In its first New York revival, August Wilson’s Seven Guitars (the ’40s entry in the late dramatist’s 10-play, 100-year chronicle of black life in 20th-century America) unspools in what feels like geologic time, sometimes with the muddy luxuriance of a blues solo, often with the ponderous noodling of a bad blues solo. The story — in which success spells doom for ambitious guitarist Floyd ”Schoolboy” Barton (inhabited cadaverously by The Wire‘s Lance Reddick) — is a series of riffs, but grand opera is what director Ruben Santiago-Hudson has in mind. The result is an epic mismatch.
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