The first time I saw Sarah Jones was sometime in the mid-to late 1990's at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe. She was performing a one-woman show called, Surface Transit. By the time the performance was over I was so completely in awe I couldn't stop talking about her to everyone and anyone I met. Not since seeing Lilly Tomlin live in Los Angeles had I ever seen a one-woman show where after the show was over, my brain insisted there had been several people up on the stage, not just one. Sarah Jones is going to BLOW UP I proclaimed. So imagine my surprise when I didn't see Ms. Jones on the cover of Entertainment Weekly as the new Hollywood IT Girl. She was so supremely talented, attractive and into the whole multi-culti diversity thing. The girl could inhabit the body of a thugged out wanna be rapper, then turn around and BE a 90-year old Russian immigrant in the blink of an eye.
But Hollywood wasn't really interested in Sarah Jones' brand of diversity and Sarah Jones wasn't willing to sacrifice her beliefs nor her artistic integrity to appear on some tacky sitcom. Fast forward some years and I'm happy to report that the divine Ms. Jones was just awarded a special Tony Award on June 11 for her latest masterpiece, Bridge & Tunnel, now playing on Broadway. Another one-woman show, this production has Jones playing 14 different "ethnic" characters, from a Jewish grandma to a angry Asian teenager, at a poetry slam in Queens. Of course Jones is brilliant. Which explains the Tony. (For a review of the show go to: http://theater2.nytimes.com/2006/01/27/theater/reviews/27brid.html).
Bravo to Sarah Jones for stirring up the meltingpot on Broadway and giving the great white way a spectacular taste of the Bridge & Tunnel crowd.