Defining Women

Women of Manhattan-Review by Jen Bush

If you like things like Sex and the City and The Real Housewives series, it is likely that you’ll enjoy Pink Arts Peace Productions, Inc., production of John Patrick Shanley’s play, Women of Manhattan. This production presented on Zoom was Produced by David Jung and Directed by Sunflower Duran who both also star in the production.

Women of Manhattan was written by John Patrick Shanley, one of the most respected playwrights and screenwriters alive today. He holds the distinction of being awarded the Tony, the Oscar and the Pulitzer. In addition of Women of Manhattan his credits include Doubt and Moonstruck among many others. In other words, the material was there and substantive. Now let’s examine the execution.

Three successful Manhattan based women gather for dinner. Their love lives are complicated and entwined. Billie is a married traditionalist. Rhonda Louise is a Southern Belle who recently broke up with her boyfriend but can’t part with his dirty sneakers. They reside in the living room to serve as a reminder of the relationship. Judy is a flirty hopeless romantic who goes on plenty of dates. Unfortunately, all her suitors end up being gay. Though the play centers on the lives and love lives of the women, we also meet Bob, Billie’s philandering husband and Duke who serves as a straight date for Judy. This play contains themes of love, friendship, dating and infidelity. The women have deliciously clever and witty dialogue as they explore their own unique situations in life and love.

John Patrick Shanley would be pleased. The cast and creatives took great care to bring forth a quality production in the new but hopefully temporary virtual venue of Zoom. At times the production was fun, compelling and heartbreaking. Each cast member was well suited to their roles. An absolute standout was Kingsley Nwaogu as Duke who was being set up with Judy on a date. He radiated smoothness and charisma. By the time the scene between he and Sunflower Duran who played Billie was over, I wanted to go on a date with him. Ms. Duran did a fine job of directing and portraying her ever optimistic character. Antonette Hudak gave a strong and compelling performance as Judy. Nicole Miranda as Rhonda Louise skillfully delivered some of the funniest lines of the play. David Jung produced a wonderful show and displayed fine acting chops as Billie’s husband Bob. If the opportunity arises, joining the Women of Manhattan for their dinner party should be on your agenda.