Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended
"...This is not an easy novel to dramatize. Part of the problem here is that a pivotal scene that explains Singer's own demons happens very quickly at the start of the show, before one has easily settled into its rhythms. It does not return and that distance makes it difficult to feel the cohesion of a dramatization that it is very driven by dialogue and that ultimately doesn't find quite the right way to center around Singer himself. Gordon's earnest, well-spoken, straight-up production is honest and faithful to the script — and she benefits greatly from a uniformly stellar group of actors, all very well cast. Overall, it's a production that reminds me of Steppenwolf's production of Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio," another powerful evocation of the trials of ordinary small-town folks, although that show had a powerful musicality and a tension that this more prosaic piece lacks."
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Chicago Sun Times - Recommended
"...Director Hallie Gordon should be applauded for never talking down to her audience, but she should have worked with Gilman to more quickly and sharply clarify the pivotal relationships here. She also should have demanded better vocal projection from some of her actors."
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ChicagoCritic - Recommended
"...High praise to Adapter Rebecca Gilman for achieving what might at first sight seem to be an impossible task — a drama centering on a deaf mute. A novelist can explore characters from all angles. How can this be achieved on stage with a deaf mute? Partially via narration, but mostly it is achieved though the nuances of body language and the skill of Schleifer, who is himself deaf. Gilman has remained very true to the book’s dialogue and major moments."
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Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended
"...“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is another excellent example of why Steppenwolf produces powerful ensemble driven theatre. The actors and actresses behind the production were wonderful; their robust level of talent was the only thing keeping eyes locked on the stage. They did an excellent job bringing Carson McCullers’ characters to life, and they are the reason I would recommend audiences should check this one out. I also would like to note that “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is a part of Steppenwolf’s theatre for young adults, but I think high school students will find more captivation by reading the actual novel. As for the rest of the theatre patrons out there, “Lonely Hunter” brings a nice level of performance from the cast, which makes it worth seeing."
Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended
"... The characters of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter stumble through their lives yearning for meaning, for love, for belief. All come up sadly short, while failing to return the embrace of one who has everything to share but limited means of expression. Though the story is often painful to behold, with the pain comes catharsis and lasting impact. Perhaps one of the play’s most telling bits of dialogue occurs when Biff recalls seeing Singer and Antonapoulos walking arm in arm in the street “like a couple of freaks.” “I like freaks,” Jake muses. “Me too,” says Biff. Me three."