Love and Hip-Hop in MRT’s The Realness

Chris and I caught Merrimack Reparatory Theater’s new show “The Realness” on opening night, and we both really liked it. I bet you would too! Here’s a quick post about why.

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Aspiring journalist and suitor T.O. interviews MC Prima. Photo via Sun Blog.

10 Reasons you should check out The Realness:

1. It’s funny, fresh, sweet, well-acted, and emotionally engaging without being depressing.

2. There’s a lot going on, with themes of gentrification, authentic culture, artistic integrity, gender, class… but it doesn’t feel heavy, and it doesn’t feel obligated to spoon-feed you a message.

3. It’s set in the world of hip-hop in 1996. I think people in my age bracket will especially enjoy the nostalgia factor.

4. It’s a play that’s not about white people. Nothing against white people (I am one), but I bet if you see plays, you’ve seen a lot of plays about, by, and for white people. It’s nice to hear other stories.

5. Related to that, it seems like MRT is clearly trying to expand their audience and the kind of stories they tell. If you want to see more plays that reflect the diversity of our community, you have to vote with your wallet and go see them.

6. You probably can’t go see Hamilton (sigh…), so this might be your best shot at seeing some hip-hop influenced theater.

7. If you don’t like hip-hop or musicals and are hesitating, don’t worry. The whole thing isn’t a musical, it’s just set in the world of hip-hop performers. And I overheard at least one person after the show saying “I wasn’t sure if I should see it, because I don’t know anything about rap, but [detailed glowing review]”.

8. The playwright is award winning and this show is world-premiering here. That’s cool for MRT and for Lowell.

9. Look at this great set. And it’s cooler in person.

10. Cost shouldn’t stop you; they offer $10 tickets next Wednesday for Lowellians. And if you miss that, you can check out discount passes at the library. Also, they’re piloting this rad program of free childcare for one performance each run, this time it’s the 26th.

I hope you’ll check it out! If you do, or if you’ve caught some of MRT’s other new stuff this season, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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