Reviews: Critics Weigh in On World Premiere of Marcus Gardley's Black Odyssey | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: Critics Weigh in On World Premiere of Marcus Gardley's Black Odyssey

Off-Broadway's Classic Stage Company presents Gardley's take on the ancient Greek tale, now following an Iraq War soldier on his way home to Harlem.

Marcus Gardley Courtesy California Shakespeare Theater

Critics are sharing their thoughts on the world premiere of Marcus Gardley's black odyssey. The Classic Stage Company production opened Off-Broadway in the Lynn F. Angelson Theater February 26. Previews began February 9 for the limited run, which continues through March 26.

Gardley has reimagined the classic Greek epic about Odysseus' return from the Trojan War with a blend of mythology and African-American history. Black odyssey follows Ulysses Lincoln, an Iraq War soldier making his way home to modern-day Harlem. As he faces a daunting journey to reunite with his family, Ulysses' ancestors and their buried history help him on his travels.

Read the review here.

The Daily Beast (Tim Teeman)

New York Theatre Guide (Amelia Merrill)

The New York Times (Maya Phillips)*

Talkin' Broadway (James Wilson)

The Wrap (Robert Hofler)*

*This review requires creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

Sean Boyce Johnson (For Life) stars as Ulysses Lincoln, joined by Jimonn Cole (Hillary & Clinton) as Paw Sidin, James T. Alfred (Jitney) as Deus, Tẹmídayọ Amay (School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play) as Benevolence, Harriett D. Foy (Amélie) as Aunt Tee, Marcus Gladney Jr. (Choir Boy) as Malachai Lincoln, Adrienne C. Moore (Orange is the New Black) as Alsendra Sabine, Lance Coadie Williams (Sweat) as Artez Sabine, and D. Woods (For Colored Girls…) as Nella P. Lincoln.

Stevie Walker-Webb (Ain't No Mo') directs the production, which also features set design by David Goldstein, costume design by Kindall Almond, lighting design by Adam Honoré, prop supervision by Alexander Wylie, music direction by Linda Tillery, co-music direction by Molly Holm, choreography by Aquila Kikora Franklin, and assistant direction by PJ Johnnie Jr. Jakob W. Plummer serves as production stage manager and TaTyana Smith as assistant stage manager. Casting is by X Casting and Victor Vazquez.

As part of its Classic Perspective Series, Classic Stage Company is facilitating post-show conversations following select performances.

The play was originally developed and produced at the Denver Center Theatre Company. Classic Stage Company originally planned to present the play last season, but ultimately had to postpone the production due to COVID-19.

For tickets and more information, visit


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