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  The Roommate at Steppenwolf Theatre

The Roommate

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

Sharon is Midwestern nice. But to Robyn, her new roommate from the Bronx, that just means nosy and very, very talkative. A comical mismatch leads to a surprising and touching friendship in this new comedy about how early-life choices lead to mid-life challenges and the unexpected rewards of bridging the divide.

Thru - Aug 5, 2018

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

Price: $20-$93

Stage: Downstairs Theatre

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 1hr, 25mins; one intermission

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  The Roommate Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Silverman is an observant, lyrical and kind writer, generous to all and without any notes of condescension in her writing. And there is nothing wrong with a summer drama that's perfectly content not to range far and wide, out there into the heat. But, ideally, there would be more bite than you can find in Rashad's Steppenwolf production."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Not Recommended

"...Directed by Phylicia Rashad, the performances in Silverman's 90-minute endeavor are fine. One would expect no less from ensemble members Sandra Marquez and Ora Jones, both of whom have been formidable leading ladies in Chicago for decades. But Silverman's plot is an eye-roller, and not in a good way."
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Catey Sullivan

Daily Herald - Somewhat Recommended

"...But while it's easy to imagine a middle-aged empty-nester deciding to change her life, the choices Sharon makes strain credulity, especially when it comes to how swiftly she adopts her new image. To that extent, they feel more like a writerly contrivance than a genuine transformation."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Silverman pushes her characters to what might be a heartrending climax, as one flees and the other collapses. But the play's schematic nature results in mostly unearned sentiment."
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Justin Hayford

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...Surely the first thing that will come to mind for many viewers in the opening scene of Jen Silverman’s play “The Roommate” at Steppenwolf Theatre is “The Odd Couple” – recreated here for two middle-aged women. Sharon is a dowdy Iowa mom living alone who takes in worldly New Yorker Robyn, who’s looking to get away from it all for a while. But “The Odd Couple” it is not. Silverman’s drama is ultimately tragic, and desperately sad."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Tony-winning director Phylicia Rashad brings myriad subtle touches to the play's permutations. Marquez's chirpy Midwestern bonhomie is hilariously contrasted with Jones's urban wariness, itself a cunning mix of double takes and deadpan. It's pure joie de vivre meets industrial-strength sang-froid."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Recommended

"...The questions arise as the grim- or is it sweet- ending settles. Who was Robyn? Who coerced whom? What partner in this odd couple went too far? Who protected whom? Had either woman genuinely changed? What will happen next? Under the skillful direction of Rashad, Marquez and Jones shine in thoroughly engaging portrayals of two complex and concealed personalities. The script is smart, as we are taken into a con within a con, crafted with wit and an eye for nuance. There were a lot of transitions for these actors to make in a brief period of time, requiring subtle and not-so-subtle changes in their demeanor, bravado, behavior toward each other, attention to their offstage offspring. This was by no means an easy script to put across; deceptively open, it was instead uneasy and unsettling."
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Debra Davy

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...Let's Play 'Highly Recommends' The Roommate a play where The Odd Couple meets Breaking Bad and where women of a certain age are visible again to society."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...What makes this production even more sparkling is the ladies who bring these two characters from paper to life, Ora Jones and Sandra Marquez. Can a playwright and director ask for a better twosome than this? I think not!"
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Alan Bresloff

WTTW - Somewhat Recommended

"...Martinez and Jones are wonderful to watch, and they manage to make the most of the play’s comedy and surprises, but they can’t camouflage the fact that “The Roommate” is a wholly artificial construct. These actresses deserve far better material."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...It’s refreshing and eye-opening to enjoy a new show about the lives of middle-aged women. Jen Silverman’s two-character play certainly has the potential to be that play, but she’s, unfortunately sold out to the sitcom format, instead. This particular production is further complicated by a scenic design that, while beautiful, overshadows the characters and their story. The performances are strong and spicy, but the overall effect is like eating a bowl of unsalted popcorn: filling, but not entirely satisfying."
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Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...Eventually, a bit of story unfolds as Sharon discovers there’s more to Robyn than meets the eye; without spoiling the reveal, suffice it to say that her move to Iowa was likely to remove herself from some sticky situations back East. With this new truth about Robyn revealed, I found myself hopeful that here is where the real tension, the stuff we can really sink our teeth into, would be found. Unfortunately, no such pot of gold is waiting at the end of this rainbow. The women talk their way through Robyn’s past and Sharon’s fascination with it, and while it does cause a rift in their friendship, it all feels too fleeting to really empathize with either of them."
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Lisa Trifone

The Hawk Chicago - Recommended

"...Overall, Silverman’s 90 minute dive into the lives of two very different women may not make any waves, but it’s still worth a view. Jones and Marquez are two of Chicago’s strongest talents, and their antics together make for an enjoyable and lighthearted trip to the theatre."
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Emily Schmidt

Chicago Theater and Arts - Recommended

"...Adeptly directed by Phylicia Rashad to achieve the highest impact possible during the 90 minute show, "The Roommate" transforms Sharon, an uptight, judgmental, highly moral, 50-something, empty-nester into an amoral woman willing to try anything."
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Jodie Jacobs

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...You never know when a simple decision is going to change your life. You could meet the person you will marry because one day you happen to be walking on the west side of the street instead of the east. (This literally happened to me.) In Jen Silverman's The Roommate, now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre, a woman finding herself alone after a divorce decides to do something she's never done: seek someone to share the expenses. The woman who answers her ad shifts the foundations of her naďve world in surprising and wonderfully comical ways, and her life will never be the same."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...What's really interesting about [this play] is that the usual dynamic between a city slicker and a country bumpkin is usually an older country bumpkin and a young city slicker..."
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Sharai Bohannon and Nate Hall

  The Roommate 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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