More than your local book store - Hyattsville Life & Times
BY MARK GOODSON — Charisma Wooten changed out of her Jackie “Moms” Mabley wardrobe and joined the audience in the back of Robert Harper Books after her Feb. 25 performance. “This is better than Blues Alley,” she said of the Riverdale book store and concert venue, comparing it to Georgetown’s jazz club. The intimate setting felt more like an artist’s salon than a licensed auditorium. Wooten’s play “A Night with Jackie ‘Moms’ Mabley,” once nominated for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play, is a medley of puns and turns of phrase. Jackie “Moms” Mabley, the stage name of Loretta Mary Aiken, was a 20th-century African-American standup comedian. In the play, Mabley, an elderly woman — a character you’d imagine as a permanent fixture on a stoop or porch in her yellow bucket hat, Sunday dress and slippers — delivers jokes and prognostications that are rooted in racial history and resonate with today’s racial issues. As Mabley, Wooten’s eyes lit like high beams; she delivered punchlines and employed physical humor which kept the room laughing throughout the performance. Lying over the piano of her accompanist Luther, played by Everett Williams, was an upside-down American flag. After the show, Wooten, a [...]