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  Rutherford's Travels at Chicago Dramatists

Rutherford's Travels

Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Chicago

Rutherford's Travels connects to contemporary issues as the protagonist is an educated, but fatherless youth. Though seeking independence, Calhoun gets trapped in gangster life. His journey aboard a slave ship forces him to confront history and his own inner demons. This is a perfect show for book clubs, history lovers, maritime buffs, and adventure seekers of all ages. Group and student pricing available.

Presented by Pegasus Theatre

Thru - Dec 4, 2016

Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 7:30pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $30

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-633-0630

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins

  Rutherford's Travels Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Charles Johnson's celebrated National Book Award-winning 1990 novel, "Middle Passage," reconfigured classic allegorical stories of 19th-century seafaring life, a la Herman Melville, through the complex late-20th-century lenses of race, class and gender. That may sound like heavy going, but Johnson's book is also a ripping yarn, a thrilling bildungsroman and rich in comic detail, with a thread of supernatural dread woven deep in its fabric. In short: It bursts with theatrical possibilities."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...It has taken 10 years for Ilesa Duncan and David Barr III to adapt MacArthur Fellow Charles R. Johnson's "Middle Passage" - the 1990 National Book Award winner for fiction - for the stage. But the result of their labors - Pegasus Theatre Chicago's mightily impressive, wholly engrossing world premiere of "Rutherford's Travels" - is indisputable evidence that their time was well spent."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Johnson's tale echoes Poe, Melville, Conrad, and a host of others, but what makes his work extraordinary is how well he balances the protagonist's personal journey with a searing indictment of the peculiar institution and the slave trade. Likewise, in translating the story from page to stage for Pegasus Theatre, Duncan and Barr succeed in giving us a ripping yarn that makes us feel-and reflect."
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Jack Helbig

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Though Pegasus Theatre's cramped rental quarters at Chicago Dramatists cannot quite contain the spectacle this literary genre demands, Barr and Duncan's text is exemplary in its efficiency. Likewise praiseworthy is the ensemble led by Breon Arzell as the picaresque Rutherford (also featuring memorable character work by Ron Quade, Nelson Rodriguez, Gary Houston and newcomer Naima Hebrail Kidjo). When a play needs nothing more than a bigger room and budget, its future is auspicious."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Some of Johnsonís authorial flourishes can feel glossed over in the rush to fit his brief but eventful 200 pages into two and a half hours onstage. But Pegasusís production does capture, both in the script and in Arzellís gently layered performance, the unique isolation of Rutherfordís situation, trying to find the best way forward in his travels while on no oneís side but his own."
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Kris Vire

Splash Magazine - Highly Recommended

"...This is a strong, strong production, though the costuming and set design is a trifle basic. There are also a few sections where so many people are speaking or making noise at once that the main thread of the narrative is lost, but on the whole it is superb and enjoyable for anyone. Go see it."
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Suzanne Magnuson

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Breon Arzell, as Rutherford, follows up his last impressive performance at Raven Theatre in The Scottsboro Boys with an equally impressive performance here. Narrating most of the story (the novel is written as his journals), Arzell manages to keep up the energy and excitement with charm and humor. Andrew Malone, another star from The Scottsboro Boys, is also present here, although (regrettably) in a only a few minor roles, as Rutherford's brother, Jackson, and the leader apparent of the slaves, Ngonyama; nevertheless, he is a pleasure to see again, too."
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August Lysy

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Director Ilesa Duncan and her design team create a fully-realized nautical world, capturing the oceanís mystical serenity as well as its raging violence. Under Duncanís direction, the complex and layered narrativeófeaturing a mutinous crew, rebellious captives and a mysterious African artifactóflies along like a clipper ship under full sail."
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Hugh Iglarsh

The Fourth Walsh - Somewhat Recommended

"...RUTHERFORD'S TRAVELS captures my interest but not my emotional investment. In their effort to honor Johnson's novel, Duncan and Barr's play gets bogged down in the detail. The over-complicated storytelling makes me feel like I'm cramming for a Rutherford exam. A few key points referenced in the second half have me scratching my head wondering how did I miss that in the first half. The story is powerful. The play lacks that same potency. The ending even has a hurried, unfinished feel. Until the stage goes black, I'm not certain it is over. RUTHERFORD TRAVELS would be better served to pare down the baggage for a smoother sail."
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Katy Walsh

Chicago Theater Beat - Somewhat Recommended

"...However, with all this talented support, I never connected with the lead character. I didnít feel his worries, his fears, his confusion, his passion. It may have been that he was still feeling the weight of the massive amount of dialogue he carries. Iím hoping that, as those words become more and more Rutherfordís words rather than the actorís, heíll embody the emotions and the feelings will come through as well."

Duane Barnes

  Rutherford's Travels 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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