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  The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window at Goodman Theatre

The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

Lorraine Hansberry's rarely-produced second play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, premiered just weeks before the 34-year-old writer succumbed to cancer in 1965. Now, Obie Award-winning director Anne Kauffman brings this impassioned drama back to life at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. Set in early 1960s Greenwich Village, the story revolves around the increasingly troubled marriage of Brustein, a writer, and his actress wife, Iris, as well as their circle of friends, after he begins to express political and social views that butt up against those of his Bohemian cohorts. Don't miss this rare chance to experience the once-in-a-generation voice of one of America's most admired playwrights, the first African-American woman ever to be produced on Broadway. Dominic Comperatore (A View From the Bridge) and Diane Davis (Golden Boy, Person of Interest) star as the couple.

Thru - Jun 5, 2016

Price: $25-$75

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 2hrs, 50mins

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...It is a play I doubt you have ever seen, certainly not produced at this level. And in that ignorance lies some of the astonishing force of what happened at the Goodman Theatre on Monday night, during the revelatory opening of Lorraine Hansberry's "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window," a masterpiece lost in plain sight."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Lorraine Hansberry's play "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window" - now receiving a revelatory production at the Goodman Theatre - has its flaws. But those flaws are inconsequential when compared to all that is fascinating about this work that debuted on Broadway in 1964, just a few months before the playwright's untimely death."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The central dilemma-Brustein's risking becoming an "insurgent" by backing a friend in a local political race-carries scant weight, as Hansberry barely sketches the election's political contours. It's not until act three, somewhere around the two-hour mark in director Anne Kauffman's unhurried Goodman production, that a series of focused, volatile two-person scenes provides palpable urgency. The rest is low-stakes tumult with little dramatic import."
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Justin Hayford

Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window is not the catchiest title and neither is this production of the last work of Chicago playwright Lorraine Hansberry. The drama is piled on high with a dash of humor."
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Jerry Nunn

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...All this agit-prop activism and crushed idealism happens on Kevin Depinet's appropriately messy cut-away set, with threatening fire escapes on one side and expressionistic rooftop scaffolding crushing the walk-up from above. It's a formative dump where hope either goes to die or to find a firmer footing. Too true for wishful thinking or easy angst, Hansberry leaves the sequel to the audience. If only she'd had one herself."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...It doesn't help the production that the play was written in three acts, but director Anne Kaufman combined the first two so there would only be one intermission. Nor does it help that the actors struggle to find anything other than smug depression in their characters. Querulousness of the type often found in teens and people in their early twenties is even less attractive in people who are around thirty, and instead of an Ibsen hero being awakened to his true self, Sidney just seems to switch positions randomly, while being a verbose ass the whole time (Sidney is a fan of Shaw). There is one brilliant scene, though, in which Silverman's Mavis shatters Sidney's arrogant presumptions."
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Jacob Davis

Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...One of the most telling moments in the play is when Sidney (Chris Stack) gets the devastating news that one of his biggest advertisers is pulling out. His paper is being dealt a massive blow. This moment, structurally, is meant to be a breaking point. Sidney is so concerned with his own life that he misses the proverbial cries for help from his wife, Iris (Diane Davis), thus effectively ending their relationship. But here's the problem, there's no build. Sidney's reaction isn't far from the norm of ignoring his wife that has been established through the beginning of the play. That's on the director. Then there's the fact that the play hasn't given enough weight to the newspaper to justify him being more concerned about it than his wife. That's on the director and the playwright. Throw in the fact that the first act feels like it could be cut straight out of a sitcom (laugh track echoing, though no sound is being played), and the production feels like a mess."

Jerald Raymond Pierce

Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...The Goodman Theatre's new production, "The Sign in Sydney Burstein's Window", is a gem of a play, but it's woefully out of date. I don't think anyone has had a deep philosophical discussion about the meaning of life while drinking themselves blind, since the sixties. Even then, they were rare. I wasn't completely bored, so I give "The Sign in Sydney Burstein's Window" 2 1/2 Spotlights."
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Carol Moore

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"..."The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window" is steeped in the political, artistic and intellectual soup of the sixties. While Lorraine Hansberry evidently had no love (and little respect) for Absurdism, her follow up to "A Raisin in the Sun" is not interested in the restoration of realism either. Instead it falls somewhere in the shady in-between, a work whose reference points have aged but whose message remains brighter and stronger than ever."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...orraine Hansberry’s last play is entertaining and certainly probes questions that deserve consideration. However, the fierce immediacy and timeless importance of her magnum opus, “A Raisin in the Sun,” never really surfaces in this play. While played with honesty, Anne Kauffman’s production just never catches fire. It flows too leisurely and doesn’t build to any kind of an important conclusion. This play, at least as produced this time around, is a raisin that just never fully ripens in the sun."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Somewhat Recommended

"...Anne Kaufman is unable to rescue the farrago of verbiage that dominates the evening. The emotional content could have been toned down, but any director will struggle to carve an engrossing human drama out of the ill-matched pieces of Hansberry's show. There is just so much actors and a director can do with a script that has this many deficiencies."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Recommended

"...Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet creates the perfect setting for the unraveling of unfinished lives. The Brustein's apartment is nestled within scaffolding. The visual, lit by Designer Justin Townsend, brings a surrealism that aids the storytelling. I really enjoyed this tangled web of idealism and realism. It's a strong representation of the imperfect evolution of humans. Although the lengthy discourse may give some folks pause, I appreciate that Hansberry had a lot to say and chose to say it all in what would be her final play."
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...The star of the show may be Kevin Depinet's set design, with its apartment bathed in turquoise paint and the rooftop superstructure that allows us to see people coming and going and gives Sidney and Iris a place to sit and admire the nighttime skyline. Justin Townsend's elegant lighting adds drama to every scene. Alison Siple's costumes are particularly kicky for the female performers."
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Nancy Bishop

  The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window 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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