Author: Brittany Crowell


A full-body celebration of telling stories, being vulnerable, and (very loosely) Illinois making some noise right now at the St. James Theatre.  

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I had the pleasure of witnessing a night full of understudies who really stepped up to the plate.  Gianna Harris stepped into the role of Ali and brought such gumption, brightness and joy to the role, I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear watching her.  I also got to see Lamont Walker II step on as Knuck and Jade Milan and Oscar Whitney Jr as Tiny and Riq respectively, hitting the show beats like weathered sticks in the hands of a professional drummer.

Hell’s Kitchen is a love letter to growing up in New York. Diaz and Keys, with the help of Brown’s choreography and expert direction by Michael Grief, celebrate the stories of those inhabiting stories upon stories within the high rises; it is a joyful song to the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” and how lovely it must be for Keys to see “her name on [this] Marquee found down on Broadway.”

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Jordans presents a worthy perspective with lots to unpack.  How do we unlock the door and let ourselves out of the complex?  The play doesn’t have solutions to offer, though it creatively and surreally poses the depth of the problem to the audience – spoiler alert, the troubles run deep.

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A piece of documentary theater that combines perfect portions of fact, statistics, politics, and emotion; Grenfelll: In the Words of Survivors bakes up a well-seasoned call to action; enlightening and inspiring citizens to take part in their local community and take care of each other.

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