Tickets from $59  Buy Tickets


Photo: Joan Marcus Review
Word to the wise: Do not, under any circumstances, come with even one hunger pang to “Clyde’s,” Lynn Nottage’s devilishly funny new comedy, now being presented by Second Stage at Broadway’s Hayes Theater. I promise that the constant talk of amazing sandwiches – mouthwatering variations on grilled cheese, hamburgers and even turkey wraps -- will have you chewing off your fingers off if you’re not fully sated. Still, the only thing more delicious than these culinary creations is the work of the show’s five-person ensemble, all of whom benefit from Kate Whoriskey’s cheddar-sharp direction.

Among her many other virtues, Nottage has long been one of America’s most eagle-eyed writers of female characters, from Esther in “Intimate Apparel” to Mama Nadi in “Ruined,” Undine in “Fabulation,” Vera in “Meet Vera Stark” and Cynthia in “Sweat.” So, it’s hardly shocking that she’s added another mesmerizing portrait to this gallery with Clyde, magnificently embodied by Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba in a long-overdue return to Broadway.

Outfitted in a succession of brilliant, body-enhancing costumes by Jennifer Moeller, the often hilarious and alternately terrifying Aduba consistently commands our attention. So does the no-nonsense Clyde, who demands the unwavering obedience of her four unhappy workers -- all ex-cons like herself -- who populate her Pennsylvania truck stop kitchen. She is (perhaps for real) the boss from hell. Without question, she’s a woman who is determined to get what she wants by any means necessary; illegality and immorality (and perhaps even immortality) simply never bother her!

Sometimes to achieve her goal, Clyde simply screams loudly at the ultra-composed Montrellous (a superb Ron Cephas Jones), the not-so-tough Tish (the divine Kara Walker) and the high-spirited and high-strung Rafael (a pitch-perfect Reza Salazar), which is enough to scare anyone. Other times, she simply threatens to have them reincarcerated. Periodically, she even attempts to curry favor by bringing in stolen food.

And once or twice, what she seemingly wants is some sexual satisfaction; so she puts the unwanted moves on her newest employee, Jason (the excellent Edmund Donovan), a somewhat scary-looking and heavily tatted white guy who proves to be far softer on the inside than he seems on the outside.

It's no surprise, then, that this bustling kitchen (cleverly designed by Takeshi Kata) may feel like Hades itself to these beleaguered workers – even if they’ve already been through the “hell” of imprisonment – but it’s more likely purgatory. And what this quivering quartet don’t realize, at least until the play’s end, is that in order to move upward (or at least not downward), they don’t need to create the perfect sandwich.

Indeed, they need to do something seemingly far more difficult, a feat they only achieve after an inspirational revelation from Montrellous, a man of only a few well-chosen words. And in this near-final sequence, Nottage once more earns her place in our theatrical pantheon. While compared to some of her other work, "Clyde’s” may be something of a snack, but this marvelous monologue is a meal in itself.

By Brian Scott Lipton

Visit the Site

Open/Close Dates
Opening 11/23/2021
Closing Open-ended

Theatre Info
Hayes Theatre
240 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036