“Turn Me Loose” – A Play About Comic Genius Dick Gregory, Starring Joe Morton

Joe Morton (L) John Carlin (R) in a scene from Turn Me Loose"
Joe Morton (L) John Carlin (R) in a scene from “Turn Me Loose”

Hey you Scandal Fans! Joe Morton (a.k.a. Rowan Pope, your favorite villain) is playing America’s most enduring controversial stand-up comic-turned-activist. Turn Me Loose, A Play About Comic Genius Dick Gregory (Written by Gretchen Law, Directed by John Gould Rubin) serves up a delicious retrospective of Dick Gregory’s ascent from doing stand up in endless night clubs to performing on  television to public activist and health guru (remember The Bahamian Diet?) to Wise Elder and staunch Human Rights advocate. Morton has played a plethora of positive, intelligent and engaging black men with dignity and purpose, including The Brother From Another Planet, but his role as the never-to-be-trusted, dangerous as a knife-in-the-heart power broker, father of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) on Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal has made him a television icon. In Turn Me Loose, Morton transforms from a young Gregory in his early thirties to a wizened octogenarian as he takes us with him on the night club circuit (complete with racist White heckler played by John Carlin) and back to the present with stories and comedic lines brimming with social and spiritual truths. To his credit Morton performs these transformations without bothering with “age make-up” which might otherwise detract from his very thoughtful and engaging performance. In keeping with Gregory’s early focus on Civil Rights, we are reminded of his close friendship with Medgar Evers and how Evers’ death had such a serious influence on his life.Turn Me Loose is a definite MUST SEE both for those familiar with Dick Gregory’s career and for those few folks who are not.

Limited Engagement from Through July 3 • Westside Theatre 407 West 43rd Street, Manhattan

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Ms. Rashid is a freelance writer, dramatist, director, artist and proud grandmother who teaches at CUNY.

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