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gun & powder Named
New York Times Critics' Pick


The reviews are in, and GUN & POWDER has been named a New York Times Critics' Pick! The production runs through May 5th at Paper Mill Playhouse. Click here for tickets.

From Naveen Kumar, The New York Times:

The title of “Gun & Powder,” a thrillingly original new musical about mixed-race twin sisters who cut a path through Texas in 1893, refers to their travel essentials: a shrewd parting gift from their sharecropping mother and a touch of makeup to brighten their toasted-ivory complexions.

The legend of Mary and Martha Clarke, who purportedly robbed white people while themselves passing for white, stretches back generations for the show’s book writer and lyricist, Angelica Chéri. She based this rousing Western, now playing at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., on her great-great-aunts. (“But you know how family stories do,” sings a gospel Greek chorus of narrators, “so we believe the story is mostly true.”)

With a wide-ranging, powerhouse score by Ross Baum, “Gun & Powder” refashions a classic myth of the American West — white men who fancy themselves above the law — into an irresistible revenge fantasy: Mary and Martha, who go from toiling in the fields to coolly stealing money made off their ancestors’ backs, aren’t outlaws but vigilantes, exacting justice for the crime of slavery.

It’s another triumph that their extraordinary history, directed with vibrant panache by Stevie Walker-Webb, assumes the form of a big-throated American musical filled with star-making roles for Black women.

Read the full review here.

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