Parental Advisory: A Breakbeat Play Makes Its Way to Milwaukee Rep

A World Premiere

Award-winning playwright Idris Goodwin is showcasing “Parental Advisory: A Breakbeat Play” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater from September 26 – October 29, 2023. With Milwaukee Rep celebrating 70 years and Hip-Hop celebrating 50 years, the progressive play coincides with appreciating both American music and theater. 

Goodwin has over 75 original plays and his content strives to entertain and educate multi-generational audiences.

The play centers around two Hip-Hop artists, one is a DJing dog owner and the other is a middle-aged father, both trying to unpack what it means to be explicit yet appropriate. As the characters prepare for a tour after the pandemic there are other circumstances that force them to take a break in their careers. The play analyzes what it’s like being a parent and the decisions you make to protect your family.

“It is part concert. There will be performances of rap and performances of live beatmaking. It’s in a series of these plays that I set out to write, examining Hip-Hop’s impact on America.”

– Idris Goodwin

The Cast & Crew

The MC played by Amir Abdullah and Timeless played by Marvin Quijada are two characters in the production. The actors performed live music and had comedic bits, but mainly referenced the history of Hip-Hop in a theatrical setting. 

“You’re going to have your cool music and then you’re also going to have your thought-provoking conversation, and you’re also going to have your theatrical experience where you have your dramatic moments,” said Quijada.

Originally from Pittsburgh, this is Director Kyle Haden’s Milwaukee Repertory Theater debut. He explained that a lot of the things discussed in the play hit home for him since he has a six-year-old son. He knows that children are going to come across certain music and artists on their own, with or without the influence of their parents.

Amir Abdullah (L) and Marvin Quijada (R) playing characters The MC and Timeless in Parental Advisory: a breakbeat play.
Amir Abdullah (L) and Marvin Quijada (R) play characters The MC and Timeless in Parental Advisory: a breakbeat play. (Picture by Michael Brosilow)

“Sitting down and making your child listen to The Beatles or listen to Public Enemy doesn’t ensure they’re going to have an appreciation for it or enjoy it. They have to discover it when they’re going to discover it,” said Haden.

Interactive Listening Station & Play Guide

An immersive exhibit is displayed outside at the Rep that is arranged with merchandise as if you’re at a concert. Abdullah and Quijadahad curated playlists of their top five Hip-Hop albums available for the crowd to listen to.

Play guides are also given out at the play that explain the history of the parental advisory label and content warnings in music as well as a timeline of Hip-Hop events and information about the artists mentioned in the play. The 12-page booklet shares with readers how Hip-Hop theater became a new concept.

“Hip-Hop theater is still unique. It’s still, I think in many ways, in its infancy of what it can be.”

– Amir Abdullah


To see the play, click here to purchase your tickets.

Joy Boyd

Joy Boyd is a freelance writer with a background in marketing with diversity, equity & inclusion efforts. She has managed digital media platforms for Black empowerment publications and has written biweekly newsletters on topics from self-awareness to retaining talent in local communities. Her goal is to put out positive and educational messaging.

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