ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
Writers Theatre concludes its 2021/22 Season with the World Premiere musical event
Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues:
A Night with Felicia P. Fields
created by Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson
directed by Ron OJ Parson
June 23 – July 24, 2022
Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy, concludes its 2021/22 Season with Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues: A Night with Felicia P. Fields. The production runs June 23, 2022 – July 24, 2022 in the in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. I'll be out for the Press Opening July 1, so check back shortly for my full review.
Singing the Blues is what Tony Award nominee Felicia P. Fields was born to do, and she can’t wait to be back in front of a crowd with her band. This world premiere musical event—created by Fields and Ron OJ Parson, who collaborated on WT’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom—honors and celebrates the great Blues artists of the past, including Big Mama Thornton, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf and more! Grab your drink, take your seat and enjoy the riffs, rhythms and rapport of a star performer and her seasoned band of musicians as they do what they do best: swap stories, belt the Blues and put on one helluva show.
“To hear Felicia Fields sing the Blues is an experience you’ll never forget. With this original show, Felicia has personally picked a set list of classic Blues songs that tells a compelling story of this most American of music and how it has shaped her life. Collaborating with her friend, the magnificent Ron OJ Parson, and an accomplished band of musicians, Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues will be a cathartic and joyful concert celebration,” says Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy. “As August Wilson once wrote in his play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, ‘You sing ‘cause that’s a way of understanding life.’ I cannot wait to see Felicia Fields take the stage at Writers Theatre this summer, to hear her sing, and to understand more about life.”
The cast features Felicia P. Fields. They will be supported by a live band including Chic Street Man (Music Director/Guitar), Ricardo Jimenez (Horn & Harp), Frank Menzies (Keyboard), Harold Morrison (Drums), and Julie Poncé (Bass).
The creative team includes: Jack Magaw (Scenic Designer), Rueben Echoles (Costume Designer), Jared Gooding (Lighting Designer), and Eric Backus (Sound Designer), and the stage manager is David Castellanos.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Tony nominee (The Color Purple) Felicia P. Fields is returning to Writers Theatre after appearing in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, also directed by Ron OJ Parson. Audience members frequently commented that they longed for Felicia to sing more in Ma Rainey, which inspired the creation of this production.
Felicia P. Fields (Performer/Co-Creator) earned a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in The Color Purple on Broadway and a 2006 Theatre World Award, two Broadway.com awards, an NAACP nomination and the award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Sophisticated Ladies. She previously appeared at Writers in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Northlight Theatre credits include she and E. Faye Butler’s revue of Let the Good Times Roll, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, and Low Down Dirty Blues. Other credits include: Marriott Theatre, Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, Theatre at the Center, Milwaukee Rep, The Broadway Playhouse and the Goodman Theatre. She has performed throughout the country in the musical Low Down Dirty Blues. Television/film credits include Slice with Chance the Rapper, Save the Last Dance, Who Gets the Dog, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Bad Judge (NBC), Sense8 (Netflix), Early Edition (CBS), The Knights of Prosperity (ABC) and many commercials/voice-overs to date. She is the recipient of a Clarence Dewitt Award, many Joseph Jefferson nominations and won the Jeff award for her performances in Sophisticated Ladies. Governor Quinn declared July 24th Felicia P. Fields Day.
Ron OJ Parson is enjoying a string of successful productions. His recent acclaimed work includes Court Theatre’s Two Trains Running and Relentless with TimeLine Theatre Company (also remounted at Goodman Theatre).
