play. It then moved to London where it won an off-West End Award.
The play takes place in Kampala, Uganda in 2010.
The Rolling Stone newspaper in Kampala published in 2010 pictures and addresses of people suspected of being gay. It was illegal to be gay in Uganda. Homophobia rose due to the Christian Missionaries, mainly from America.
Sam (Robert Gilbert) and Dembe (Ato Blankson-Wood) are on a boat. They are making small talk. Sam is flirting with Dembe. He saved Dembe’s life when he stepped in front of a moving car by grabbing in the nick of time. Sam’s mother is from the area. His father is Irish. He is a doctor and has come to help the people of Kampala.
Dembe father was a minister. He passed away three months ago.
Both men are gay.
They become close and James declares his love for Dembe.
Dembes brother Joe (James Udon) wants to take over his father’s ministry but he has to get the congregation’s approval. Joe and Dembe box each other. It’s his way of making him a man. Joe is broke and his father was in debt. Mama (Myra Lucretia Taylor) tells him one way of getting their approval is to preach strongly against gays. She hopes he can get her daughter Naome (Adenike Thomas) to talk again. She hasn’t spoken in six months. Mama tells Joe her daughter and his brother should marry.
Joe is accepted as the new pastor.
Dembe and his sister Wummie (Latoya Edwards) are close. Joe tells them he can only afford to send one of them to collage and it will be Dembe.
Dembe and Naome go out on the boat but both realize they have nothing in common, but should the get married?
Jim wants Dembe to leave with him. Dembe is afraid to go. Jim keeps taking pictures of them. When Dembe tells him to stop and delete them he said he did. Later he can’t find his phone.
Things are heating up in town against gays. A classmate of Dembe, David picture appears in the paper and he is labeled gay. David is found dead on the side of the road with his head smashed in.
Mama pushes Joe to hold a sermon against gays. She also tells him a secret about her daughter. He gets all fired up practicing his sermon. Dembe tries to convince him God didn’t mean the things he is saying in that way. All hell breaks loose when he tells him he is gay. Wummie come in with The Rolling Stone with his and Sam picture as being gay. She tells them she hears the town coming toward their house.
They all take their hands together to pray.
This is a touching story of a young man who wants to be true to himself with out of fear of being punished for it.
The whole cast does an outstanding performance.
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.