Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-10-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Paradise Blue
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2017-05-17

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Dominique Morisseau. At: TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave. Tickets: 773-281-8463; TimelineTheatre.com; $38-$51. Runs through: July 23

Paradise Blue is a challenging play that TimeLine meets admirably—if not quite perfectly—under veteran director Ron OJ Parson. The play seems part realism and part impressionism, with characters who are moods as much as real people. As Paradise Blue concerns late-1940s jazz musicians, and is dependent on atmosphere and music, the use of impressionism is not inappropriate.

However, characters painted with impressions are not quite complete, requiring the audience to fill in details between what people do and who they are. I don't mean to discredit the actors in any way. They are a phenomenal lot who bring honesty, passion and even delicacy to their portrayals, particularly Kristin E. Ellis as vulnerable, poetic Pumpkin and Al'Jaleel McGhee as Blue, the demanding central role. Blue is the play's greatest acting challenge, with an emotionally raw breakdown scene in Act II that McGhee handles admirably, but Blue also challenges the audience because the roots of his crisis aren't clearly explained, hinted-at only via impressions such as hallucinatory episodes for Blue.

Blue is a trumpet man who inherited the Paradise Blue Club from his father. It's a mainstay of Detroit's historic Black Bottom ghetto, scheduled for urban renewal ( reflecting actual Detroit history ). Will Blue sell to the city and hasten the 'hood's destruction? If he sells, will Blue escape the ghosts—notably his father's—almost literally haunting him? Blue also is mean, angry and controlling with his beautiful and uncomplaining woman, Pumpkin, and the sidemen who long have worked in his shadow. Although we don't fully understand what's churning Blue, one knows intuitively that it won't dissolve with Detroit's $10,000 in his pocket.

Blue is opposed by sidemen P-Sam and Corn ( equally satisfying Charles Andrew Gardner and Ronald L. Conner ) and significantly by Pumpkin. The explosive situation doesn't need a propellant but Morisseau provides one anyway, Silver ( confident and sultry Tyla Abercrumbie ), a so-called "Black Widow" with money, style, experience and not male-dependent. Silver's side story provides the means for the play's unexpected ending, which took me by surprise but made perfect sense.

Plays about musicians notoriously avoid having them play. How many actors also have advanced instrumental chops? Paradise Blue is graced with original incidental music by great Chicago jazz man Orbert Davis. It's mostly recorded, but McGhee does deliver several live riffs in a close-but-no-cigar effort. McGhee no doubt will improve during the run, but at opening the audience had to use its imagination as he rendered the play's ultimate musical moment, meant to be triumphant for Blue.Christine Pascual designed the sleek, handsome late-40s costumes, while scenic/lighting designer Brian Sidney Bembridge's new stage configuration transforms the TimeLine space with a richly-detailed two-level nightclub setting.

Paradise Blue offers passions and impressions aplenty.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

About Face Theatre, Theater Wit to premiere Significant Other 2017-10-19 - CHICAGO ( October 18, 2017 ) — About Face Theatre and Theater Wit are pleased to present the Midwest premiere of the romantic ...


Gay News

Broadway Holiday Benefit for Chicago House, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids 2017-10-19 - CHICAGO, IL— Members of the National Touring companies of WICKED and BEAUTIFUL — THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, and HAMILTON Chicago company members, will ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW An Evening at the Talk House 2017-10-19 - Playwright: Wallace Shawn At: A Red Orchid Theater, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: $30-$35 Runs through: Nov. 19 It's ...


Gay News

DANCIN' FEATS The 'Play' is the thing 2017-10-18 - By Joanna Furnans In a few weeks, Faye Driscoll and her cast of performers will return to the Museum of Contemporary Art ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Dracula 2017-10-18 - Playwright: Sean Graney adaptation from Timothy F. Griffin's script At: The Hypocrites at Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: 773-325-1700; MercuryTheaterChicago.com; $30-$55. ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Two Mile Hollow 2017-10-18 - Playwright: Leah Nanako Winkler. At: First Floor Theater at the Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $10-$20. Runs through: Nov. 4 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Zombie Bathhouse: A Rock Musical 2017-10-18 - Music & Lyrics: Scott Free. Book: Brian Kirst. Directed by: Dan Foss At: Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. Tickets: ZombieBathhouse.net; $20. ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2017-10-18 - Fun Home, Victory Gardens Theater, through Nov. 12. Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori's Tony-winning musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir is ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Punk 2017-10-18 - Playwright: Michael Allen Harris At: The New Colony at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: TheNewColony.org; $20. Runs through: Nov. 5 ...


Gay News

Theater Spotlight 2017-10-18 - The Joffrey Ballet plans to abandon the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in favor of the Civic Opera House in 2020. But before ...


 



Copyright © 2017 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


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.