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  A Touch of the Poet at Stage 773

A Touch of the Poet

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave Chicago

Master playwright Eugene O'Neill unravels a tale of heartbreak and hope in his Irish-American family drama A Touch of The Poet. Patriarch Con Melody's whiskey-fueled reminisces and never-ending chase of The American Dream come to a boiling point when challenged by an ambitious, love-struck daughter, a devoted, broken wife and unrelenting Yankee prejudice.

Presented by The Artistic Home

Thru - Nov 6, 2011

Price: $15-$28

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-327-5252

Running Time: 2hrs, 40mins; one intermission

Stage 773 Seating Charts

Nearby Restaurants

  A Touch of the Poet Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...The Artistic Home has long displayed a flair for the Irish and American classics, and each supporting role here gets spirited character work. Joseph Wiens is perfect as the gentlemanly young Irish bartender who loves both Sara and her mother. And Kevin Gladish, Kevin D’Ambrosio, Jimmy Ronan and Larry Garner zestily capture the penniless, uneducated riff-raff who perpetuate Irish immigrant stereotypes."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...O'Neill puts his audience through as many changes as he puts his characters, but it's worth it. Frank Nall is riveting as the play's difficult, deluded patriarch, and Elizabeth Argus does a star turn as his rebellious, argumentative, but ultimately loving daughter."
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Jack Helbig

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Elizabeth Argus delivers a marathon-paced performance in the role of young Sara Melody, navigating O'Neill's protracted speeches with the modulated ease of an opera diva, as does Frank Nall's intense Cornelius Melody, whose immersion in his character's conflicted poetry-quoting psyche remains undiminished right up to the final resolution. The remainder of the cast also reflects Artistic Home's high standards of expertise in Stage 773's intimate Black Box theater, but special mention is due Katherine Swan's chillingly candid portrait of Sara's potential mother-in-law as the embodiment of the Byronic female counterpart to the masculine ideal that so eludes the envious Melody."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Scambiatterra’s production is solid—at times excellent—but it has trouble making O’Neill’s various genres blend. The playwright’s grandiloquent gestures (Con repeatedly staring into the mirror and reciting Byron) are played with a restraint more fit for Pinter; they come off as simply weird. Meanwhile, the broadest humor (Con has a crack-’em-up crew o’ brawlers millin’ round his estate) is imprecise slapstick. Still, this production is the rare one that gains momentum. In the final moments, Con has a major revelation, a reckoning with his roots, that Nall plays pitch-perfectly."
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Christopher Shea

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Frank Nall is the larger-than-life Con Melody hopelessly stuck in the past whose present troubles are dimmed by whiskey. Elizabeth Argus, as Sara and Sally Eames, as Nora, complete the tragic Melody family. O’Neill sure has a handle on the trials of the Irish struggle for acceptance in America. He also depicts how past glories can overwhelm a person. The plague of whiskey in life both fuels and dims the tough life of the Irish. Fear, bitterness and poverty inhibit social growth in 19th Century America. O’ Neill’s high drama explores one family’s struggle. Kathy Scambiatterra’s direction is strong and their new digs at the remolded Stage 773 are a first-class improvement."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"... Seldom forfeiting sympathy in her clear-eyed struggle for freedom, Elizabeth Argus’ Sara never seems nobler than when she stakes all for love. If that illusion is no more solid than Con's paltry pride, it's the one we'll always take for best. Riveting in her self-effacement, Sally Eames plays Nora with a numbness that threatens to become its opposite and finally, explodes, magnificently, in battered loyalty. The ensemble of ten belong to their parts as if they’d never played any others."

Lawrence Bommer

Chicago Theater Beat - Recommended

"...A Touch of the Poet captivates with timeless themes. Long after the curtain, I continued to contemplate the characters’ outcomes. Pretending is powerful stuff!"

Katy Walsh

  A Touch of the Poet 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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