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Bridge & Tunnel at The Helen Hayes Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Bridge & Tunnel
Written and Performed by
Sarah Jones

Presented by Eric Falkenstein, Michael Alden,
Boyett Ostar Productions
Originally Produced at The Culture Project, NYC
The Helen Hayes Theatre
240 West 44th Street

Solo Performance:
Sarah Jones
(Sarah Jones Website)

Directed by Tony Taccone
Assistant Director: Steve Colman
Scenic Design: David Korins
Lighting Design: Howell Binkley
Sound Design: Christopher Cronin
Press: Pete Sanders Group
Marketing: Nancy Richards-Marcia Pendleton
Production Stage Manager: Laurie Goldfeder
Technical Supervision: Aurora Productions
Associate Producer: Tom Wirtshafter
General Management: Richards/Climan, Inc.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 8, 2006

Sarah Jones is one of the most talented actors around, and she also created and wrote this show, formerly Off-Broadway, and originally assisted with funding by none other than Meryl Streep. Bridge & Tunnel is about the people of the boroughs of New York, especially South Queens, a melting pot of multiculturalism. She has staged this show as a poetry reading, where people of all ethnic backgrounds and ages can take the mike, speak or perform, in a fashion that is personal and passionate to each speaker. These characters, all created with a prop or two, a hat and jacket, a sweater, a wheelchair, a cane, emanate from Mexico, Russia, China, Poland, US (African American), Vietnam, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Pakistan (the Host, Mohammed Ali, in a grey jacket). The set has two levels, so Mohammed can go upstairs to his office (He is also an accountant) and talk to his wife about government investigations into his documents.)

In this solo show, Ms. Jones takes the microphone as about 12-15 characters, and each character has a special posture, a mannerism, an attitude, and, most eloquently, a pattern of speech with the related accent. She is a child, an elderly woman, a handicapped man, an elderly man, a mother of a gay daughter, a rap artist, a poet, and her characters are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and more. What is most amazing is the split-timing of Ms. Jones personality and elocution changes, as she returns to stage rear, left, or right, exchanges the prop or clothing, and wills herself into the next persona, all the while returning to Mohammed, the host, challenged by the elusive joke.

I kept thinking, would she forget who she is, would the focus elude her, even for a moment? But, Ms. Jones was always on the mark, hunching down as Lorraine Levine, sharing her poem about age and the human condition, or Rashid, the African American rap artist in a giant, orange jacket and matching hat, or as bending forward as the disabled Mexican, talking about death and loss and love. As Mohammed, Ms. Jones was nurturing and welcoming to “his” audience, no matter talent or stage presence, as if to say to the audience, “It’s OK, everyone here is special and interesting”. There is educational value to this show. Ms. Jones is sharing with a multitude of fans a sense of comfort and respect for immigrants and poor, elderly and disabled, and Muslims and gays.

Ms. Jones’ program bio mentions her attendance at the United Nations International School as well as her poetry competitions at Nuyorican Poets Café. She is an “uncensored” guest (She sued the FCC on censorship principles.) on public radio and a frequent guest on cable and network television. This one-act production won a Special Tony Award this month, and the run was extended. Be sure to catch this incredible show at The Helen Hayes Theatre, and a walk in the Park will never be the same. You will see and hear all of Ms. Jones characters on the stage of New York.

Sarah Jones as Lorraine
Photo courtesy of Bridge & Tunnel Press

Sarah Jones as Rashid
Photo courtesy of Bridge & Tunnel Press

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at