Growing up gay in the ghetto of West Philadelphia in the late 70’s with his alpha male brothers and tell-it-like-it-is sister dragging on Newports along with his very supportive mother and not so supportive stepfather and various distinctive relatives in tow, nerdy Colman Domingo probably never imagined being on Broadway in “Passing Strange” where he played three very different characters that brought me to describe his performance as “mesmerizing”.
In A Boy and His Soul, a solo show which Mr. Domingo has written and also stars in at the Vineyard Theatre, playing all of the above mentioned characters, we get an insight into this coming of age and coming out story with a sound track of vintage soul, R&B and disco music by Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, The Commodores, James Brown and Michael Jackson among others. Very nice touch.
A perfect performer in the perfect theatre with a perfect show. A Boy and His Soul is a combination of stand up confessional and juke box musical that is always interesting and entertaining. And a great tribute to his mother. Mr. Domingo has a commanding presence and is irresistible. It is impossible not to like him and go along with his family history where he sometimes plays a scene being three characters at once.
It all takes place in the cluttered basement of his parent’s home which has to be cleaned out in order for the house to be sold. The dusty white Christmas tree, Disco Ball and the many vinyl recordings that he grew up with and that were so important to his family bring back memories that Mr. Domingo shares with us in this one and a half hour glimpse into the life that has brought him to here and now.
At the performance I attended, Mr. Domingo no sooner had three or four words out of his mouth when a cell phone went off. He stopped. Smiled. Said he would wait. Which he did and then restarted the show with a vengeance. It was a beautiful moment and a great performance.
Despite a persistent cough that was bothering him he sang and danced and told his stories with humor, sensitivity and expert showmanship. I wanted him to be singing all these wonderful songs to completion and not just highlighting aspects of his growing up.
It is finely directed by Tony Kelly with much attention to detail. Choreography by Ken Roberson and terrific lighting design by Marcus Doshi and great sound design by Tom Morse all help the evening move along smoothly. As smooth as all those wonderful soul songs of the 70’s. Tickets $55.00