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  The March at Steppenwolf Theatre

The March

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

General William Tecumseh Sherman, Uncle Billy to his men, marches 62,000 Union soldiers through lush Georgia countryside. Bearing along both black and white refugees, the march destroys everything in its path, turning home into exile and exile into home. Its epic force forever changes the lives of those caught up in its sweep: a liberated slave, a sheltered daughter of a Southern judge, a pair of Confederate deserters and Uncle Billy himself. The March is a story of momentous upheaval and the limits of courage and love.

Thru - Jun 10, 2012

Price: $20-$78

Stage: Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 2hrs, 50mins

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  The March Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Aside from being a ruthless killer-general who put a stake through the bleeding heart of the Old South, and did so right in its own backyard, William Tecumseh Sherman was quite the student of human nature. Indeed, as played by the ever-restless, raw and verbose Harry Groener in Frank Galati's rich, erudite and high-minded — if overly chilly and elliptical — new Steppenwolf Theatre stage adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's 2005 novel "The March," Sherman's soliloquies and colloquies have a decidedly Shakespearean air."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"... The overriding problem with Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere of “The March” — the stage adaptation by director Frank Galati of the E.L. Doctorow novel inspired by General William Tecumseh Sherman’s smash-and-burn campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas late in the Civil War — is that it is altogether too civilized."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Much of the dialogue and plot of Galati's The March are true to Doctorow's book, but the emotional arc flattens out as it winds down. As great-great-granddad's little joke demonstrates, the most significant events in history come to fullest life in the presence of ironic and telling details."
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Kerry Reid

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...This latest entry in a season of mega-productions features an assembly of decorated thespians, led by Harry Groener as the leader of the most brutal military campaign ever fought on U.S. soil, and if many of the supporting players are dwarfed by the breadth of their material, their tale nevertheless reminds us that the "do," in the not-to-reason-why-but-to-do-or-die homily, means unquestioning destruction—"us" remorselessly slaughtering "them" and letting the historians (and novelists) argue the rest."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"... To all that have seen the show, I’m sure it is agreed: the script is sheer poetry. Galati has shaped Doctorow’s prose, pruned it with the skill of a master bonsai artist, into lyric passages and fiery outbursts worthy of a place on the shelf with the finest playwrights of all time. The show is giant: 3 hours of soaring soliloquies and sweeping pronouncements on the nature of the rough beast slouching toward Savannah, and the ashes left in its wake. The play is episodic, following a handful of men and women caught in the wake of this juggernaut, and returning, always, to the man at the reins."

John Dalton

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...the adapter-director is quite successful at getting into the minds of Doctorow’s foremost characters. Harry Groener’s Sherman is convincingly brilliant, conflicted and mildly unstable, while Ian Barford tears up the stage as unbalanced Confederate opportunist Arly Wilcox. A luminous Shannon Matesky gets the show’s breakout role, terrifically inhabiting “white Negro” Pearl Jameson’s own tentative march toward freedom."
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Kris Vire

Chicago Theatre Addict - Somewhat Recommended

"...The March is supposedly (according to Steppenwolf marketing materials) about General William Tecumseh Sherman, who infamously marched 62,000 Union soldiers through Georgia, destroying everything in their path — a strategic tactic known as the “scorched earth policy.” So, I did my duty and read up on (wikied) General Sherman and his March prior to showtime. Fascinating stuff. But the play actually features little of Sherman (played with weary charm and unconventional command by Harry Groener). Instead, we’re taken to the periphery of the March to see the impact this landscape- and life-altering event had on various people."
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Bob Bullen

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Galati, with a military commander’s strategic cunning, marshals his formidable troupe of actors through the twists and risks of this multilayered drama. Though locations and characters may change in a twinkling, the narrative cloth never frays. It is all one story, one fabric: the tale of an episode in American history and yet the whole history of war in one glimpse."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...The action moves in short scenes, with characters coming and going from the rear of the stage and the wings, and occasionally the aisles. Galati does a masterful job of orchestrating the continuous movement, so visually there isn’t a dull moment in the show. But all the creative design work and fine acting don’t add up to a play that should be as compelling as the events it describes. The production falls into the “nice try” category, resourceful and committed but in the final reckoning it doesn’t quite come off."
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Dan Zeff

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"... Even with those caveats, The March is a worthy work that falls just short of epic and well above the trite on the strength of many fine performances and a heartbreakingly elegiac moral. It’s not just the war, but the bitter realization that more than just infrastructure has been destroyed or lives lost. Bodies can be buried, cities can be rebuilt and crops replanted, but the the shell shock rightfully remains in the ears of those who take up the mantle of peace—a mournful tinnitus echoing a warning in the aftermath."
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Clint May

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Like his superb cultural collage “Ragtime,” E.L. Doctorow’s novel “The March,” here distilled into a three-hour action drama by Steppenwolf’s Tony Award-winning Frank Galati, concretizes a pivotal moment and a vast panorama. Adaptor and director Galati translates a sweeping military maneuver into representative lives—and deaths—of Southern victims and Northern invaders. Like “Ragtime,” it never pretends to be history in words. It combines real figures with imaginary ones (including the father of Coalhouse Walker, the incendiary to come). Fittingly, it’s the final offering in Steppenwolf’s 2011/2012 “Dispatches from the Homefront” series."

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...Actors of note in this strong ( but long) production are Alana Arenas,Carrie Coons,Mariann Mayberry, James Vincent Meredith,Phillip James Brannon and Shannon Matesky as Pearl. The ensemble is made up of some fine actors, many who play minor roles and prove the old adage, “there is no such thing as a small part, only small actors” . Each character in a play adds to the overall totality of the production and while this is not a production that will have the mass appeal of Galati’s previous adaptation of a Doctorow novel, “Ragtime”, it is a strong production."
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Alan Bresloff

  The March Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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