by Alan Govaner
Directed by Akin Babatunde
Starring Lillias White and Scott Wakefield
York Theatre

Reviewed by David Spencer

Texas in Paris lies somewhere between a musical and a play with music. The script, by Alan Govaner, dramatizes the real life encounter between black spititual singer Osceola Mays (Lillias White) and cowboy singer-guitarist John Burrus (Scott Wakefield) — both nonprofessional musicians — who fly to Paris in 1989 to take part in a concert that will present French audiences at the Maison des Cultures du Monde with “the real Texas.” Coming from different sides of the ethnic divide, they begin a relationship of cordial distance (more on his part than hers; she tries to reach out) and, of course, through their music and their being two Americans joined by the common experience, ground between them is broken.

                  What’s nice about the evening is that while it has an overall inevitable trajectory, it doesn’t, in the steps along the way, go to obvious places or get overtly sentimental. It’s sweet, low key, humanist and warm—if a little too long. The music, replicating and emulating the music of the real-life figures as recorded, is performed with convincing and rewarding authenticity. Understated by thorough direction is by Akin Babatunde.

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