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Red Velvet

Chicago Shakespeare Theater / Stage and
London’s Theatre Royal in the mid-1800s. Edmund Kean, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his age, collapses on stage while performing the lead in Othello. He is replaced by a young, black actor, Ira Aldridge—a first for the role on London’s West End. As a bill in Parliament promoting the abolition of slavery sends shock waves through the streets, how will London react to his performance?

Into the Meat Grinder of Humanity with `Beyond Caring'

HedyWeiss Chicago Sun-Times
Three women, all clearly desperate for jobs, arrive for "orientation" at the work room of a meat processing plant. They have been sent by an employment agency as "temporary workers" - a euphemism for low wages, no benefits, short-term contracts with uncertain payroll dates and the most appalling work conditions. So begins Alexander Zeldin's remarkable "immersive" soul-stripping production of "Beyond Caring."


O'Neill's Radical "The Hairy Ape" Enthralls

Lucy Komisar The Komisar Scoop
You might never see a more powerful, stunning production of Eugene O'Neill's "The Hairy Ape" than this one directed by Richard Jones and starring Bobby Cannavale at the Park Avenue Armory. This is a play about class, and class consciousness.

"The Crucible" a Stunning Parable of McCarthyism's Attack on America

Lucy Komisar The Komisar Scoop
A crucible is a pot in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted. Miller's story is about events that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. But it's really about the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), America's thought police of the early 50s, which burned through American rights and professed values. It's the best play of the season.(Closes July 17, 2016)

Fervently Singing Timely History of Chicago’s ‘Haymarket’ Affair

Hedy Weiss Chicago Sun-Times
“Songbook” frames its story through the memory of Lucy Parsons, the daughter of a slave who later becomes the widow of “anarchist martyr” Albert Parsons, a white man who had served in the Confederate Army, but then found his calling as a charismatic labor leader. There are unquestionably distant echoes of terrorist activity in our own time in this show, along with enduring issues of income inequality, police brutality, and a compromised judiciary and media.

TUG OF WAR: Foreign Fire

William Shakespeare adapted and directed by Barbara Gaines Broadway World Chicago / Chicago Shakespeare Theater
In launching a cycle of plays grounded in English history, Shakespeare was able to show his audiences the blood-soaked story of their own becoming, the history of their creation as a nation. (From an American vantage, it would be as though a present-day playwright were to track our history from Jamestown to World War II, focusing most intently on the span stretching from the Revolutionary through the Civil Wars.

Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey

Bev Fleisher DC Metro Theater Arts
In the American Black community, during the years leading up to the Harlem Renaissance, there was a sense of building artistic expression. Outlets and avenues for its poets, musicians, novelists, artists, and actors were few. But in 1918, as the first great World War concluded and thousands of African-American soldiers returned home victorious, this mountain of artistic expression was now ready to explode.

Theater Review: "Cuckooed" True Story by British Comic And Activist of How Arms Company Spied on Him

Lucy Komisar The Komisar Scoop
True story about BAE Systems, the UK's largest aerospace and weapons company. BAE is the major bad guy in the play, as well as a major bad guy among arms traders. (In 2010, BAE pled guilty in the U.S. to charges of false accounting and making misleading statements in connection with an arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The issue was bribery to get a Saudi contract. British Prime Minister Tony Blair quashed an investigation there, as he wanted the contract.)
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