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Emerging Artists Theatre Company
Theatre 5 – Feb. 7 - March 4, 2007

McDaniel's remarkable life, career and controversy are examined in the fascinating new play by Joan Ross Sorkin. 
The script is impressively worthy of its material, and manages to avoid the traps that so often plague one-person shows. Even more impressive is how the play manages to be fresh, vibrant and vital…It might easily have fallen from drama to lecture, but Sorkin's script is rife with conflict, and her McDaniel, as portrayed by star-in-the-making Capathia Jenkins is intense and passionate.
Jenkins is a veritable volcano of energy. And when she explodes, raging like Lear on the heath, she perfectly punctuates each emotional moment, setting us up for the next stretch of the roller-coaster ride…a tour-de-force performance.

Seconds after Capathia Jenkins delivered her last line as Hattie McDaniel, people were rising to their feet to applaud her compassionate and lovable portrayal. Jenkins' performance conveys a wonderful humility and strength.  She is powerful, sincere and instantly likable. 
Sorkin's script accomplishes the remarkable feat of conveying history without being didactic. The story remains interesting throughout, and Sorkin peppers the reminiscences with little jokes here and there to keep things from getting too heavy, in what is of course a serious situation.

The indomitable Capathia Jenkins recently dazzled Broadway audiences with a solo in which she commanded, "Let a big black lady stop the show."  She went on to do exactly that.  Now Jenkins has resurfaced as Hattie McDaniel.  Jenkins plays McDaniel with conviction and grace, and her best moments, perhaps unsurprising, surface when she embodies McDaniel in song. Naturally bright-eyed and bubbly, with an enormous smile that reflects the spotlight, Jenkins, as McDaniel, unabashedly glows when remembering the exultation of a live audience. Her throaty, rangy voice unflinchingly probes the dark, complex corridors that lined McDaniel’s life.

Playwright Joan Ross Sorkin's clever framework gives McDaniel fervent motivation to tell her story. This smart and persuasive drama reveals the complex history behind one of Hollywood's most important actresses. 

Astonishingly talented...[Capathia Jenkin’s] intense commitment to the material allows her to inhabit Hattie.

Capathia Jenkins miraculously brings the Academy Award-winning actress to life…Sorkin’s words masterfully capture the ups and downs of McDaniel’s life, and director David Glenn Armstrong calls forth an amazing performance from Jenkins in her first dramatic role.

Joan Ross Sorkin’s absorbing new play shares McDaniel’s story and sheds light on her heroic struggle to forge an acting career and maintain her dignity in a time when the only roles black women were as maids and mammies. An outstanding Capathia Jenkins plays the resilient McDaniel in Sorkin’s one-woman show…[a] vivid portrayal of McDaniel.

Jenkins embraces the role of McDaniel, both physically and emotionally. Her sensual, soulful rendition of “St. Louis Blues” and other snippets of song had the audience wanting to hear more. Jenkin’s textured performance makes McDaniel’s personal drama as immediate a lesson in history, race relations and Hollywood culture as you can get.

HI! DRAMA (Channel MNN57 (TV):
An evocative, informative, insightful examination [of the life of Hattie McDaniel.] It's the best thing I've seen in quite a while.



The Hattie McDaniel Story




The Hattie McDaniel Story

By Joan Ross Sorkin


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