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 2018-03-14
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Shay Youngblood

Pegasus Theatre Chicago at Chicago Dramatists, 773 N. Aberdeen Ave. Tickets: 866-811-4111 or; $20-$30. Runs through: Dec. 10

There are many powerful performances to treasure in Pegasus Theatre Chicago's strong revival of Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery. First staged by the late Chicago Theatre Company back in 1998, Shay Youngblood's play is chock full of compelling scenes for a company of amazingly talented African-American women.

Director Ilesa Duncan previously staged Shakin'… before, so this Pegasus revival has the assured air of an artistic authority who knows the piece through and through. And Duncan has assembled a marvelous company of multi-talented actor/singers to fully embody Youngblood's vivid characters.

Shakin'… is framed by the anonymously named adult "Daughter" ( Melanie Loren ). Just back from a funeral, Daughter lovingly reflects back to her childhood in the 1960s to honor the strong and caring women of her Southern community who raised her following her mother's death.

The bulk of Shakin'… consists of Daughter soaking in life lessons from these characterful and experienced women. Sometimes Daughter is given a direct lecture by the likes of the Bible-quoting Big Mama ( Felisha "Ekudayo" McNeil ), while other times it's just being a silent and wide-eyed observer following gospel choir members like Aunt Mae ( Stacie Doublin ) and Miss LaMama ( Toni Lynice Fountain ) working out their angry rivalry over claims to the same man.

Stories about humiliating racism are shared first hand ( debrah neal as Miss Corrine, who gets caught up in an unfortunate chewing-tobacco incident ), or they're passed down from generations ago ( Darian Tene as the vengeful domestic Miss Shine, who has deadly method of retribution for her bigoted employers ).

Daughter also learns directly from members of her own community who are shunned, including the "girl gone wrong" Maggie ( Takesha Meshé Kizart ), and the simultaneously covert and overt lesbian Miss Tom ( Sandra Watson ).

Loren's Daughter amusingly and touchingly taps into being a child without coming off as phony or cloying. Loren's Daughter also skillfully masks how her generalized character largely serve as a plot device to tie all these disparate stories together.

Yet on reflection, Youngblood's script could do with a better over-arching structure and focus. The prologue gives the impression that five particular elders are going to be the biggest influence on Daughter, but Shakin'… often steers on tangents away from these women to other characters with more significant scenes. Daughter's takeaway from these moments aren't always articulated, either.

So Shakin'… is best savored moment to moment. Each scene provides meaty material for each performer to shine dramatically, comically and vocally. And that's more than enough to make this Pegasus revival of Shakin… a welcome return.

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.


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea 2018-03-18 - Playwright: Nathan Alan Davis At: First Floor Theater at The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $10-$20. Runs through: March 31 Tribal ...

Gay News

Cheyenne Jackson to be at workshop benefit 2018-03-16 - On Sunday, March 18, Chicago Theatre Workshop will hold its spring benefit on the Main stage at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln ...

Gay News

THEATER Looking for a fight: Art as disruption in 'Seven Fights' 2018-03-14 - "Have you ever punched anyone in the face?" an actor—coincidentally, the biggest on the stage—asks the audience at the start of the show ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Plantation! 2018-03-14 - At: Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave. Tickets: Lookingglass; $40- $75. Runs through: April 22 Imagine the Three Stooges ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Kingdom 2018-03-14 - Playwright: Michael Allen Harris At: Broken Nose Theatre at the Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: Pay-what-you-can. Runs through: April 7 Our ...

Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Nine 10-minute plays about lesbians 2018-03-14 - Nine 10-minute plays about lesbians are on tap this weekend in Buena Park. With History Lezons, a roster of playwrights who identity as ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW You for Me for You 2018-03-14 - Playwright: Mia Chung At: Sideshow Theatre Company @ Victory Gardens, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-871-3000;; $20-$30. Runs through: April 8 ...

Gay News

Goodman directing fellow named 2018-03-14 - Goodman Theatre announced Jo Cattell as the recipient of the 2017/2018 Michael Maggio Directing Fellowship—an honor reserved for early-career Chicago-based directors. Cattell will ...

Gay News

Stage 773 launches panel series 2018-03-14 - Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., is presenting an all-new, quarterly Artists Professional Development Series beginning Monday, April 2, at 5:30 p.m. ...

Gay News

Lesbian-themed 'The Cake' coming up 2018-03-14 - Rivendell Theatre Ensemble ( RTE )—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced the Midwest premiere of ...


Copyright © 2018 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.








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.