Ron OJ Parson (Director/Co-Creator) hails from Buffalo, New York and is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theatre program. He is a Resident Artist at Court Theatre, former co-founder and artistic director of the Onyx Theatre Ensemble, and co-founder of the Beyond the Stage Theatre Project. Ron is a company member of TimeLine Theatre, and associate artist at Writers Theatre and Teatro Vista. Court Theatre: Two Trains Running, Fences, Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, and Jitney by August Wilson; The Mountaintop by Katori Hall; Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett; Sizwe Banzi is Dead by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona; Blues for an Alabama Sky and Flyin’ West by Pearl Cleage; Home by Samm-Art Williams; Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott; The First Breeze of Summer by Leslie Lee; and the musical Five Guys Named Moe. In Chicagoland, Ron has also worked with Black Ensemble Theatre, eta Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago Dramatists, Congo Square, Oak Park Theatre Festival, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Northlight, Chicago Dramatists, Urban Theater Company, Steppenwolf, and City Lit Theatre. Regional theatres include American Players Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Portland Stage (Maine), Studio Arena Theatre, Roundabout, Studio Theatre (DC), Baltimore Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Wilshire Theater, Coronet Theatre, The Mechanic Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, St. Louis Black Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Geva, Signature (New York), The Alliance Theatre, South Coast Rep, Kansas City Repertory, and Pasadena Playhouse. In Canada, Ron directed the world premiere of Palmer Park at the Stratford Festival. Ron is a member of SAG-AFTRA, SDC, and Actors Equity.
Felicia P. Fields and Chic Street Man performed across the country together in It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, seen locally at Northlight Theatre.
Chic Street Man (Music Director) has been a featured performer in the US, France and in other parts of Europe, including the Montreux, Paleo and Bern Jazz Festivals in Switzerland, and the United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva. He recorded his first album in Paris, and later landed in Santa Barbara, CA where he founded Chic Street Man's School of Performing Arts. Chic composed the music and starred in the off-Broadway hit show, Spunk, adapted by George C. Wolfe from three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston He was a contributing author, performer and musical arranger for the Denver Center Theater Company's It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues. He composed the score and was the featured performer in the Cleveland Playhouse's world premiere of Touch The Names--Letters to The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. He was the Arranger, Musical Director and Composer for the McCarter and Berkeley Repertory Theater’s production of Zora Neale Hurston’s Polk County, where he also won the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Musical Direction. Chic was Professor Slick in Pullman Porter Blues at the Seattle Rep, Arena Stage in DC and the Goodman Theater in Chicago. He starred in Low Down Dirty Blues at the Milwaukee Rep, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Arizona Theater Company and has appeared in the films Triple Bogey and Hangin' With The Home Boys.
Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the distinguished 2021/22 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank’s ninth consecutive year as season sponsor.
Dates: First performance: Thursday, June 23, 2022
Press opening: Friday, July 1, 2022 at 7:30pm
Closing performance: Sunday, July 24, 2022
Wednesdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:00pm and 6:00pm
Location: The Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Prices: Prices for all performances range from $35 - $90, Purchase early for best prices
Box Office: The Box Office is located at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe; 847-242-6000; www.writerstheatre.org
COVID SAFETY POLICIES
Writers Theatre requires all seated patrons to wear a mask during performances. If you attend without a mask, Writers Theatre will provide one for you. Masks will be optional but strongly recommended in non-theatre spaces throughout the WT building, including the lobby and restrooms. Please visit https://www.writerstheatre.org/covid-safety for full details.
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:
WT offers Access Performances, including ASL-interpretation and Open Captioning on select dates for each production. Please visit writerstheatre.org/accessibility for more information.
Writers Theatre is also working with Erika Walker and Maylene Peña of the Walker Thomas Group on workplace culture and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional information about this important and ongoing work can be found at writerstheatre.org/working-at-wt.
ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE
Writers Theatre boldly looks to the future as it begins its 30th season. Having captivated audiences for years with its dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible, the theatre is now a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called “America’s finest regional theater company” by The Wall Street Journal.
Since 1992, Writers Theatre has stayed true to its core values: valuing the power of the written word and uplifting the artists who bring that word to life. The company has produced over 120 productions—everything from inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work. In 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility designed by the internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to accommodate its growing audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy.
Writers Theatre now welcomes more than 60,000 patrons each season and has helped establish the North Shore of Chicago as a premier cultural destination. Through its Literary Development Initiative, which has been responsible for the nurturing and premiering of over two dozen world premieres, the theatre has established itself as a major originator of new theatrical works. Serving as an extension of the Writers Theatre mission, WT Education programs engage an average 10,000 students each year with active learning opportunities centered around the written word.