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  Crumbs From The Table Of Joy at Raven Theatre

Crumbs From The Table Of Joy

Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

Brooklyn, 1950. Ernestine and Ermina Crump have moved to New York with their father, Godfrey, who is seeking spiritual guidance from a man called Father Divine. In the swirling, glamorous commotion of this new city, with calls for equal rights and communist rebellion hanging in the air, the girls begin a turbulent journey toward independence and a challenging future.

Thru - Nov 18, 2018

Price: $38-$46

Stage: East Stage

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-338-2177

Nearby Restaurants

  Crumbs From The Table Of Joy Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...But Nottage’s great gift at creating a sense of time and place both familiar and fresh is already in sharp focus in this 23-year-old play. In some ways, “Crumbs From the Table of Joy” feels like a harbinger of “Intimate Apparel,” her 2003 play set in 1905 New York about a “spinster” black seamstress moving through different social strata."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Set in 1950, “Crumbs” is a memory play, the story of two African-American sisters — transplanted to Brooklyn by their recently widowed, born-again father — dealing with the trials of the era and the tribulations of encroaching adulthood. As told to the audience by the moviehouse-loving Ernestine Crump (Chanell Bell), the older of the two, the play draws stylistically from the films and plays of the era. It’s a little bit old-fashioned, wisely forgoing nostalgia but nonetheless indulging in some mid-century melodramatics."
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Alex Huntsberger

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...It's a memory play, although the memories aren't Nottage's. They belong to a teenage black girl named Ernestine Crump, whose dad, Godfrey, goes a little mad when his wife dies. Sometimes in scenes and sometimes in direct address to the audience Ernestine (a glowing Chanell Bell) recounts how Godfrey became so frantically imbued with Father Divine—a 20th-century black preacher who declared himself God—that he left Tennessee for Brooklyn, thinking he'd find Divine's Jerusalem there. (In a sweetly quixotic touch, Godfrey turns out to be wrong about that. Divine was based in Philadelphia in 1950, when the action of the play unfolds; Brooklyn was merely the home address of a company that manufactured one of his miracle elixirs.) The Crumps change their family name to the Divine-ly inspired "Goodness" and settle into a basement apartment."
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Tony Adler

Theatre By Numbers - Highly Recommended

"...The men, women, and girls of “Crumbs From the Table of Joy” are survivors, and survival is not a losing proposition, Nottage seems to tell us. Survival is hard-won, no matter how long it lasts, and it deserves celebration. Such triumph is demonstrated in every scrap of happiness we can pull together. And out of those scraps, we build our path into the world."
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Sarah Bowden

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Phillips’ direction warmly registers the script’s creative confusions. Five actors deliver hard-won believability, no matter how schematic the scene-spinning. It’s wonderful how theater, delivering shocks of recognition across nearly 70 years and assorted racial and cultural divisions, can hit us where, and in who, we are. Sometimes “crumbs” are quite enough."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Somewhat Recommended

"...Into their circumscribed and humdrum lives comes Aunt Lily, breezing in from Harlem with no apparent means of support, a lot of half-baked notions about Communism and her role in promoting it, a shrewd sense of racial politics, and a frustrated sexuality. She drinks, she smokes, she dances, she’s outspoken, she makes unrequited overtures to dad, and she’s much the most interesting and fully developed character in this play. As portrayed by Buckley, she is endlessly vivid, absorbing, in a word- entertaining. The girls and the audience are immediately caught up in fascination with Lily’s apparent daring and freedom, only to watch her bold pronouncements wither from her lack of direction, purpose and appreciation. Lily is floundering, and when she tries to catch hold of Godfrey, finds there is nothing in her grasp."
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Debra Davy

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...Director Tyrone Phillips addresses the concept of change in ‘Crumbs From The Table of Joy’ as we watch how one man tries to come to grips with life ever-changing situations, seeking answers from above or in his case from Father Divine."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Jiminez Lee tackles the outspoken Ermina with impenetrable wit. She dares to say the things that may be on everyone else’s mind even to the chagrin of her father. This balances out Bell’s more soft spoken Ernestine whose goal first and foremost is to graduate high school. They are home for one another in the unfamiliar city."
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Amanda Finn

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...But one of her earliest works, the 1995 play “Crumbs from the Table of Joy” – now receiving a luminous production by Raven Theatre, where director Tyrone Phillips has assembled a magnificent cast – is proof that Nottage was writing sublime plays long before the big prizes began rolling in. With its many-faceted exploration of faith, politics, family and discrimination, paired with the beguiling coming-of-age story of two sisters, it is continually engaging. And in the current climate, it also turns out to be uncannily timely (despite its 1950 setting) as it suggests the tension between those who seek answers in fundamentalist religion and those who turn to socialist ideology."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...Lynn Nottage’s first professionally produced, full-length script doesn’t have the depth and resonance of her later works, such as “Intimate Apparel,” or her two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays “Ruined” or “Sweat.” But, like many of the plays of Tennessee Williams, and Lorraine Hansberry’s extraordinary “A Raisin in the Sun,” Nottage’s drama is both a nostalgic memory play about growing up in the city during the 1950’s, while exploring what it was like to be African American during the Eisenhower years. In this respectable launch of their new season, Raven Theatre can boast an entertaining, thought-provoking, somewhat autobiographical production that’s sure to linger in the heart and mind of every theatergoer."
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Colin Douglas

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Crumbs From the Table of Joy asks us to find the delightful crumbs whenever and wherever we can because we don’t always have full access to the table, but it suggests that the crumbs just may be enough. It’s a quiet, simple play by Nottage, as understated as its main character, but it offers us a different glimpse into the playwright than her Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat and Ruined; it’s a sweet, lovely, loving play that never devolves into sappiness, and a small treasure in its own right."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...In this writer's view, a show like Crumbs from the Table of Joy requires sharp shifts and large leaps of emotional time, which every actor in the production is quite rehearsed and ready for. Theatre quite often struggles to be polished without losing the raw nature of reality, and this production successfully achieves this dichotomy."
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Nate Hall

Rescripted - Highly Recommended

"...Overall, this is a lovely show which also carries meaning. This is really the kind of play that makes you want to sit down and have long talk afterwards, where you fill in the gaps and parse out the implications of what you just saw."
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Regina Victor

  Crumbs From The Table Of Joy 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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