Cooking With Yesterday's Grease
This production has a few twists and turns and the occasional surprise, one of which is revealed via the personage of Lucinda Bell Mae (Glenda "ToniSteelz" Martinez) former inmate and special woman in Carter's past
The Triad Theater located at 158 West 72nd Street in Manhattan, lent charm and ambiance to the dinner theater atmosphere that served as the perfect backdrop to Jermaine Smith's amusing stage play “Cooking in Yesterday's Grease.”
One gets the sense of a Tyler Perry styled play while immersed in the storyline of this laugh riot that has so much cooking in the grease its a culinary delight. Smith throws everything into his comedic stew wherein the audience gets rear-ended by everything from dueling couples, gender-benders, parental abandonment, self delusion, AIDS, unrequited love, dalliances, and anatomical stocking stuffers.
Sensitive and beleaguered Carter James (Steven Strickland) is trying to improve his finances while at the same time improve his relationship with his bitchy girlfriend Dream (Staxx Cordero) who is more like a nightmare than a dream. In love, Carter is supporting Dream and her children, working two jobs while Dream refuses to do anything. Even though her children are not Carter's, she even expects Carter to pick her kids up at school on top of all the other duties he has. Dream refuses to even clean their basement apartment situated within the home of Carter's Aunt Vye and Uncle Rayford, played respectively by Sharon King and Allen Jenkins, whose own relationship has been tested by an affair Rayford had 20 years prior.
Poor Carter is just a stop over for Dream who is still in love with the father of her children. No matter that Carter worships the ground she walks on and is willing to do anything for her if only Dream would meet him half way. Yet as self-deluding as Carter is, Dream too does not realize she never had it so good. Instead she is pinning for her jailbird boyfriend Kevin portrayed by Dre Foreman. Kevin has his own issues and is not prepared to settle down as the family man Dream desires.
Johnny C (Martinique L. Moore) is the comic relief in Cooking in Yesterday's Grease. Moore has perfect comedic timing and has a penchant for ad libbing it appears since as Johnny C, Moore seemed to catch fellow thespians off guard on occasion prompting them to stifle laughter, especially when Johnny C referred to Dream's pink fur coat as cotton candy.
When you are still laughing about scenes in a play long after leaving the theatre, the playwright and his performers have done their job. I found myself laughing over Johnny C stating that an AIDS test was failed because the recipient of the test got a grade of 65 on the test.
I had fun with this play as did the audience. In fact, a great deal of the amusement stemmed from the audience's reaction. Some who became so engrossed in the storyline, they yelled out warnings and comments to the characters on stage. At times, the audience members were just as funny as the performers, especially those impressed by Aunt Vys' caboose.
This production has a few twists and turns and the occasional surprise, one of which is revealed via the personage of Lucinda Bell Mae (Glenda "ToniSteelz" Martinez) former inmate and special woman in Carter's past.
Cooking with Yesterday's Grease is Mr. Smith's second play and is a spin-off to his previous drama/comedy “A Piece of Me,” (which he wrote under the pseudonym “Jay Everyday,”). “A Piece of Me,” meant a lot to the playwright because it was written while his mother was overcoming an illness and he believes was instrumental in her recovery process. “A Piece of Me,” was also performed at the Playhouse on the Green in Bridgeport, Ct, where it was the first African-American stage play to be performed there in six years. It was also nominated for 5 - 2008 Tiffany Gospel Awards. The play won the 2009 Holla Back Gospel Award for Best Stage Play and also got nominated for Best Stage Play (Writer/Producer), as well as Best Actor in a Stage Play (Brandon Myers); Best Actress in a Stage Play (Ta-Tanishia Pearson); Best Supporting Actress in a Stage Play (Wendy Grissett) and (Sharon King).
“A Piece of Me” will showcase on March 27th at the New York Times Square Arts Center and the next showing of “Cooking with Yesterday's Grease” will be at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, March 6th at the Triad Theater. Tickets for Cooking with Yesterday's Grease are $20.00 in advance and can be obtained by visiting www.theatermania.com, reserving tickets at www.triadnyc.com or calling 718-350-9137.
“Cooking with Yesterday's Grease”will keep you laughing. It's well worth the go-see.