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  Jitney at Court Theatre


Court Theatre
5535 S. Ellis Avenue Chicago

Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson (The Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) returns to direct Jitney, Court’s latest installment of August Wilson’s Century Cycle. Described by Wilson as the play in which he discovered his voice, Jitney weaves themes of tragedy and transcendence into a rich tapestry of stories about a community struggling to get by and longing to flourish. Fraught relationships, violent tensions, and unfulfilled desires ebb and flow inside Becker’s car service, an unlicensed jitney station that serves the black community of Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1977. This powerful and timely piece explores the desperate need to connect when everything seems to be falling apart.

Thru - Oct 14, 2012

Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm & 7:30pm

Price: $45-$65

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-753-4472

Running Time: 2hrs, 40mins; one intermission

Court Theatre Seating Chart

  Jitney Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"..."Jitney" is generally regarded as more of a conventionally well-made play than Wilson's more experimental later works, when his rhetorical ambitions bring to mind Eugene O'Neill or Greek tragedy, the playwright having grown bored of writing plays like "Jitney," with their carefully structured beginning, middle and ends. But if the greatness of his language lies elsewhere, "Jitney" remains one of Wilson's most entertaining, craftful and user-friendly plays. There are no mystical characters watching over the action, no psychological excursions back through the city of bones. Just ordinary African-American guys in Pittsburgh trying to hack out a living and provide a service to their community."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"... Stuffed with stories, philosophy and history, “Jitney” is like a blues song with a few too many verses. But Parson, who has corraled many of the finest black actors in the city, keeps it singing soulfully in the key of Wilson."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...The theme is most powerfully realized in the clash between Becker, a proud man who's had to humble himself time and again, and his son Booster, whose uncompromising, tit-for-tat honor code landed him in the state penitentiary. Though the script grows baggy and aimless in the second act, Ron OJ Parson's beautifully cast production maintains a riveting urgency throughout. As Becker, AC Smith conveys a lifetime's worth of bottled-up resentment and regret with shattering intensity."
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Zac Thompson

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...When Becker’s son Booster (Anthony Fleming III) arrives, newly released after 20 years in the penitentiary, the past between father and son explodes into the present with catastrophic results. Finally given the opportunity to express feelings that have boiled under the surface for more than two decades, Smith and Fleming take shots at each other with ruthless ferocity, yet leave their relationship in the stasis that has become so comfortable for these men."
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Oliver Sava

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"... Director Ron OJ Parson and Hyde Park’s Court Theatre have assembled an outstanding Chicago-based cast for this chamber piece writ large. The splendid set, designed by Jack Magaw, implies the fragile reality of this threadbare but orderly haven, overshadowed as it is by a taller, newer building across the street and threatened by that steam roller called gentrification."
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Nancy Malitz

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Jitney is a wonderful example of Wilson’s craft as a playwright. The language is peppered with humor, angst and hope. The spirit of humanity and simple nobility of these people rings loud and clear. August Wilson’s plays are a glimpse into the American Experience from the African-American point of view. We see the universal hopes, dreams and desires of working class American in Wilson’s truthful works. Jitney was the first of ten plays chronicling the 20th Century. With August Wilson, you’re in the hands of a master storyteller."
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Tom Williams

  Jitney 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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