Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Direct from Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2016-08-03

This article shared 350 times since Wed Aug 3, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Mark Stein, music and lyrics by Harley White Jr. At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tickets: $42. Runs through: Aug. 27

The title references a real-life chapter in our nation's history, but this is not another cut-and-dried, preserved-under-glass docudrama. Likewise, its subtitle promises "An Evening of Vaudeville and Sorrow," but don't worry—the sorrow doesn't come until after the "vaudeville" has supplied so much merriment, you'd almost think this was the Kander and Ebb musical of similar name.

The story related by the nine African-American teenagers who serve as narrators/performers of the play-within-the-play tells how, on one spring day in 1931, they all happened to be hitchhiking on the same freight train—albeit in different cars—traveling the Tennessee border from Chattanooga to Memphis. Following an altercation with some of their fellow stowaways, the lads were arrested in Paint Rock, Alabama, after two other illegal passengers on board were discovered to be ( white ) women, both of whom declared that the ( African-American ) men had raped them. Despite overwhelming evidence of the latter's innocence, courts adhering to regional custom continued to find them guilty, drawing national attention for the six years that the Death Row inmates waited for the verdict that would decide their futures.

Authors Mark Stein and Harley White Jr. illustrate these events with popular variety acts of the day: straw-hat-and-cane hoofing, multiethnic songs ( sentimental Stephen Foster ballads, dirge-tempo slave spirituals, even a "Danny Boy" ), cross-talk comic patter, sleight-of-hand illusions and loose-limbed acrobatic clowning. David Knezz' expressive masks caricaturing the visages of the white participants—drooping bloodhound features for Attorney-General Thomas Knight, for example, or a dainty curlew's beak for Defense Attorney Samuel Leibowitz—eases any guilt engendered in urban audiences identifying along colorist lines. ( Far left-wingers may face problems with International Labor Defense's Joseph Brodsky depicted as a nimble-fingered huckster. )

The danger in this irreverent approach is the propensity for actors to become carried away by their own daring, indulging in just one more shoulder-roll or extending a deep-south vowel just a second or two longer than necessary. This remount of last season's multiple award-winning production reunites director Michael Menendian's original cast, however, every one of whom exhibits chops honed to split-second perfection. Two-and-a-half hours may seem a lengthy history lesson, but never for an instant does our attention wander, whether chortling at the two top lawyers kicking up their heels in a jubilant tap-dance or stifling our horror at the abuse inflicted on the youngest convicts in the prisons. If you missed this show its first time, don't make that mistake again.


This article shared 350 times since Wed Aug 3, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

REVIEW Randy Rainbow tackles politics, shows talent at The Chicago Theatre 2021-10-24
- YouTube sensation Randy Rainbow brought The Pink Glasses Tour to The Chicago Theatre on Oct. 22. Best known for videos that parody musical numbers with a focus on politics, the heavily curated show began with a ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Haring/Ortiz mural, Jamie Lee Curtis, Billy Porter 2021-10-24
- Dancing the foxtrot alongside partner Jenna Johnson to Olivia Newton John's "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise)" for Dancing with the Stars' Grease night, 18-year-old social-media star JoJo Siwa received the season's first perfec ...


Gay News

Stage Left Theatre names new artistic director 2021-10-21
- Stage Left Theatre announced Bobbi Masters as its new artistic director. Masters has directed plays at theaters around the nation such as No Strings Theatre Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico (The Bald Soprano); and Kitchen ...


Gay News

THEATER E. Faye Butler to star in 'Fannie' Oct. 25-Nov. 14 2021-10-21
- Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., will host the run of Cheryl L. West's Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), which will run Oct. 25-Nov. 14. E. Faye Butler stars as U.S. civil-rights ...


Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance back on the stage with 'RE/TURN' 2021-10-21
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) will present Fall Series: RE/TURN to herald its return to the stage at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St. The program will feature new premieres as well as audience favorites ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera presenting 'Florencia en el Amazonas' Nov. 13-28 2021-10-21
- During Nov. 13-28, Lyric Opera of Chicago will run the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas—the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. There will be evening performances on ...


Gay News

Theater review: This Wide Night 2021-10-17
- Title: This Wide Night. Playwright: Chloe Moss At: Shattered Globe Theatre/Interrobang Theatre Project at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $25-$45; SGTheatre.org. Runs through: Nov. 13 The landlord calls ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

THEATER Broken Nose presenting looter drama 'Primer' Nov. 15-Dec. 5 2021-10-15
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, will run the world premiere audio drama Primer, described in a release as "a deeply honest look at the prioritization of property over people. Ensemble member Spenser Davis wrote ...


Gay News

THEATER 'A Rocky Horror Picture Party' at The Den on Oct. 30-31 2021-10-12
- Haven is presenting Science Fiction / Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party—an immersive Halloween experience that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film—directed by ...


Gay News

THEATER Rivendell's '8:46' to run Oct. 21-23, stream Nov. 1 2021-10-12
- Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE)—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced 8:46 (Breathing Room), a new play festival of four commissioned plays each eight ...


Gay News

COMEDY Janeane Garofalo at The Den Theatre on Nov. 19-20 2021-10-12
- The Den Theatre will present comedian Janeane Garofalo for four performances on Nov. 19-20 (at 7 and 9:30 p.m. each night) on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Garofalo has had many memorable and critically ...


Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago 2021-10-12
- Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6 2021-10-12
- Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...


Gay News

THEATER 'I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce' returns Nov. 5 2021-10-08
- Theatre 68 and the Venus Cabaret Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., announced the return of the critically acclaimed production, I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce, to Chicago beginning Friday, Nov. 5. Ronnie Marmo wrote and ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.