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"Reclaiming Buck's fame, Marty Martin's "The Dragon and the Pearl" is an engaging one-woman tribute based on Peter Conn's recent biography. Too full-blooded to be a vehicle, it features Valerie Harper (best known as T.V.'s Rhoda) in a performance that, lovingly shaped by Susan Booth, matches an epic life with warm-hearted intensity and contagious honesty."
"Never condescending to her characters, Harper incarnates the Manchu Dowager Empress (repellent in her serpentine hand gestures), a high-toned Elanor Roosevelt, and a hilariously huge masseuse/diet-trainer from Reno."
Lawrence Bommer, November 4, 1996.
"And Harper, a forceful stage presence under Susan V. Booth's direction, is effectively supported by Rita Pietraszek's lighting and Joe Cerqua's sound, which transforms Kerry Sander's terrace set into a variety of locales - from bustling Shanghai streets and peasant huts to the throne room of the Forbidden City's imperial palace and the breakfast table of the Roosevelt White House. The simple but evocative shifts of color and shadow mirror Harper's subtle use of facial expressions, gesture, and rhythm to credibly switch races and ages as she tells the story of one remarkable woman and the women who inspired her."
Albert Williams, November 8, 1996
All News - AM 670
"It's Harpers first time out in a one woman show and she glides effortlessly from one character to the next"
"In fact her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt...from Buck's memory is one of the standouts of the show. Playwright Marty Martin's work on this is sheer genius."
"The show is heartwarming, funny...yes, there are some light moments...and Harper's brilliant performance makes this play a "must see."
Corrie Wynns, November 4, 1996
WBBM News Radio 78
"Harper deserves recognition for the yeoman effort of the one woman performance and the dexterity it involves."
Sherman Kaplan, November 6, 1996
Copley News Service
"I suspect most viewers will attend because they are Valerie Harper fans. They may come away as fans of Pearl Buck. Before "The Dragon and the Pearl" leaves town, there may be a decided increase in book store sales of "The Good Earth."
Dan Zeff, November 4, 1996
"WE GIVE Valerie Harper a ``thumbs up'' for a remarkable performance in her one-woman show, ``The Dragon and the Pearl,'' at the Organic Theater. That's the story of the storied Pearl Buck, whose best seller The Good Earth helped shape Western attitudes toward China. The first-nighters gave Harper a standing ovation. . . . Many in the audience were mourning the death of a veteran theater-goer, Lucille Strauss, who with my wife, Essee, had served as co-chair of the Joe Jefferson awards."
Irv Kupicent, Kup's Column, November 6,1996