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  Turn Me Loose at Arena Stage

Turn Me Loose

Arena Stage
1101 Sixth Street, SW Washington

This intimate and no-holds-barred drama chronicles Dick Gregory's rise as the first Black comedian to expose audiences to racial comedy. His comedy spared no one including politicians, celebrities and the white supremacists who were part of his regular audience. In confronting bigotry head-on with biting humor and charm, Gregory turned his activism into an art form, risking his own safety at each performance. "Scorchingly funny and brilliant" (The New York Times), Turn Me Loose is an exuberant and raw tribute to Gregory's life as a civil rights activist, comic genius and unapologetic provocateur.

Thru - Oct 14, 2018

Stage: Kreeger Theater

Box Office: 202-488-3300

  Turn Me Loose Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Washington Post - Recommended

"...You can't call "Turn Me Loose" refreshingly artful, but it's efficient, and it feels like an accurate portrait of the chronicler and front-line political participant (he ran for Chicago mayor and for president in the 1960s). It's also, as the finger-snapping audience response demonstrates, an indictment of present times that have not yet made his commentary irrelevant."
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Nelson Pressley

BroadwayWorld - Somewhat Recommended

"...Given all of that could be said about Gregory, it's unfortunate that Playwright Gretchen Law's script isn't very well balanced or very theatrical in construction (at least for me). A good portion of the play's proceedings involve recreations of Dick Gregory's (Edwin Lee Gibson) appearances in various venues. Law's script attempts to show us the bigotry he faced while on stage. Law's setting shifts back and forth between the 1960's and 2017 which is the year Gregory left us for good. For varying reasons, as Gregory grew older, the more bitter he became."
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Elliot Lanes

Talkin Broadway - Recommended

"...Director John Gould Rubin maintains a rhythm like a heartbeat throughout the performance, which also features John Carlin as a succession of interviewers and foul-mouthed hecklers. Christopher Barreca's scenic design and Stephen Strawbridge's lighting design place Gregory in a performance space of microphones, chairs, and vivid red and blue accent lights; Susan Hilferty has costumed him in a simple black suit and white shirt."
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Susan Berlin

DC Metro Theater Arts - Recommended

"...Fans of stand-up and more traditional theater-goers alike will find something to love about this production of Turn Me Loose, which was originally co-produced by John Legend Off-Broadway in 2016. Since then, this theatrical dramatization of the life of Mr. Dick Gregory has found great success in New York City and throughout the United States. Tts homecoming to the birthplace of Mr. Gregory in Washington, D.C. is a first class addition."
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Beatrice Loayza

DCTheatreScene - Highly Recommended

"...Dick Gregory was a genius. And this show captures his brilliance with mesmerizing effect. Moving and funny, Turn Me Loose is a necessary, authentic, and satisfying portrait of a man and the America he dared to confront. It also feels a shade shy of dangerous. Just like Gregory himself, sitting in a segregated Mississippi diner, challenging a trio of white men to come at him."
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Kelly McCorkendale

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