Articles tagged with: Ron OJ Parson
Review: In part, in an almost paradoxical way, Pearl Cleage’s play “Blues for an Alabama Sky” is about the idealistic, short-lived Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. But what makes Cleage’s drama – and Court Theatre’s current production brilliantly directed by Ron OJ Parson – so compelling lies in the story’s humanity, in the tragic flaws and the upward determination of characters making their way along the streets of daily life. ★★★★
Interview: Actors know the OMG moment well. You win the audition and get the part. Then comes hard reality: You actually have to do it. But for Tyla Abercrumbie, who gives one of those performances you can’t take your eyes from in Eugene Lee’s “East Texas Hot Links” at Writers Theatre, the daunting truth was not simply that she had to measure up to what she’d won. She had to figure out why her character was even in the play.
Review: Eugene Lee’s lyrical tragedy “East Texas Hotlinks” is an exquisite song of betrayal, an ironic ballad of the enemy within. And it is pitch perfect in a fluent, wryly comedic and quite astonishing production directed by Ron OJ Parson at Writers Theatre. The grace and truth of August Wilson’s poetic style permeate the characters as well as the language of Lee’s 1991 play, a reflection of this playwright-actor’s long association with the Wilson canon. ★★★★★
Review: Nina’s life is nowhere. She’s a twentysomething black girl with no real prospects, living in a dumpy apartment and attached – emotionally, financially, perhaps forcibly – to a tough but needy dude with great dreams and no solid plan. Then who should pop back into her tenuous world but her dad, she would say dad in name only, once a big player in the black power movement and recently released from prison. The old man wants something. Nina just wants him out. That’s the setup for Dominique Morisseau’s taut, gritty, redemptive play “Sunset Baby,” in a blistering account at TimeLine Theatre. ★★★★
Review: August Wilson’s decade-by-decade portrait gallery of the African-American experience across the 20th century begins just two generations after slavery, indeed with characters who were born into shackles. To grasp the cultural resonance and progression of the last nine plays in the sequence, it’s essential to know the first one, “Gem of the Ocean,” which now unfolds in a perceptive and finely textured production directed by Ron OJ Parson at Court Theatre. ★★★★
10th in a series of season previews
Second in a series of season previews: Surveying the scheme of plays, actors and directors for TimeLine Theatre’s 2015-16 season, its 19th, artist director PJ Powers’ voice fills with palpable excitement. The company’s opener, Arthur Miller’s “The Price,” observes the playwright’s 100th birth year – and it stars Chicago’s living legend, Mike Nussbaum, who’s not far behind Miller on that time line.
Review: Ayad Akhtar’s third play, “The Who & The What,” which now occupies the stage at Victory Gardens, shares with its masterly predecessors — “Disgraced” and “The Invisible Hand” — the core issue of conflict between Muslim heritage and mainstream American culture. But this time, Akhtar’s work verges on ethnic sitcom. ★★
10th in a series of season previews You can hear the phrase resonate in his voice when Charles Newell, artistic director of Court Theatre, says the company wanted to do something “very exciting” this season in observance of its 60th anniversary. It has turned out to be not one thing but more like a menu, spanning centuries and cultures, classics to modern explorations. The season opens with Nambi E. Kelley’s world-premiere adaptation of Richard Wright’s novel “Native Son,” about a young black man trapped by desperate circumstances in a white world. The project is a joint venture by Court and American Blues Theater.
Review: A meeting of minds, of sensibilities, between director Ron OJ Parson and playwright August Wilson illuminates a lyrical, joyful and heartbreaking production of Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” at Court Theatre, delivered by an ensemble that’s as sly as it is polished. ★★★★★
Review: A piece of the American dream. That’s really all the ambitious, optimistic Lank wants for himself and his sister Chelle in Dominique Morisseau’s blistering – and touchingly funny – drama “Detroit ’67,” currently illuminating the stage at Northlight Theatre. ★★★★
Review: The disturbing thing about Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play “A Raisin in the Sun,” a sharply drawn portrait of America’s racial divide and one black family’s resolve to cross that chasm, is how current it still feels in the season-opening production at TimeLine Theatre, potently and humanely crafted by director Ron OJ Parson. ★★★★
Review: On his last night on earth, exhausted from his civil rights campaign, the threat of assassination constantly before him, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps hinted at a premonition of his own end when he declared that he had “been to the mountaintop” and “seen the Promised Land.” Playwright Katori Hall spins that intimation into luminous fantasy in “The Mountaintop,” a transmigrational arabesque for two players that now irradiates the stage at Court Theatre. ★★★★
11th in a series of season previews: “It’s been a long while since I read a play and without hesitation said, ‘We have to do this,’” says Court Theatre artistic director Charles Newell about Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop,” which imagines Martin Luther King’s last night on earth. King had given a speech that day in Memphis in which he famously touched on a premonition that he would die soon. Hall’s play catches up with him a few hours later in his hotel room, a weary man who strikes up a conversation with the chamber maid.
Seventh in season preview series: Northlight Theatre’s marquee for 2013-14 promises a world premiere turn by actor John Mahoney, the company directing debut of Ron OJ Parson in a Midwest premiere and director Kimberly Senior’s inauguration in her new role as the 39-year-old company’s first artistic associate.
First in a series of season previews: TimeLine Theatre rolls into its 17th season by turning back the clock more than half a century to Lorraine Hansberry’s classic story of racial prejudice in Chicago, “A Raisin in the Sun.” Though two of the Milwaukee Rep leads will appear at TimeLine – Greta Oglesby as Mama, who’s bent on seeing her family better situated, and Mildred Marie Langford as her daughter Beneatha, who dreams of a medical career – this production will be a complete rethinking of the work, from sets to concept.
Seventh in a series of season previews: What begins in September as an ambitious and far-flung season at Court Theatre, with August Wilson’s “Jitney,” ends next spring with nothing less than a prodigious Molière double-header, back to back productions of “The Misanthrope” and “Tartuffe.”
Interview: The scruffy creature with darting eyes who calls himself Davies looks like his last bed was a cardboard box on the street. He is the elusive but palpably real character at the core of Harold Pinter’s play “The Caretaker,” now on the boards at Writers’ Theatre, and he’s brought to wheedling, calculating life in a masterful piece of acting by Bill Norris.
Deliciously bizarre test of wits. 4 stars!