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Cynthia Hopkins Must Don't Whip 'Um

Performing Arts

Photo: Pavel Antonov
Cynthia Hopkins
Must Don't Whip 'Um
Thu, Apr 19, 2007 8 PM
Fri, Apr 20, 2007 8 PM
Sat, Apr 21, 2007 8 PM
"Avant-garde with a twang... she's a little bit country and a little bit Wooster Group."--New York Times

Must Don't Whip 'Um is a high-spirited musical-theater journey that depicts a life spiraling out of control. Time Out New York (January 25-31) gave the show 5 (out of 6) stars and called the music "ethereal, demanding, exuberant rock" that "rocks" as "Hopkins pulls off the impossible: She makes postmodernism danceable once again." One of last season's surprise hits was the local debut of Bessie Award–winning singer/actor Cynthia Hopkins and her hilarious yet touching show Accidental Nostalgia. Backed by her band, Gloria Deluxe, Hopkins captivated audiences with her terrific country-tinged voice, great songs, marvelous stagecraft, and a delightfully circuitous narrative that touched on psychological theories about memory loss, a murder mystery, and the need for self-reinvention. Eventually, her protagonist took on the identity of an obscure (and fictional) 1970s' cult singing star, Cameron Seymour, who went into self-exile to join a Sufi brotherhood.

Hopkins conceived of Accidental Nostalgia as being the first installment of a trilogy. Now she's back with her second segment, Must Don't Whip 'Um, a prequel to Accidental Nostalgia that's staged as a documentary about a Last Waltz-style farewell concert by Cameron Seymour, performed before her mysterious disappearance. Rest assured that if you didn't happen to catch Accidental Nostalgia, you won't be at all lost. The contagious humor and dramatic twists brought to life by Hopkins and canny collaborators Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg beckon will quickly bring you up to speed. When the show premiered in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune called it an "exquisitely personal and cathartic" piece that "nonetheless leaves us enthralled by its contradictions--the elusive truth of storytelling in which misdirection and layers reveal simple honesty" and "intrigues with its magic, innocence and a lack of pretense."
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