In Imagination Stage’s production of Zomo The Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth, written by Psalmayene 24 with music by Nick “tha 1 da” Hernandez, hip-hop meets a Nigerian folktale. Zomo the Rabbit (Gary L. Perkins III) doesn’t feel like he fits in with other animals. And much to Zomo’s dismay, no one is interested in his raps. Zomo decides what he needs is power. He seeks out the Sky God (Melissa Carter). Sky God is dealing with the constant fighting among the animals and is in need of something to unite them. She decides to give Zomo a quest. To get his power (and secretly help Sky God with her problem), he must retrieve three items: Big Fish’s (Unissa Cruse) dancing shoes, Wild Cow’s (Jonathan Atkinson) spray paint cans, and Leopard’s (Inés Domínguez del Corral) beat machine. As Zomo goes about his quest, he starts to realize that it wasn’t power that he was looking for after all. Imagination Stage’s Zomo The Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth, directed by Raymond O. Caldwell, brings back old school hip-hop for a fun, interactive show for kids and adults.
From the dance moves (directed by Tiffany Quinn) to the music (created and directed by Nick Hernandez), the show is old school hip-hop to its core. The show references raps from the 70’s and 80’s. The raps aren’t so fast that they would lose kids. The rap styles are comfortingly familiar and you’ll keep trying to guess which rap styles were used as inspiration even after the show. The projections and scenic design, by Nate Sinnott, are colorful and are spot on for the graffiti art style associated with hip-hop.
The costumes, designed by Madison Booth, play on hip-hop elements and pull from styles iconic of the 80’s and early 90’s. With the show being set in D.C., adults and kids will enjoy little Easter eggs such as the references to the Metro and the National Zoo.
The cast is an energetic and talented bunch. They keep the energy going even during audience interactions. A clear first place for audience favorite is the dance battle between Zomo and Big Fish. You get to learn a move or two and get to cheer on your favorite dancer. Both Perkins and Cruse have some seriously awesome moves. It doesn’t just stop at the dance battle. There is yoga with Flamingo, a Mad Lib style rap, and much more. Carter’s yoga obsessed Sky God is quite funny. Sky God goes around spouting silly sayings to a confused Zomo almost like a parent would to their child.
The show’s lesson about power is a good one. As Zomo goes on his quest, he begins to realize that his actions to get power are hurting Big Fish, Wild Cow, and Leopard. He learns that you have to earn power. But, the show isn’t just a lesson about power. It’s a lesson in hip-hop. You learn about hip-hop music and dance styles.
The only missed beat in this show? It’s a bit longer than it should have been. There are a few scenes which stretch out a bit such as Zomo meeting Wild Cow. These scenes don’t quite match the pacing of Zomo meeting the other characters.
With its lovable characters and its creative storytelling, don’t run – “hop” to go see Imagination Stage’s Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth.
Running Time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Review by Hannah Wing from Broadway World.