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  The City Of Conversation at Northlight Theatre

The City Of Conversation

Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Blvd Skokie

In 1979 Washington D.C., socialite Hester Ferris throws posh dinner parties that can change the course of politics. But when her son turns up with an ambitious Reagan-ite girlfriend and a shocking new world view, it ignites a family divide that spans over 30 years and six presidential administrations. As power shifts from one generation to the next, a family struggles to maintain ties while on opposite sides of the partisan fence.

Thru - Oct 23, 2016



Price: $30-$81

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 847-673-6300

Running Time: 2hrs

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  The City Of Conversation Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...So. There you have a very juicy, well-made play that is no font of formative experimentation but is nonetheless a rarity in American theater — a sharp commentary on Washington politics and personal behavior, then and now. Giardina clearly sympathizes most of all with Hester, who has to fend off this Minnesota Eve Harrington, but it's not an adoring portrait nor a characterization oblivious to the flaws and inequalities of the old system. To its credit, this sharply written drama, justly acclaimed when it premiered at New York's Lincoln Center, allows for the notion that all politics should be personal, especially since those legislative matters often make their way into the bedroom or the doctor's office. And it also acknowledges the argument that the old ways of drinks and persuasion were anti-democratic and served no one but those sipping the drinks."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...These are the questions addressed in "The City of Conversation," the uncannily timely, uniquely balanced, multi-generational drama by playwright-novelist Anthony Giardina, now receiving a live-wire Midwest premiere at Northlight Theatre under the direction of Marti Lyons."
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Hedy Weiss


Daily Herald - Recommended

"...Politics become painfully personal in Anthony Giardina's enthralling "The City of Conversation," making a thought-provoking Midwest premiere at Skokie's Northlight Theatre. First staged by Lincoln Center Theater in 2014, "The City of Conversation" feels even more timely and prescient in light of the current contentious election season and Senate battles over Supreme Court nominees."
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Scott C. Morgan


Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Still, director Marti Lyons coaxes first-rate performances from every member of her cast; Lia D. Mortensen's seductive, desperate, venomous turn as Hester is an especially thrilling ordeal."
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Justin Hayford


Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...A final scene, set on the evening of President Obama’s inauguration and featuring a shaky reunion between an aged Hester and her now-adult grandson (Anderson again), plays out essentially as telegraphed. Though finely acted by director Marti Lyons’s Northlight cast, we’re left wondering at the ultimate thrust of Giardina’s conversation (if not at the lean of his politics). The playwright’s suggestion, it seems, is that the polarization of our politics over the last four decades can be reduced to a family affair; moreover, we perhaps should miss the lost gentility of back-room deals in moneyed neighborhoods."
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Kris Vire


ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The City of Conversation is a ode to all the liberals (Bernie Sanders?) as presented by Mortensen's Hester who even in old age still proudly keeps her life-long views. As a play, The City of Conversation is a well acted work that lets younger folks know how the liberals opened doors for many of today's policies that we take for granted. The City of Conversation is also a tribute to all the old-time radicals who never sold out. And, of course, it is a cautionary tale hinting of the major horrors of a Trump election."
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Tom Williams


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...In these crazy political times, leave it to Northlight Theatre to bring us the Midwest premiere of Anthony Giardina’s “The City of Conversation” that takes us through a family and their relationship through six presidential administrations. As we return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when it seemed that elections were far simpler than that which is about to possibly change our country (forever), we meet the Ferris family in their lovely Georgetown home. I must say that the set designed by Tom Burch looks good enough to move into, if you don’t mind stairs."
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Alan Bresloff


NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...The play presents the Ferris family quarrel as an allegory of the vanishing of an enlightened bipartisanship that supposedly once ruled in the land. But the tragedy in Washington isn’t the breakdown of a semi-mythical era of civility. Rather it is the breakdown of democracy, as legislators truckle to moneyed donors at the expense of the public. By reducing politics to a conflict between ego-driven Beltway players, the playwright implicitly embraces the insular elitism that makes the system so irrelevant to so many. Despite its liberal pretensions, “City of Conversation” is a show that only one-percenters could love."
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Hugh Iglarsh


Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...Played upon a beautiful, classically appointed Georgetown living room setting, designed by Tom Burch, and featuring smart, period appropriate costumes by Sally Dolembo, this drama is brought to life by Marti Lyons and her talented cast. It’s enlightening, entertaining and, especially in its second act, exciting. The final act pretty much brings the play to its expected conclusion, but it’s a satisfying ending to an evening of personal conflicts."
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Colin Douglas


Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...How effective a statement “The City of Conversation” makes about the American political scene, past and present, is in the eye and ear of the beholder. I enjoyed the play more as a domestic drama than as a political pageant like “The Best Man” or “State of the Union.” But the performances are first rate and the dialogue has plenty of bite, all in two hours including an intermission."

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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