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  Seven Guitars at Court Theatre

Seven Guitars

Court Theatre
5535 S. Ellis Avenue Chicago

Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson returns to direct Seven Guitars, August Wilson's haunting Century Cycle play about fate, justice, and the Blues. In the backyard of a Pittsburgh tenement in 1948, six characters gather to mourn the missing seventh: Floyd "Schoolboy" Barton, a blues guitarist with feet of clay who died with fame and celebrity just beyond his reach. Stitched with vibrant swatches of American blues lyrics and harmonized through a seven-piece ensemble, Wilson's signature voice is at its richest in Seven Guitars as it seeks to explore the disappointingly dissonant harmonies we sometimes find in the circular nature of hope, violence, fate, and justice.

Thru - Feb 16, 2014

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: 3hrs; one intermission

Court Theatre Seating Chart

  Seven Guitars Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...You don't have to be any particular kind of person to understand these characters' worries over risk and safety. We all struggle with it daily. But the point of "Seven Guitars," I think, is that Wilson is saying that you've still got to make your music. And at Court, so they do."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Regina Garcia's remarkable set, with its grimy brick buildings and overhead electrical lines, looks as if it had been lifted whole from some untouched corner of Pittsburgh. And it is wonderfully animated by the sight of Louise clumping down a steep wooden staircase singing "Anybody here wanna try my cabbage?," by Ruby sashaying up the stairs as every male gaze follows her, by Vera reluctantly dirty dancing with Floyd before pulling away to let him know how he has broken her heart, and much more. This is the blues, plucked to the nth power."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...It is a measure of the grace and power of Ron OJ Parson's production that he knows how to give everyone their moment in the spotlight without letting anyone overshadow the lead. It helps that Kelvin Roston Jr. feels so right as Wilson's infuriating—but always charming—Barton."
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Jack Helbig

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"...Court Theatre’s production of Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” as directed by Ron OJ Parson captures that wonderful lived-in feeling. From the backyard tenement set by Regina Garcia to the opening notes sung by actress Felicia P. Fields, Parson creates the understanding that this is a real place, occupied by real people"

Alex Huntsberger

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Director Ron OJ Parson, who's been investigating Wilson's collected works at Court Theatre and elsewhere for many years now, embraces the musicality on the surface of Wilson's work-in the literal blues played by Floyd, Canewell and Red, and in the sometimes stunning lyricism of the playwright's language, as when Vera recalls missing the absent Floyd and the way she would "search my body for his fingerprints.""
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...That ponderous condition, here as in all of Wilson's plays, is aspiring to anything while being black. And though the seven characters of "Seven Guitars" seem to raise Wilson's typical component of frustration and bitterness over the limits imposed on black people by white society, their prevailing lust for life elicits real admiration for ordinary folks just trying to - I believe the phrase is get along."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Stay with Seven Guitars as it slowly propels us into the world of the Hill District and, in the course of the 3+ hours becomes a colorful (and often funny) glimpse into the world of African-Americans as they emerge into city folk determined to get their part of the American Dream. The payoff here is a rich theatrical experience. The ensemble acting is terrific. Kelvi Roston, Jr (as Floyd)anchors the cast with fine turns form Ronald Conner and Jerod Haynes. If you have never seen an August Wilson play-then get to Court Theatre to see Seven Guitars so you can experience one of the greatest American playwrights ever."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The Court Theatre continues its 2013-2014 season with" Seven Guitars" written by August Wilson and Directed by Ron OJ Parson. August Wilson is a prominent black playwright who does not need an introduction. He is best known for his ten -play "Pittsburgh Cycle", nine of which take place in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the neighborhood where Wilson grew up. This group of plays, each set in a different decade, brought success and notoriety to Wilson, earning numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...And anchoring it all is the direction of Ron OJ Parson, who never lets the production lose sight of Wilson's chief goal - to bring the everyday hauntings of African American life to the stage, something that "Seven Guitars" achieves beautifully."
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Peter Thomas Ricci

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...Consider the current Court Theatre revival of Wilson's "Seven Guitars." The play premiered at the Goodman Theatre in 1995 on its way to a critically acclaimed and award winning run on Broadway in 1996. "Seven Guitars" is perhaps the purest Wilson, with very little plot and almost no physical action until near the end. The characters joke, sing, dance, argue, deliver monologues, and tell stories in a seamless flow for the production's more than three hours of running time with nary a dead spot. The mood shifts from low comedy to tragedy with a naturalism that testifies to a staging that explores the Wilson script perfect pitch."

Dan Zeff

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   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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