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  Mad Beat Hip and Gone at The Edge Off-Broadway

Mad Beat Hip and Gone

The Edge Off-Broadway
1133 West Catalpa Avenue Chicago

This Midwest premiere of a new Steven Dietz play considers 1950s America, when magnificent poets roamed open highways, accompanied by jukebox jazz. The nation's youth hit the road, high on full tanks of gas and brimming with unattainable dreams. Two magnificently average young men from Nebraska encounter Jack Kerouac and his friends in a bar. They respond by heading west themselves, trailing the Beat poets all the way to the golden land of California. Youthful exuberance is balanced by the untethered floundering of the older generation and their bittersweet knowledge that all dreams are fleeting. MAD BEAT HIP & GONE marries the realism and sharp dialogue for which Dietz is famous, with the achingly brilliant poetry of the Beat Generation. It's a road trip you won't want to miss.

Presented by Promethean Theatre Ensemble

Thru - Jun 1, 2019

Show Type: Drama

  Mad Beat Hip and Gone Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...It's a shame, because the first act contains some of Dietz's most delicate, elliptical writing that nicely captures the despair prowling just below our midwestern pluck, setting up what should be an epic saga. Director Jess Hutchinson's cast teases out sweet and desperate nuances in these opening scenes, but all that potential is squandered in a journey that goes nowhere."
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Justin Hayford

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Jess Hutchinson directs with a minimalist approach and a sensitive touch, getting excellent performances from her whole cast, but none finer than King, who captures the very complicated journey of Danny from a fatherless childhood defined by a lie to an equally fatherless manhood defined by the wanderlust and poetry and "seeking" that were the Beats' hallmarks. Hutchinson gives King room in his powerful and poetic soliloquies to show off his character's vulnerabilities as well as his joys, and King is just outstanding."
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Karen Topham

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Beautifully tooled up by Jess Hutchinson, Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s Chicago premiere captures the perils and possibilities of surrendering to the mindless movement of travel for its own sake. Appropriately, Bec Willett’s backdrop is a muddied map of the U.S. that lights up to illustrate the action."
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Lawrence Bommer

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...In the end, I think the show gets lost in its source material rather than finding something new to say about either its characters or Kerouac. I fully acknowledge that if I were more familiar with or felt more of a connection to Kerouac or that era generally I might feel differently, but like I said, I think a work, even one steeped in and meant as an homage to another, has to stand on its own. The talented and charming cast gives it their all, but their work gets lost in the stream."
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Kevin Curran - Recommended

"...Strong performances and a script that channels Kerouac make this worthy show, definitely recommended to get a flavor of the period and a sense of how the Beat Generation was greeted by middle America."
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Bill Esler

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...It’s an emotional and nostalgic story that blends family ties and a search for meaning in the mid-century Midwest. Two young men—18 years old and yearning to escape from Kimball, Nebraska—are chasing, searching for …. something. For jazz and kicks, for what they see as an authentic life, for their dead or missing parents, or for a girl named Honey."
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Nancy Bishop

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