Review On Between Riverside and Crazy

Eric A Gordon

Registered Critic

The role of Pops fits Montae Russell as though it were written for him. He bears his suffering like a lead character in an August Wilson play—and indeed he is a noted Wilsonian, having performed in the entire cycle of his ten plays about African-American life decade-by-decade throughout the 20th century. His suffering has sharpened Pops’s character. What he cannot squeeze out of the city in a final payoff he will secure by any means necessary, in a form of “reparations” for the white man’s mistreatment of him and his family. He also pays back the grace he receives in an entirely unexpected way that will have students of the drama debating and discussing for decades to come.

Eric A. Gordon, writes for People's World ( He has written for dozens of local, national, and international publications, mostly about art, music, culture, religion and politics. His undergraduate degree is from Yale and his doctorate in history is from Tulane. He was director of the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring in Southern California from 1995 to 2010. Eric is the author of "Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein," and co-author of "Ballad of an American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson." A book he translated from Portuguese ("Waving to the Train and Other Stories," by Hadasa Cytrynowicz) appeared in 2013. In 2015 he executive produced "City of the Future," a CD of Soviet Yiddish music from the 1930s. He is the former Southern California Chapter Chair of the National Writers Union (Local 1981 UAW/AFL-CIO).