Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — Clay

Urban Bush Women

Performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Urban Bush women displayed African American culture and traditions as well as the struggle that came with African Diaspora, migration of Africans to America and later on to the world, through expressive dance performances. For many members of the audience like me, it was difficult to understand the story of the dance performance.  Only in the end did I realize that there was no plot. Without sufficient introduction in the beginning of the performance, Urban Bush women confused its audience. [Read more →]

December 21, 2008   2 Comments

Clay Makes a Mould All His Own

Clay as himself

“Let me introduce you to my man Clay!”  The hip one man musical with hip hop, yes hip-hop.

Now any skeptic or Broadway buff that might scoff at the idea of hip-hop or any non traditional form of music on a stage.  They might even deign to hide a condescending laugh at the idea of a white guy going to a bookstore of all places and rapping his way to self-actualization. Just watching the first five minutes of “Clay” can change those judgmental notions and there lies the power of Mr. Sax. Matt Sax’s refreshing rhymes and contagiously energetic performance joins the ranks of such musicals as “In the Heights” a Broadway musical with the enterprising Lin Manuel Miranda. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Clay Makes a Mould All His Own


Matt Sax in CLAY

Matt Sax in CLAY

CLAY is a one-man hip-hop musical written and performed by Matt Sax.  It is a story about a boy named Clifford whose mother kills herself and whose father finds another woman who Clifford gradually comes to have an affair with. He finally escapes the torments of his own home and finds a mentor in the back of a bookstore, Sir John, a man of words, a poetry slam. He teaches him how to use words, and how to express himself.  In one of the funniest scenes of the show, Sir John finds Clifford to be replicating the usual themes of rap songs rather than saying what’s really on his mind. “You ever met a prostitute before?” he asks after Clifford has ended a song.  “Um, no.” [Read more →]

December 6, 2008   Comments Off on CLAY

A Musical Promised is a Drama Delivered

Matt Sax in Clay

Matt Sax in "Clay"

Emerging playwright Matt Sax: writer, composer, and one man star of the hip-hop stage performance “Clay,” breaks all the limits with “Clay” ‘s energized compilation of rap music and the coming of age story of a distressed boy running from the troubles at home. From crude humor to foul language, Sax is relentless with his portrayal of the amazing total of five different characters. [Read more →]

December 4, 2008   1 Comment

Clay: Succor through rap ballads

            Amidst the clamor and flashing billboards in the heart of Times Square, The Duke on 42nd street sets the stage for Matt Sax’s explosive performance of one-man hip-hop musical, Clay.

            Behind the red velvet curtains draping the stage, a man who calls himself Sir John begins to rattle the crowd anticipating the arrival of acclaimed hip-hop superstar Clay. While the audience awaits the entrance of Clay, Sir John like a chameleon morphs into Clifford. Though Clifford’s face is hidden under the hood of his sweater, the audience’s eyes are curiously fixated on the blood smeared all over his face. This is just the start of the intoxicating performance where we are introduced to the protagonist Clifford, his obnoxious and callous father, emotionally distressed mother, his pedophilic stepmother, and hip-hop mentor Sir John. [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   2 Comments


“Come inside, open up your ears up wide” to hear the story of a derelict 17-year old boy named Clifford who flees from his dysfunctional “family” and finds a home in the arms of Sir John and hip-hop. “Clay”, the one-man hip-hop musical held at the Duke on 42nd Street, certainly broke the traditional and ordinary mindset of a classic musical. Written and performed by Matt Sax, “Clay” opened its curtains with the night that Clifford is performing his major debut as a hip-hop performer. At once, we can see that this play twists time as it is loaded with flashbacks. [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   1 Comment


Who says that a good Broadway show must incorporate a cast of dozens of talented performers with extensive experience, or be performed on a grand stage with the latest and greatest lighting and sound equipment? At the Duke on 42nd street, viewers can enjoy one of the best Broadway shows playing today: “Clay”, a one-man hip-hop performance by the extremely talented Matt Sax. While attending Northwestern University, Sax began to write this musical and performed versions of it at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Lookingglass Theatres/ About Face Theatre in Chicago before bringing it to The Duke in Times Square itself. A combination of heart-pumping music, a creative and emotional story, and spectacular acting make “Clay” a worthy Tony Award candidate. [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   1 Comment


As one can imagine, I expected the hip-hop musical Clay to be like nothing I had ever seen before.  Not only was it anything but ordinary, it also went above and beyond my expectations.  With a song about sleeping with his stepmother, the main man Clifford certainly has a few surprises up his hoodie sleeves.  This one-man musical was intensely entertaining.  [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   Comments Off on Clay


I had always looked down upon Hip Hop culture, partially because the gibberish language was too much of a distraction. I carried that thought with me when I arrived at the Duke on 42nd street, with a free ticket in my hand. It wasn’t until Clay, Hip Hop musical, started that I began to understand why Professor Bernstein chose this piece. It was different. Watching theatrical plays for the whole semester, I have always wanted to explore other form of art. Clay not only altered my view of Hip Hop culture but also exposed the audiences to Clifford’s World of broken promises and internal struggles. [Read more →]

December 3, 2008   1 Comment

A New Twist on an Old Story

     The set up is rather simple – one man, a small stage, a small audience. Even the theater, located between the huge luminescent attractions of 42nd street, is so small that it is difficult to find. Yet what happens in The Duke Theater night after night can only be described as grand. Adopting the unusual genre of a hip-hop musical, Clay is able to exhilarate its audiences with its dramatic lighting effects and thunderous music. [Read more →]

December 2, 2008   Comments Off on A New Twist on an Old Story