Black Violin at the New Victory Theater
Let me begin by saying this: if there is any way you can make it to see Black Violin at The New Victory Theater, you are in for a huge treat. I admit that I am prone to hyperbole, but there isn’t enough of it in the world to exaggerate how great this show is. The performance was, in the words of my 17-year-old son, “sick.” Translation: one of the coolest things he’s ever seen. We all agreed.
When I was invited to review the show, it was going to be just my 9-year-old daughter and myself attending. However, The New Victory Theater generously offered us an extra pair of tickets, so I was able to take my husband and teen son, as well. Naturally, my boy didn’t particularly want to go. Palling around with his parents and sister isn’t his favorite thing at his age, and he’s in full thrall of that teen ennui that makes anything requiring actual physical effort (such as getting up, showering, and getting the car to go to the city) less appealing than just hanging around at home. But, being the good parents we are, we forced him to go. Because culture! And family!
He might kill me for saying this publicly, but that kid had a fantastic time. He had his hands in the air, he clapped, and he danced with the rest of us. Black Violin demolished his teenaged, eye-rolling resistance to all things parental with their high-energy, irresistible mash-up of musical genres. Kev Marcus and Wil B, virtuoso violinists who met in their middle school orchestra, encouraged the audience to participate as much as we liked, so it was, as Kev said in the beginning, not a concert as much as a party.
Numerous influences were apparent in the music—they played hip hop, blues, r&b, jazz, classical-with-a-twist, all backed by astonishingly talented drummer Beatdown, cellist David Gotay, and DJ TK on the turntables, as well as Wil B on vocals. Yet, as wonderful as the music was, the ultimate takeaway was the inspirational message Kev and Wil B shared with the kids in the audience. They talked about how they came to be where they are today, starting in the school orchestra, but then playing along with the popular music they heard on the radio in order to keep the violin interesting for themselves. They took a traditional calling and did something completely new with it. They encouraged the kids to do the same by thinking outside the box in terms of whatever their passions in life might be. They also stressed the importance of working harder than your peers to achieve success. From the corner of my eye, I saw both my kids nodding their heads, absorbing the message.
And then Black Violin practiced what they preached by playing more amazing, outside-of-the-box music and everyone danced and it was wonderful. Don’t miss this one.
Black Violin are performing now through November 25 at the New Victory Theater on 42nd Street in Times Square.