Tuesday, January 30, 2018

REVIEW: Loving Lies Make The Man, In Moon Man Walk, Upstairs at Victory Gardens

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Definition Theatre Company 
Announces Final Production of 2017/18 Season
the Chicago Premiere of
Moon Man Walk
Written by James Ijames
Directed by Tyla Abercrumbie

all photos by joe mazza_brave lux, inc. 

Definition Theatre Company has a hit on their hands once again, with stellar storytelling, and a tender tale of love, lies, and loss. With a felon for a father and a single mom struggling to make ends meet, Monarch (Debo Balogunbeats the odds and matures into an articulate, literate young adult. Moon Man Walk begins as this bookish boy deals with the death of his mother, a new potential love interest, and memories of growing up with tales of an absentee astronaut father trapped on the moon. 

It's only after his mother's death that Monarch truly comes to know the essence of who she was and the sacrifices she made for him, as he sorts through her album collection and belongings with newfound friend and love interest, Petrushka (Chanell Bell).

This tender tale is told with wisdom and humor and plays out on a clever, multilevel set. All the actors do a fabulous job with Chanell Bell, Petrushka and Debo Balogun, Monarch as particular standouts. I was also impressed with on stage favorite, Tyla Abercrumbie's directorial debut skills. 

running time is approximately 85 minutes, no intermission 
January 26 - February 25, 2018

Definition Theatre Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director Tyrone Phillips and Managing Director Neel McNeill, announces the final production of its 2017-2018 Season, the Chicago premiere of Moon Man Walk, written by James Ijames and directed by Tyla Abercrumbie.  

Moon Man Walk runs January 26 - February 25, 2018 in the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, as part of Definition’s tenure in the Victory Gardens Resident Theater Program. The press opening is Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. Single tickets are on sale and may be purchased by calling the Victory Gardens box office at 773-781-3000 or at victorygardens.org.

Monarch must return to Philadelphia following the sudden death of his mother. On the journey back to his boyhood home to plan for her funeral, Monarch mourns, falls in love, and discovers that sometimes, the truth lies someplace between the surface of the moon and wherever you are. Moon Man Walk is a moving and enthralling new play exploring the enduring connection between a mother and her son, and the space required to recognize a past that is becoming ever more present.

“The Chicago theatre community must continue to nurture new work and give opportunities for regional and world premieres in order to be a national leader for the arts,” said Artistic Director Tyrone Phillips. “Definition Theatre is thrilled to be shifting our focus to produce what we call ‘future classics’ and end our season with Moon Man Walk by James Ijames. This production will mark our fourth Chicago Premiere as a company and we are very fortunate to have Tyla Abercrumbie making her directorial debut by way of this moving piece.”

The cast of Moon Man Walk includes:

Debo Balogun

**CASTING CHANGE: Chanell Bell now plays Petrushka in the Chicago premiere of Moon Man Walk. 

Shadana Patterson 

and Michael Anthony Rawlins

The creative team for Moon Man Walk includes Eleanor Kahn (Set Designer), Kristy Leigh Hall (Costume Designer), Slick Jorgensen (Lighting and Projection Designer), and Matt Test (Sound Designer). Mercedes White is the Assistant Director and Athanasia Giannetos is the dramaturg.

Dates: January 26 - February 25, 2018
Previews: January 26 - 28, 2018
Regular Run: February 1 - February 25, 2018

Schedule: Thursday: 8 p.m.
Friday: 8 p.m.
Saturday: 8 p.m.
Sunday: 2:30 p.m.

Location: The Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue,in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood

Ticket prices: $15-$30
Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.
773.871.3000; www.victorygardens.org.

Definition Theatre Company is part of the Victory Gardens Resident Theater Program. All performances during the 2017-2018 season will take place in the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens. 

About Definition Theatre Company
Definition Theatre Company is an ensemble-based Chicago theater founded by six graduates of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Featuring a multi-ethnic core companionship of actors, Definition strives to artistically reflect the myriad of modern America to inspire and engage the communities it represents through contemporary and classical theatrical works. Our mission is to tell language-driven, relationship-oriented, thought-provoking, socially relevant stories.

Definition has been afforded the opportunity to create work that reflects its unique voice. It shared the words of Academy Award-Winner Tarell Alvin McCraney in The Brothers Size, it grooved with Amiri Baraka's whirlwind story of a chance meeting on a train in Dutchman, and staged its first world premiere production, Genesis, written by ensemble member Mercedes White and inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s iconic masterwork A Raisin in the Sun. Most recently, Definition partnered with The New Colony to produce the world premiere of Byhalia, Mississippi. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “wise, funny, thoughtful and true”, Byhalia, Mississippi explored a family in turmoil and a small southern town haunted by its racially-charged past. Most recently, Definition, in association with the Goodman Theatre, staged the Chicago Premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon, a subversive take on race in America that captivated audiences this past summer.

Ensemble members include Owais Ahmed, Carley Cornelius, Martasia Jones, Kiki Layne, Kelson Michael McAuliffe, Julian Parker, Tyrone Phillips, Christopher Sheard and Mercedes White. Artistic Advisory Board members include director May Adrales, Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Alana Arenas, actress Shannon Cochran, Victory Gardens Theater Managing Director Erica Daniels, actor Brandon Dirden, actor Jason Dirden, Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam, director Pam Mackinnon, professor JW Morrissette, director Ron OJ Parson, professor/lighting designer Kathy Perkins and Tony Award-winning actress and stage director Phylicia Rashad. Tyrone Phillips is the Artistic Director and Neel McNeill is the Managing Director.

For additional information, visit definitiontheatre.org and facebook.com/definitiontheatrecompany

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