Saturday, September 24, 2016

REVIEW: American Blues Theater's Dutchman/TRANSit Delivers Through 9/25

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

by Amiri Baraka 
by Darren Canady  

                    Now running through September 25, 2016

Keep your arms and legs inside the train at all times. You're in for a ride! These transit tales are full of bullying, hate crimes, race, gender, and social issues. Here at ChiIL Live Shows we loved this perfect pairing. Highly recommended.

The acting in both shows is superb and the sets are incredibly clever. In a swift transfer during intermission, the audience is effectively transported forward 50 years to present day New York City, for a world premiere commissioned work that meshes well with the thought provoking intensity and energy of the still too timely Dutchman. We truly adored TRANSit, too, from the clever play on words in the title, through the cringeworthy climax. 

I shared an apartment with a transgender woman back in the mid 90's, and this portrayal was spot on. Before I got to know her well, I'd had many gay friends who had experienced violence and bullying from peers and society, but most found a safe haven in the gay community and their partner choices. As a pre op "Third World Girl", she had been attacked numerous times, even severely enough to be hospitalized. Yet she was not attracted to gay men and most drawn to just the type of young, straight, homophobic thugs most likely to bring her bodily harm, just like the characters in TRANSit. I called them her "Neanderthals". Every time she got close enough to a guy to get intimate, it had the potential of turning into a violent betrayal when they discovered her physical truths didn't match her facade. This is an incredibly intense set of plays, especially presented in tandem. Kudos to American Blues for giving a voice and space to the darker side of our culture, with two stellar shows, and opening some eyes and minds. 

Joseph Jefferson Award recommended

“PROFOUND IN CONCEPTION. Daring! High-stakes pairing. Timeless complexities.” – Chicago Tribune

TRANSit is the PERFECT JUXTAPOSITION to Dutchman. These train rides are filled with the RAW, UNCUT issues of our society.” – Newcity

“BEST BETS for fall theater - a double bill of PROVOCATION!” – Chicago Reader


“THRILLING THEATER.” – Windy City Times

“MUCH-VITAL STAGING with thoroughly MODERN TWIST!” – Chicago Theatre Review

Dutchman / TRANSit
All photos to the credit of Michael Brosilow

AUGUST 26 — SEPTEMBER 25, 2016
Dutchman by: Amiri Baraka
Dutchman Directed by: Chuck Smith
TRANSit by: Darren Canady
TRANSit Directed by: Lisa Portes

Experience two powerful plays in one event. See Dutchman—one of the most important plays in 20th-century culture to take on race relations. Then inspired by Baraka’s pivotal work, watch the world-premiere commission TRANSit, about an encounter between two strangers that reveals more than planned when an explosive mix of identity, sex, and betrayal is unleashed. Featuring Ensemble member Manny Buckley. To learn more about Dutchman / TRANSit, read our Backstage Guide.

This production must close September 25, 2016.
(773) 404-7336 box office
  • Thursday: 7:30pm
  • Friday: 7:30pm
  • Saturday: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
  • Sunday: 2:30pm
There's an additional performance on  9/12 @ 7:30pm 
Duration: Runs 2 hours with one intermission.
  • Location: Greenhouse Theater Center at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
  • Ticket Price: $19-$49
  • Recommended for ages 14 yrs +;
  • Adult language & themes, and violence.
  • Town Halls: We offer free post-show events on Sundays and other events. Learn more.


(in order of appearance): Michael Pogue (“Clay” in Dutchman), Amanda Drinkall (“Lula” in Dutchman), Manny Buckley* (“Veronica” in TRANSit), Jake Szczepaniak(“Luke” in TRANSit), and Edgar Miguel Sanchez (“Lalo” in TRANSit). ENSEMBLE (in alphabetical order): Grant Carriker, Sawyer Krause, Warren Levon, Kirstin McGinnis,and Nicola Rinow.

    PRODUCTION TEAM: Amiri Baraka (playwright of Dutchman), Chuck Smith (director of Dutchman), Darren Canady* (playwright of TRANSit), Lisa Portes (director ofTRANSit), Sarah E. Ross* (scenic), Sarah Hughey* (lights), Christopher J. Neville* (costumes), Thomas Dixon (sound), Alec Long (properties), Ricardo Garcia (dance choreographer), Vincent Teninty (fight director), and Kevin Gregory Dwyer (production stage manager).

        Thursday: 7:30 p.m.
        Friday: 7:30 p.m.
        Saturday:  3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
        Sunday: 2:30 p.m.

        Location: Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago
        Ticket prices: $19 - $49
        Box Office: Buy online at or by calling 773.404.7336.

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